During the last few seasons, we have seen a number of Cuban players succeed in the Majors: Aroldis Chapman, Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig, Jose Fernandez and Jose Abreu. Now, there is also Jorge Soler, who was called up by the Cubs and the newest Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo.
These are all impact players. Many of them will win hardware, play in All-Star games and pursue glory in October. The Cuban wave of talent isn’t on an island anymore; it’s spreading across the big leagues with its flashiness, athleticism and spectacular home runs that we need over the course of an at times, long and tedious season.
If you thought America sapped Cuba of all its stars, there’s more. Welcome to the States, Yasmani Tomas.
Tomas has a smooth swing, as his hands come through the zone with ease. Nothing looks constricted; it’s a natural movement.
Tomas, 23, is a 6-foot-1 power-hitting outfielder. According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, Tomas received a score of 70 on raw power based on baseball’s 20-80 scale. His 229-pound frame reminds me of a thicker Cespedes, even resembling Marlon Byrd’s build.
Based on his size and where he’s played before, Tomas is projected to be a corner outfielder. I think left field is where he will find himself. If an American League team signs him, he could see time at designated hitter. But he’s an everyday left fielder.
I’ve seen video of Tomas hit, and he is a future home run derby contestant. He strikes me as a swing-for-the-fence type of player, so he’ll likely come with a high strikeout rate. Tomas has a smooth swing, as his hands come through the zone with ease. Nothing looks constricted; it’s a natural movement.
He has something that every team would like more of—power.
As soon as a team signs him, he will automatically become one of that team’s top prospects. Tomas might not even spend any time in the minor leagues, though he could if he needs to fine-tune anything before his MLB debut.
Peter Gammons recently reported that Tomas worked out in the Dominican Republic for many teams. Among the teams most interested, Gammons notes the Giants, Phillies, Padres, Rangers and Tigers. I see the Mets making a run at him too.
The price tag will be high. Boston inked 27-year-old Castillo to a seven-year $72.5 million deal. If that is the comparison, Tomas should command more. He has something that every team would like more of—power. I think with Tomas’ power ability and youth, a seven-year contract is almost all but guaranteed, with the deal maxing out around $80-90 million. Some are suggesting he could sign for $100 million, but I don’t see that happening.
Tomas makes sense for any team in need of a power-hitting corner outfielder. The Phillies desperately need one. The Giants could always use more offense, as could the Padres. The Rangers will do anything to get back into contention next season. As for the Tigers, with the resurgence of J.D. Martinez and the payroll soon to take a hit with potential long-term deals for Max Scherzer, David Price, or both, I don’t see them signing Tomas. And never count out teams like the Red Sox, Yankees and Dodgers. Just when you think they can’t do something, they find a way.