We caught up with a promising player in the Oakland Athletics system, Lazaro Armenteros.
Scouts have compared the young Havana native to Bo Jackson and Yoenis Céspedes, so the expectations are high for the young outfielder. Last season at Stockton (A+) the Cuban had mixed results, although he hit 17 longballs, 22 doubles and drove in 61 runs, he still struck out a California League-leading 227 teams. He still managed to walk 73 times placing him third in the circuit and contributing to a schizophrenic slash line of .222/.336/.403/.739.
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Oakland Athletics Assistant GM Billy Owens said this of his young talent, ”The ability is there and he’s one of the fastest players in the California League. He also has an impressive build and plus power. Armenteros just needs at-bats to refine his technique.”
How have you stayed in shape during the stoppage in play?
I have been staying in shape in various ways. I have been hitting my home gym, going the diamond to get my swings in, and eating healthy. I have been working especially hard on my technique in the batter’s box to help cut down on my strikeout percentage, it was my biggest deficiency last season.
What’s your goal for this abbreviated season?
Well definitely to strike out less and not only hit for power but also for a higher average.
What have you done to correct your high strikeout percentage?
I’ve practiced on laying off all breaking pitches out of the zone and high fastballs. I’ve also worked on going with the pitch and using the opposite field.
At what level will you begin the season, if we have one?
I’ve been told by the team that I will start the season at Midland (AA) if all goes well.
What was your hardest adjustment you had to make when you signed with Oakland?
The hardest adjustment was definitely learning the language and having to leave my family behind in Cuba. It wasn’t easy to make those adjustments.
There are a few Cuban players in Oakland’s farm system, has any of them given you any useful advice?
But of course, all the Cuban players who been in the farm system for a while have given me useful advice and not only the ones in our organization have given me advice. Cubans from other organizations such as Yasiel Puig have also shared their wisdom with me.
Would you like to one day play for Cuba again?
If I’m afforded the opportunity to represent my country I would obviously love to do that one day, who wouldn’t like to do that?