Are Cuban’s Heredia or Quintana Future Angels?


It has become big news every time a ballplayer defects from Cuba. Players like Aroldis Chapman, Yasiel Puig and Jose Abreu have become household names making big money but are still bargains considering their production. So with every defection fans are eager to see their team pursue the new talent with hopes of striking gold. Last week several new names were added to the list of available Cuban’s and we have to ask – What could they add to the Angels roster?

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Guillermo Heredia

Heredia is a soon to be 24-year-old centerfielder and is not subject to the penalties of younger players and will therefore go for a higher price. Last August Ben Badler of Baseball America listed him as the 11th best player in Cuba at that time. He is a strong defensive centerfielder who has played right field due to a crowded outfield on his Cuban team. Offensively he has shown promise as he hit .343/.439/.527 as 21-year-old. He couldn’t repeat those excellent numbers as he managed a .255/.377/.349 batting line in the 2013/2014 season. The question marks on his bat couldn’t be answered this year as he was suspended for unknown reason.

As for the Angels interest none has been reported and that’s no surprise given that center field is a bit of a strength for them, and the outfield in general has no open spots with Kole Calhoun and Josh Hamilton manning those positions. If they were to value Heredia highly, a possible signing and trade of Calhoun or possibly Hamilton could take place and leave them with either a strong prospect haul or salary relief. An intriguing possibility but given the unknowns and logistics I would not expect the Angels to come out on top of any bid for Heredia.

Lorenzo Quintana

Quintana is another up the middle defensive specialist but this time at catcher. Less is known about him but like Heredia he is old enough (25) to not require paying a penalty for signing. In 2010/20111 he won the gold glove while posting a .996 fielding percentage and threw out an amazing 17 of 36 would be base stealers. Those numbers are strong and if he has good framing skills and pitch calling abilities would make him one of the best defensive backstops in the game. That was several years ago however and he may not translate was well to MLB. Showcases are likely to help further identify his skills before he’s made available. Offensively, Quintana posted a batting line of .326/.372/.453 that same year of his gold glove. Those numbers suggest an ability to hit for average and decent power as a 21-year-old.

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The Angels could show more interest in Quintana than Heredia. After this season Chris Iannetta is a free agent and for this season and the future they really only have a couple of unproven prospects in Jett Bandy and Carlos Perez. Since so little is known about Quintana it’s difficult to estimate what kind of money he’ll command but given his age he should be major league ready.

I expect the Angels to be almost completely quiet on Guillermo Heredia but to have some interest in Lorenzo Quintana. When they are made available is a question mark but given the general timeline of players from Cuba being cleared, I would expect sometime around the middle of the year. That would give the Angels more time to evaluate Bandy and Perez and determine if another backstop like Quintana is needed.

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