The Cuban National Team is touring the independent Can-Am League right now and their roster includes two of the three best prospects left in Cuba. Below are my brief thoughts on those two prospects as a supplement to this week’s July 2 content, as both of them would fall under the J2 bonus guidelines were they to leave Cuba.
Luis Moiran Robert, OF, 6’2, 180, R/R
Robert (the second syllable is pronounced the way it is in Stephen Colbert and not the way it is in Keary Colbert) body comps to Alex Gordon. He has plus bat speed, advanced pitch recognition and generates contact to all fields. He walked three times on Wednesday and also showed the ability to make adjustments in the middle of at-bats. Reports from international scouts on his bat control were better than what I saw and his weight is distributed a little too heavily on his front foot for my taste, but Robert is only 19 and clearly has prodigious physical skill and a good approach so I’m not too concerned about the lack of results on this Can-Am tour. He’s hitting .255/.263/.291 on this trip and looks a little disintereste,d but he hit .305/.384/.413 last year in Serie Nacional at age 18 and is already hitting third in the lineup for the National Team.
I didn’t get a good time on Robert from home to first because of all the walks, but eyeballed him as an above-average runner on a few steal attempts. I’m not sure that Robert will retain the wheels for CF as he fills out but he should at least be a defensive asset in a corner and I think he’ll hit enough to play there.
Early this spring, scouts lost track of Robert and thought he might have left the island.
Julio Pablo Martinez, CF, 5’8, 160, L/L
Martinez is a plus runner and plays a flashy center field. He made a great sliding play in the right center-field gap last night on a ball that was destined for extra bases. He actually overran the ball a bit and had to recover late, but it wasn’t a ball to which most center fielders would get at all, let alone overrun. He has bat speed and tracks well but the swing is a little long and the bat path is such that he can only generate lift out in front. Anything middle-away is getting slashed the other way and probably on the ground. Martinez is 20 and barring a mechanical change that really unlocks the sneaky power he has for his size, he profiles as a fringe regular who hits in the bottom of the lineup and plays a solid center field.
Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.