Today in the Dominican Republic, at the San Diego Padres complex in Cristobal, the Major League Baseball community will have the opportunity to preview the next big phenom in the game. Much like the hype surrounding Yoan Moncada during last year’s international signing pool, Lazaro Armenteros is listed as a can’t-miss prospect.
The 16-year-old right-handed hitter and thrower has drawn comparisons to Bryce Harper in the fact that he is well-developed and mature beyond his age. The 6′ 2″ outfielder has a rare combination of power and speed. “Lazarito” has all the tools to succeed and will be a costly addition for anyone interested in signing him.
In his last baseball tournament in Sinaloa Mexico (2014), Armenteros won all-tournament honors batting .426 with three doubles, five triples and eight RBIs in nine games. That was a 15-and-under tournament, and shortly thereafter he left the country to follow his dream of professional baseball stardom. The drama surrounding his defection has led to him having an 18-month layover from playing organized baseball.
Armenteros had to spend some time in Haiti and was ultimately allowed to enter the Dominican Republic. It is there where he has been working on his craft and playing whenever possible. The young outfielder is eager to start his career to help his family.
There are reportedly going to be around 200 scouts on hand for the showcase. Every team is taking his announcement of professional ambitions very seriously. Currently only five teams are not allowed to bid on him because they have exceeded the international signing pool. The New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Angels, Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox may only be spectators in the potential feeding frenzy.
MLB is scheduled to rule later on this month if Armenteros will be granted immediate eligibility or be subjected to waiting until the next signing period July 2. Either way he will embark on his professional career this 2016 season. The question is with whom will he start his career?
Armenteros has reportedly said that he is very eager to start his professional career. He has received comparisons to Willie Mays and Bo Jackson in some scouting reports. He has a rocket arm to go with well above average speed and power. Those comparisons might me a little premature, but Armenteros definitely has potential. His skill is there, but he still has question marks surrounding him.
Yoan Moncada got a record $31.5 million dollar signing bonus and a contract worth about $63 million when it is all said and done. Armenteros shouldn’t approach those numbers, as he isn’t as polished as Moncada was, but he could be a better player when it is all said and done.
Armenteros reports that he will be ready for major league service time in 2018. He clearly has high goals, but he has yet to see any professional pitching. In fact the only pitchers he has faced that have been quality are kids 15 years or under. The tools he has are there, but the question is how sharp are the tools? We all get a first glimpse today, lets see what the kid has.