The Houston Astros are in agreement with one of the top Cuban talents for the 2024 international signing period. The club is expected to sign left-handed outfielder Cesar Yanquiel Hernández to a bonus around $1.7 million, when the next signing period opens Jan. 15, 2024, Francys Romero reported Thursday.
Romero ranked Hernández the No. 1 Cuban prospect amongst 18-year-old players in 2020. Hernández left Cuba last year, following 38 games for the Gallos de Sancti Spiritus during the 2021-2022 Cuban National Series. In his first professional stint, Hernández slashed .233/.398/.301 with two triples and one double, playing all three outfield positions. He also walked 13 times to his 18 strikeouts in 94 plate appearances.
Hernández was caught trying to leave Cuba illegally in June, spending several days in prison, Romero reported this summer. The Cuban standout requested his removal from the sport in his home country to pursue a professional career with a Major League Baseball organization the following month. Hernández will likely join the Dominican Summer League Astros at the organization’s academy in March for workouts, a source said Thursday.
Astros’ Arias Finding a Better Offensive Feel
Double-A utilityman Bryan Arias continued to work out with former Fayetteville Woodpeckers hitting coach Jose Puentes this offseason. Arias recorded a 116 mph exit velocity — one of the highest in system history. Puentes believes Arias could hit 30 home runs with more than 200 at-bats, showing similarities in his swing to Alex Bregman.
“Being able to trust his movements, understanding and feeling what moves work for him,” Puentes said, regarding what Arias improved this offseason.
Starting at seven different positions in 2022, Arias showed his best defense at the corner infield spots. Puentes expects Arias to thrive in a consistent starting role.
- Former Astros prospect catcher Lorenzo Quintana is rostered by Team Cuba in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. Houston traded Quintana to the Miami Marlins in June 2021.
- Former Astros prospect Edwin Díaz signed with the Boston Red Sox last week with an invite to Major League spring training. Receiving an assignment to Triple-A Worcester, Díaz could play with former Houston farmhands Wilyer Abreu and Enmanuel Valdez.
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