Scouting Yasmany Tomas

Yasmany Tomas, LF

Hit: 40/45+, Game Power: 55/65, Raw Power: 70/70, Speed: 45/45+, Field: 45/50, Arm: 45/45+

Upside: .275/.350/.480 with 25-30 homers, fringy defense & baserunning value in left field

Note: The “upside” line is basically a 75 percentile projection as explained here, while the tool grades are a 50 percentile projection. See the scale here to convert the hit/power tool grades into production.

Tomas is the latest Cuban defector to hit the market: he should be declared a free agent shortly and is holding private workouts in the Dominican this week after a big open workout for over 100 scouts from all 30 clubs on Sunday at the Giants Dominican complex. The above video is from last summer when the Cuban national team faced college Team USA in Durham, North Carolina. The Cuban team had a lot of trouble making contact against a loaded USA pitching staff (five pitchers from the staff went in the first round last June) and Tomas in particular struggled, going 3-for-19 with 3 singles, 1 walk and 8 punch outs over the 5 game set. Tomas was in bad shape and looked lost at the plate at times when I saw him, but he has shown big league ability in other international tournaments and as a professional in Cuba.

The carrying tool here is raw power, which draws anywhere from 60 to 70 grades on the 20-80 scale from scouts, but the question mark is how much he will hit.  Tomas has a short bat path for a power hitter and quick hands that move through the zone quickly.  The tools are here for at least an average hitter, but Tomas’ plate discipline has been questioned and he can sometimes sell out for pull power in games (here’s video of a particularly long homer in the WBC).  Some scouts think it’s more of a 40-45 bat (.240 to .250 average) that may keep Tomas from getting to all of his raw power in games, while others see a soon-to-be-24-year-old with the tools to hit and think the hot streak of Cuban hitters in the big leagues will continue with him.

Some recent Cuban defectors, like recently signed Red Sox CF Rusney Castillo, have completely changed their body between defecting from Cuba and being declared a free agent. Tomas has lost some weight but is still a big kid, at about 6’1/230.  He turned in an average run time in the 60 yard dash at his workout Sunday, but his speed plays more fringy to below average in games and his fringy to below average arm makes him a left field fit. Some scouts said they’ve seen Tomas’ arm be solid-average at times in the past, so there’s a chance he could work in right field as well.

The consensus is that as a prospect Tomas ranks behind White Sox 1B Jose Abreu, who got six years and $68 million before the season, as Tomas is a riskier bat with less of a track record and a little less raw power.  Many scouts prefer Castillo, who got seven years and $72.5 million last month, as Castillo is a plus-plus runner that can play an up-the-middle position and is a little better bet to hit for some scouts, as well. That said, Abreu and Castillo were both signed for their age-27 seasons while Tomas will be 24 next year and should be big league ready at some point in 2015.  Scouts on the low-end for Tomas mention Dayan Viciedo as a comparable while more scouts think Yoenis Cespedes is a better offensive comparison, though Cespedes is quicker-twitch athlete with more speed and defense value.

With that scouting report and comparables, the rumors that Tomas may get $100 million or more seem crazy, but there are some market conditions to keep in mind:

1. Each successive Cuban hitter that signs a big deal keeps meeting or beating expectations: Yasiel Puig, Jorge Soler, Cespedes and Abreu
2. Tomas is offering his peak years in a 6-7 year deal (to cover his 6 control seasons and possibly some minor league time)
3. Power is always in demand on the free agent market.
4. Draft pick compensation is not involved.

Taking those points into consideration, we’re looking at age 24 through 29 or 30 for a hitter that carries some risk but generally projects as a solid 2-win player with upside to become a 3-win player.  With wins being valued at $6 million or more, discounts for performance risk and a long-term deal with premiums for no draft pick compensation and age means that $10-15 million per year is a reasonable expectation for a winning bid.  I specify winning bid because a number of clubs, due to payroll constraints or differing evaluations (very common for Cuban players), have Tomas as a roughly $50 million value for the expected 6-7 year deal.

With Tomas’ age and the recent Cuban hitter hot streak pushing some teams to be a little more aggressive than usual, I could definitely see the price ending up around $100 million.  There were rumors circulating at the workout on Sunday in the Dominican that Tomas already has a $90 million offer in hand and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if that were true.

There’s a number of clubs that have been mentioned in the mix for Tomas and I would expect the winning bid to be a 7-year deal for $10-15 million per season, which would give a range of $70 million to $105 million. The list of interested clubs is still muddled, but the Giants and Phillies are seen as the favorites with the Rangers, Yankees, Tigers and Mets all expected to be in the mix.



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Kiley McDaniel has worked in the scouting departments of the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates and has written for ESPN, among other outlets. Follow him on twitter for real-time thoughts on the players he’s seeing and hacky attempts at humor.


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Lefty
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Lefty
1 year 8 months ago

No discount for the wrist injury, or the down-tick in production in 2014?

lewish
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lewish
1 year 8 months ago

Kiley-can you help me out I looked at the video first before reading and I would have said he didn’t have fast hands…I see short to the ball and hands move through the zone, but if there is nothing camouflaging or confusing but fast hands there I guess I just can’t see hand speed..guess that is it, but thanks for the great read, fun stuff…maybe the question should be when you look at that footage is there anything you see in the swing that is slow that maybe I am getting mixed up with slow hands or am I just lucky I don’t have to make a living scouting : )

lewish
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lewish
1 year 8 months ago

Just to clarify I am not saying he has slow hands either!

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jpg
1 year 8 months ago

He is exactly the kind of guy a team like the Mets should target. For one, they have gaping hole in LF, with no immediate internal options as neither Nimmo or Conforto will be ready by opening day next year. With the team operating like a small market club now, and for the foreseeable future, this is the only way they’ll be able to to add a young, potential impact bat without sacrificing their young pitching.

This is assuming they can even afford him, which is far from a given. If they can, I think he’s a worthy gamble.

DrBGiantsfan
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1 year 8 months ago

He would solve a lot of problems for the Giants with one signing. Keeping my fingers crossed. Personally, I love what I see of his swing in videos. Build and swing reminds me a lot of Kevin Mitchell.

LHPSU
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LHPSU
1 year 8 months ago

“1. Each successive Cuban hitter that signs a big deal keeps meeting or beating expectations: Yasiel Puig, Jorge Soler, Cespedes and Abreu”

Alex Guerrero – smaller deal but quite a prominent one nonetheless. Of course the book’s not fully written on him yet, but he’ll have to fight for a starting job in the MLB next year.

JAMill
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JAMill
1 year 8 months ago

The Mets? I think the Rays would be more likely to splurge on a contract for an amateur FA like that.

LHPSU
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LHPSU
1 year 8 months ago

It may be semantics, but Yasmany Tomas is most certainly not an amateur FA. He is a professional FA from another league.

Clare Quilty
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Clare Quilty
1 year 6 months ago

How do these comps look: Nelson Cruz on the ceiling size, Jose Guillen on the floor. Minus the defensive side.

Mr. Mysterio
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Mr. Mysterio
1 year 6 months ago

Id say more of a Carlos Peña projection.

Mr. Mysterio
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Mr. Mysterio
1 year 6 months ago

If Phillies have the balls to pull the trigger I could see him being moved to 1st base replacing the worthless slug Ryan Howard. This kid Tomas could hit 40+ in his prime but never hit for average. .245-.260 range

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