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Solid defensive shortstop, right-handed pitcher defect from Cuba

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer

A pair of young players have defected from Cuba, reports Baseball America: Right-handed pitcher Raicel Iglesias and shortstop Erisbel Arruebarruena.

Iglesias is 23 years old and a lanky 5-foot-11, 165 pounds. Baseball America reports that his fastball can sit in the 92-95 range with a "sweepy 76-81 mph breaking ball to get swings and misses." He's been used primarily as a reliever in Cuba and is likely to be used in the same capacity in America. BA tabs Double-A as his initial destination in America.

In Cuba's last season, there were two halves, due to Cuba's inclusion in the World Baseball Classic. In the first, he had a 1.68 ERA with 50 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings. In the second, his ERA was 5.59 in 29 innings.

Here's some footage of Iglesias on the hill:

As for Arruebarruena, his defensive skills have been favorably compared to fellow Cuban -- and 2013 Rookie of the Year runner-up -- Jose Iglesias. BA pegs him with Gold Glove potential. His bat, however, carries some concern. In the first half, Arruebarruena hit .275/.324/.366 and then hit .317/.415/.495 in the second half. According to BA, he profiles as a .220 hitter in the majors and needs to start at Double-A.

“He's a premium defender at a premium position with questions on the bat,” said one international scouting director. “If you're built well offensively around the field other than shortstop, you can live with that if you get outstanding defense. But the bat is still the question mark.”

Here's video of the 23 year old shortstop:

Both players will become free agents once residency is established outside Cuba and neither will count against international signing pool money for the signing club(s).

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