Cuban right-hander Raciel Iglesias will throw for Major League teams in Haiti on Friday, according to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez and the New York Post's Joel Sherman. Sherman says many teams will be in attendance, and the consensus is that Iglesias is a reliever who could help as soon as the second half of this season.
Iglesias, 24, defected last fall. Here's a mini-scouting report from Ben Badler of Baseball America:
Major league scouts (and Baseball America) have been able to see Iglesias pitch in person outside of Cuba twice this year. At the World Baseball Classic in March, Iglesias pitched at 88-92 mph. When Cuba visited the U.S. in July for a five-game friendship series against the U.S. College national team, Iglesias looked more impressive, throwing 92-95 mph while varying the speed and shape of his sweepy 76-81 mph breaking ball to get swings and misses.
“I think he's a guy that, as he gets bigger and stronger, could be in the mid-to-upper 90s,” said Team USA coach Jim Schlossnagle, who is also the coach at Texas Christian. “He's lean, has a ridiculously loose arm and pounded the strike zone. I was glad they didn't pitch him more. He was the guy where you're like, ‘Let's find a way to get a lead before they get to this guy.'”
Iglesias is a tiny little guy, listed at 5-foot-11 and 165 lbs. according to Badler. He pitched in relief in Cuba, so it's no surprise the bullpen will be his long-term home.
Every team in baseball can use relief help, so Iglesias should have plenty of suitors if he throws well on Friday. He'll only cost money, whereas trading for a reliever will involve giving up players.