Rumors regarding the destination for 16-year-old Cuban phenom Lazaro “Lazarito” Armenteros are heating up, and the latest report says he could be signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Since he is still a young kid, the decision for Armenteros is a big one. While he was expected to make the choice earlier in the week, he has pushed it back after further consulting with his family.
As Fansided reports, Armenteros is the eighth best international prospect, according to multiple MLB writers. Standing tall at six-foot-two and 205 pounds, he is already the size of many seasoned MLB stars. Over the past few weeks, Armenteros has worked out for a variety of different teams. At the moment, there are nine clubs interested in the young slugger.
According to MLB.com, the Dodgers have exceeded their signing limit for international players. This does not disqualify them from signing Armenteros, but restrictions exist.
“Armenteros, who is subject to the international signing guidelines because of his age and experience, was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball on Jan. 8. He could sign during the international signing period that started July 2, 2015, or wait until the next international signing period begins July 2. When he signs matters. The Dodgers, Cubs, Giants and Royals — who have each exceeded their bonus pools this year and won’t be able to sign any pool-eligible prospects for more than $300,000 for the next two international signing periods — are still in play for Armenteros during the current period.”
Even with the restrictions, Armenteros could still sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers this week. While Dodgers’ fans would love his production immediately, Armenteros is still a few years away at the minimum. In the history of Major League Baseball, numerous players have debuted at 17-years-old, but the majority of them did so decades ago.
cubs, dodgers, padres, braves among teams on cuban phenom OF Lazarito. expected to decide soon. @JesseSanchezMLB on this— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 10, 2016
If Lazaro Armenteros is as talented as everything thinks that he is, he could have a similar path to the MLB as Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper. Still only 23-years-old, Harper made his MLB debut on April 28, 2012, at the age of 19. While it is still too early to compare Armenteros to Harper, it shows that young and talented players can succeed at a young age.
With a young core of Clayton Kershaw and Yasiel Puig, Armenteros could make it to the majors in time to help the current group of players. At 33-years-old, Adrian Gonzalez is still playing at an extremely high level, and he will more than likely play for the next five seasons.
Sources: Lazarito Armenteros is still weighing his options. It's going to be a family decision. The plan was to make a decision today.— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) February 10, 2016
With that being said, it is still difficult to project how successful Armenteros can ultimately be. While he appears to have all of the tools to be potentially become an elite player, his sample size of stats is still thin. In nine games during the U15 Baseball World Cup last year, Armenteros hit.462 with three doubles, five triples, eight RBIs, and scored nine runs. Great numbers for sure, but he was still playing against kids that more than likely will not ever play at a higher level. Facing even minor league pitching is going to be an entirely new challenge for the young phenom.
Regardless, Armenteros has all of the physical tools, and Dodgers’ scouts believe that he can be the next great player one day. While the decision keeps getting pushed back, it appears as though Lazaro Armenteros may finally select his team over the next few days. Some reports are even claiming that he could announce his selection by the end of the day today.
Rumors will continue to come out regarding Lazaro “Lazarito” Armenteros’ MLB destination, and the Los Angeles Dodgers have a legitimate shot of landing the young Cuban phenom.
[Photo by Harry How/Getty Images]