- The notable free agent news of the day is that the Cubs are unlikely to sign Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, per CSN's Patrick Mooney. This is a good thing, I think, unless his price ends up dropping to the $10 million range. At that point, he might be a decent gamble.
- The Cuban National Team is currently in the midst of a five-games series against a team of college players from the US. Lefty Misael Siverio took this opportunity to inconspicuously disappear into the ethnically-dense and culturally-rich city of Des Moines.
Siverio Scouting Report From Victor Mesa
Cuban National Team manager Victor Mesa told the USA today after the defection:
You may see the gentleman that defected working as a laborer. He came with us because he's a left-hand thrower but he's not that great of a pitcher.
That sharp intake of breath you just heard was the Red Sox' front office gasping in admiration. That's a grade 70 smear campaign right there. Agent Jaime Torres's response seems to be along the lines of: "He's left-handed, you idiots! Haven't you ever heard of Jesse Orosco?" (Note: this is a loose translation.)
I would love to rebuke Mesa with the power of my spreadsheets, but I'm not sure he's all that far off in his evaluation.
Video and Amateur Scouting Report
Siverio is twenty-four and was a starter for the Villa Clara team in la Serie Nacional that won the championship this year. He started twice in the final five-game set, which is available for online viewing. I have to admit that I find these games captivating, despite all the pointless noise from the stands. Cuban fans seem to have eschewed the vuvuzela craze in favor of actual trumpets, trombones, and something that sounds like a siren.
Misael's main weapon seems to be a slow, sweeping curveball that he's willing to throw in any count. His fastball sits at 86-87 miles per hour, and runs in on right-handed hitters.
Misael Siverio Stats
|Age||IP||K/9||BB/9||H/9||HR/9||K%||BB%||dt K/9||dt BB/9||dt HR/9||dt NERA|
Notes: dt-prefixes indicate Clay Davenport's translations. The 2013 season was split into a first half, in which everyone played, and a second in which 8 qualifying teams advanced.
The press has been trumpeting Siverio's under-2 ERA in 2013, and this year does seem to have been a very good one for the pudgy left-hander, but I'm a little dubious as to the track record as a whole. After starting for most of the season as an 18-year old, Siverio was shifted to the bullpen for two years prior to a move back to the rotation at age 21. He also seems to have spent half the season in the 'pen at age 23. When deciding whether to invest in a Cuban pitcher, "bounced in and out of the rotation" is not something you want to see on a resume. Let's take a look at how he compares to some of the other defectors profiled so far.
|Mig Alf G||2010-12||23-25||40||38||245||1021||6.2||2.3||8.8||0.6||16.5||6.2||3.49||1.23|
I tried for at least three full seasons worth of recent data. For Siverio, I included his 2012, even though it includes 7 relief appearances mixed in with 13 starts. Siverio has an advantage in ERA, driven by his stellar results from 2013. Aside from that, his walk rate is higher than you would like, and his strikeout rate is not on the level of Dalier Hinojosa's. His suppression of homeruns has been good, on the whole.
If you wanted to make the case for Siverio, it's that he's younger than the rest of the defectors, left-handed, and may have made some strides in 2013. Follow that path too frequently, and you may end up with more players in your AZL bullpen than you know what to do with. On the whole, I think that he and Odrisamer Despaigne are on a tier below Gonzalez and Hinojosa.