A new possibility for shortstop has emerged for the Mets, as the team plans to send scouts to a showcase this weekend for Cuban defector Erisbel Arruebarruena, according to major league sources.
The 23-year-old Arruebarruena, who has drawn comparisons to Detroit’s Jose Iglesias, was the starting shortstop for Cuba’s World Baseball Classic team this year. Baseball America’s Ben Badler was first to report his defection last month, and intention to play in the United States. The publication ranked Arruebarruena as the no. 10 prospect in the tournament not signed to a major league team.
“At 6 feet, 195 pounds, Arruebarruena has clean hands, quick actions and good body control,” Badler wrote. “He’s a below-average runner, but his quick first step and instincts give him good range. He has a quick transfer and a plus-plus arm with accuracy, which allows him to make throws from deep in the hole and turn 4-6-3 double plays with ease.”
Arruebarruena’s offensive abilities are not as strong, and he might need time in the minor leagues. “The bat,” Badler wrote, “is a major source of concern with Arruebarruena, even more so than with Iglesias and more along the lines of Marlins Cuban shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria.”
The Mets have been seeking a change at shortstop, though they could end up granting Ruben Tejada another chance. Jhonny Peralta emerged as their first free agent target, but he signed with St. Louis. The Mets then non-tendered backup shortstop Justin Turner, leaving Tejada and Wilfredo Tovar as the top in-house options.
Arruebarruena’s representatives at Praver Shapiro Sports Management did not immediatetly confirm details, but a person planning to attend the showcase said it will be a two-day affair, this Friday and Saturday, at the Yankees complex in the Dominican Republic.