Raicel Iglesias is a right-handed Cuban pitcher who defected in October of last year. His first attempt failed, after which he hid out until running out of food and water. Iglesias is sometimes known as Raisel (which I actually believe is correct), and commonly misspelled as Raciel. He pitched for Isla de la Juventud in Cuba’s National Series for three seasons, will turn 24 in April, and will be a free agent in the major leagues as long as he is cleared by OFAC prior to July 2nd.
Iglesias was used primarily as a reliever in Cuba, and he’s only 5’11”, 165 pounds. He has gained fans among scouts in the States by virtue of his recent performances with the National team. Here’s Ben Badler:
While Iglesias threw 88-92 mph at the WBC in March, he was more impressive on Cuba’s U.S. tour, where he threw 92-95 mph. Igelsias also added and subtracted from a sweepy 76-81 mph breaking ball, varying the shape on it to get a surprising number of swings and misses on the pitch.
Raicel Iglesias Stats
It’s been a while since I profiled a pitcher, and I’m changing the way I show the numbers a bit. The peripheral percentages shown here (K%, BB%, GB%) are relative to league average. Positive numbers are good for K’s and GB’s, while negative numbers are good for BB’s. For ERA, homerun per contact, and BABIP, on the other hand, the numbers shown are a ratio of the player’s stats to league average. Numbers less than 100 are below league average, which is good for homers and earned runs.
Given that Iglesias has primarily been used as a reliever, I don’t think it would be all that meaningful to compare him to recent high-profile defectors like Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Dalier Hinojosa and Odrisamer Despaigne. Cub farmhand Armando Rivero, on the other hand, does seem like a pretty good comp.
Iglesias pitched quite a bit more than Rivero, but his control wasn’t as good. Rivero signed with the Cubs for $3.1 million last year, and rose rapidly through the farm system. Given the similarities, $3 million is not a bad initial bet for what Iglesias will receive. Demand for Cuban pitchers may be a little soft right now, however, given that Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez has yet to impress in Phillies camp, and Dalier Hinojosa only received $4.25 million from the Red Sox, so Iglesias may actually come fairly cheap.
Despaigne, Gonzalez, and Hinojosa
In case you are curious as to how the aformentioned defectors shake out in the new data that I’ve acquired, here you go:
|Miguel A. Gzlz||09-12||22-25||52||51||342||59||6.7||2||7.0||-4.1||3.7||67||96|
Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez was a good pitcher in Cuba; the numbers relative to league average illustrate that better than my previous post on the subject. Given the the change in his agreement with the Phillies (from $48 million initially down to $12 million), and the middling reports from spring training, I wonder whether he is completely healthy these days. Odrisamer Despaigne, who is unsigned, but has been cleared, was pretty good at generating ground balls.
For more defector profiles, go here.