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HanRam

Yulieski Gurriel - 3B HOU

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Long time cuban prospect with deep family ties to the Cuban government. Should have stayed in the first World Baseball Classic. Signed with Japanese Team a year ago, didn't renew his contract, and his father is in the States.

I see him making the jump in a few months. Think Hector Olivera type of prospect.

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Currently 31. So 32 before he can really be a player here (DOB June 9, 1984).

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MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reports that Cuban infielder Yulieski Gourriel has defected from his native country.

His younger brother Lourdes Gourriel, 22, has also reportedly defected. Yulieski, a 31-year-old third baseman and sometimes second baseman, batted .535 with a 1.615 OPS and 10 home runs over 23 games last season in Cuba's Serie Nacional. He had a 1.009 OPS in 49 games the season before. The well-built native of Sancti Spiritus is an established international slugger who has represented Cuba in all three World Baseball Classics and spent part of the 2014 campaign in Japan. He should do very well for himself once he is granted MLB free agency. Lourdes, the younger Gourriel brother, has been called Cuba's best young prospect.

Both Gourriel brothers defect. Interesting.

Ben Badler @BenBadler 3h3 hours ago

Yulieski and Lourdes Gurriel left the Cuban team here in the DR. The best player in Cuban baseball is coming to MLB: http://bba.am/61UHv5

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Interesting. Although the article is from April of 2015, Yulieski Gurriel states his favorite team is the NY Yankees.

One of the top sluggers in Cuban baseball says it is his “dream” to come to the United States and play in the major leagues for his favorite team, the New York Yankees.

Asked what team he would like to play for, Gourriel instantly replied, “the Yankees,” where he would be able to join his favorite player, Alex Rodriguez.

There's a bunch of information on Badler's twitter feed on the two now (Badler's answers highlighted in bold):

Matt Whitfield @MattWhitfield83

@BenBadler Lourdes is considerd the Top Cuban, right?

Ben Badler @BenBadler 3h3 hours ago

The best non MLB-ready player. Best overall is Yulieski. Can step into the middle of a lineup immediately.

Nate Rackley @RackleyNate

@BenBadler Do you see either signing before the start of the 2016 season? If not, a timeframe?

Ben Badler @BenBadler 3h3 hours ago

No chance. Given MLB's pace, might not see Gurriels playing in games until 2017.

@BenBadler seems like the padres will make a strong play for yulieski... what do you think?

Ben Badler @BenBadler 3h3 hours ago

I think any smart team with money to spend and a need at 3B or 2B will be in on him

More from MLB.com: http://m.mlb.com/news/article/108458802/cubas-yulieski-gourriel-captures-imagination-at-caribbean-series

For all of the pageantry -- and some controversy -- that has followed Cuba's Pinar del Rio team in Puerto Rico this week, one thing remains at the forefront: Gourriel is not only Cuba's top player, he's probably the most talented player in the tournament. The infielder will return to Japan for his second season abroad soon and scouts can't help but wonder if and when he'll make it to the United States.

"I want to play, but I want to do it legally, with permission," Gourriel said, repeating what he said last season in Venezuela when Cuba returned to the Caribbean Series for the first time since 1960. "Everyone wants to play in the highest level in the world. For baseball players, that's in MLB."

Gourriel will be 31 in June, but he remains the type player scouts and front-office executives covet. There's plenty of "Yuli" talk heard in the green seats, the peach seats, the concourse, the hotel lobbies and San Juan restaurants after games. There's probably a scout on the phone now talking about Gourriel's performance in Cuba's 6-2 loss to Venezuela on Thursday.

Some scouts consider him a plus-defender with plus-makeup and instincts. He's also surprised a few scouts with his speed on the bases. There's belief that he could hit .300 in the Major Leagues with 40 doubles tomorrow.

But Yulieski's willingness to play in Japan last year -- through a special program created by the Cuban government that allows its athletes to play in foreign leagues -- and his return to Japan this year has some wondering if he's thinking about another jump, this time to the Major Leagues.

After all, there's not much left for Gourriel to do in baseball in Cuba. He was a member of the 2004 Olympic team and Cuban championship teams at the Pan American Games, Central American Games, World Baseball Championships and International Cup. He made his pro debut in 2001 as a 17-year-old.

Gourriel is accomplished. He's also been criticized for looking bored and disinterested against lesser competition at times.

That last comment in that MLB article is interesting. Badler unveiled a bit more info on that over the summer back in June:

Scouts have noticed a change in Yulieski, too. While Lourdes earns praise for his passion and energy on the field, there has been widespread criticism from scouts about Yulieski’s effort level over the years. Yulieski won back-to-back MVP awards in Cuba at age 20 and 21, with more than a decade on the Cuban national team, so a lot of scouts think he’s just bored, with no incentive to play harder. So when scouts saw Yulieski play at the Caribbean Series in Puerto Rico in February, his high-energy approach and hustle jumped out to several evaluators who have followed him for years.

“I’ve never seen him run better,” said one veteran scout. “Those were probably the best (home to first) times I’ve ever gotten on him. “

Also, lastly, from a BA chat back in May of last year:

T.J. (West Bloomfield): Say you're building a team and you get your choice of one hitter and one pitcher that's playing anywhere in the world outside of the major or minor leagues right now, who are you taking?

Ben Badler: Yulieski Gourriel and Shohei Otani.

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Currently 31. So 32 before he can really be a player here (DOB June 9, 1984).

Yikes. He is older than Olivera. And Cuban players traditionally have taken awhile to adjust the the MLB game too. Looks like it would be crazy to sign this guy for the price he will be asking.

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Currently 31. So 32 before he can really be a player here (DOB June 9, 1984).

Yikes. He is older than Olivera. And Cuban players traditionally have taken awhile to adjust the the MLB game too. Looks like it would be crazy to sign this guy for the price he will be asking.

What price is he asking?

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Serie Nacional numbers:

.494/.586/.861, 12.6 AB/HR (on pace for 43.5 per 550 AB) with a 17.3 BB% and a 0.9 K%(!).

Mind-boggling. TWO strikeouts in 214 PA.

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Ben Badler @BenBadler Feb 9

Here's what's next for Yulieski and Lourdes Gurriel, and why they might not play at all until 2017: http://bba.am/kagpIn

From that link from Badler above:

Yulieski, 31, is the best player in Cuba. We ranked him as the No. 1 Cuban player still on the island last year in April, and now that he’s hit .494/.586/.861 with just two(!) strikeouts in 215 plate appearances this season with 37 walks and 14 home runs, he’s only further cemented his status as the country’s top player. Yes, his prime years are behind him, but he’s still an offensive force who can play good defense at third base and would be an option at second base as well, with the ability to step into the top or the middle of a major league lineup immediately.

There is more uncertainty about when Yulieski will sign, but it certainly won’t be before Opening Day; it might be after the all-star break and it might even be after the regular season ends.

Cuban players have to go through a lengthy ordeal to become free agents. First, they have to establish residency in another country. Then they have to wait for the commissioner’s office to clear them to sign. Those are both time-consuming processes, though various folks involved in the handling of Cuban players have found that bribery can expedite matters.

Right now, there are more than 100 Cuban players off the island, many of whom are waiting for the commissioner’s office to declare them a free agent. Take outfielder Jorge Ona, one of the best young Cuban prospects out there. He left Cuba six months ago and is still not cleared to sign. Randy Arozarena, another talented young Cuban prospect, went seven months between leaving Cuba and getting cleared to sign.

Many other Cuban players have faced similar timetables. While MLB no longer requires Cuban players to obtain a specific license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), there is still a bottleneck in the time between when players apply for free agency and when the commissioner’s office clears them to sign. In theory, the process should be simple enough. The commissioner’s office has said that they are only looking to determine whether a player has residency that would make him subject to the draft or subject to the international signing system before clearing the player. That seems simple enough, yet the lag time can still take months, and with more Cuban players going through that process than ever before, that window might continue to grow.

So if Yulieski takes seven months to get cleared, that would make him a free agent in September. Then he would sign, he would need to get a visa and he would likely need some type of acclimation period to get back up to competitive game speed, even if he is facing live pitching leading up to his signing. At that point, we’re talking about the very end of the 2016 season. He might be able to get into some major league games to finish out the 2016 season, but he too might be looking at a 2017 debut.

The OFAC is no longer part of the process, which is a plus for those who remember the Moncada situation last year and how long the OFAC took. But at the same time, the Gurriel brothers just defected a few days ago. Badler lays out perfectly what needs to be done in order for them to be declared free agents, and it's a process that might take a little while.

As for the contractual numbers Yulieski would command, I don't really know. We'll definitely know more as information continues to roll out and when we hear when the commissioner declares him a FA, but for now, I'm not entirely sure.

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Understanding he's unlikely to play in the MLB/MiLB system at all, or at least until September-ish, how soon after signing and beginning play do you expect him to make a major league impact/achieve fantasy relevance? How long will he spend in the minors?

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http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2016/02/yulieski-gurriel-residence-panama-free-agent-rumors-july-2nd-market.html

Cuban star Yulieski Gurriel, who reportedly defected recently with younger brother Lourdes Gurriel, may have an easier path to free agency than had been expected. Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald reports that both brothers have moved across the border from the Dominican Republic to Haiti, which is a popular launching point for Cuban players seeking to make it to the majors. (Spanish language link.) Importantly, per the report, the 31-year-old infielder has already established Panamanian residency, which might well provide a faster route to the open market since some hurdles would already be cleared.

Looks like Yulieski already has residency, which is a huge hurdle cleared. His timeline to the majors should be quicker than some initial reports first thought.

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How do his numbers compare to other players that have come from Cuba? Trying to see if there is any good comp - and yes, I'm too lazy to go hunt it down myself =)-

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http://m.mlb.com/news/article/167411880/yulieski-gurriel-lourdes-gurriel-hire-agents

Cuban stars Yulieski Gurriel and his younger brother Lourdes Gurriel Jr. have taken another step in their paths to the big leagues.

The brothers will be represented by Andy Mota and Adam Katz of Wasserman Media Group, and they will join a client list that includes fellow Cuban stars Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers and Kendrys Morales of the Royals. It was Katz and Mota who negotiated Yoenis Cespedes' first contract -- a four-year, $36 million deal with Oakland in 2012 that led to him becoming a free agent after the '15 season.

The brothers are training in Miami and staying with family. They are in the United States on visitors visas.

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Has anyone seen any Prospect lists with these guys in them? Curious where they may rank?

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Has anyone seen any Prospect lists with these guys in them? Curious where they may rank?

I was wondering the same the other day and did some digging. Only credible info I found was that in the BA top 100 prospect chat either Manuel or Cooper (forget which one) said Yuliesky would roughly be around 30 and Lourdes would fit in around 90.

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Has anyone seen any Prospect lists with these guys in them? Curious where they may rank?

I was wondering the same the other day and did some digging. Only credible info I found was that in the BA top 100 prospect chat either Manuel or Cooper (forget which one) said Yuliesky would roughly be around 30 and Lourdes would fit in around 90.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/top-100-prospects-chat-2/#K0QqHGwdczgyGm36.97

It was JJ Cooper that answered the chatters question about the brothers, but in his response it seemed like his answer was something they'd discussed as a group. From what I'm reading about the pair in general it seems about right, a little light on both, but around right. I'd see them as 25 and 80ish. If Yuliesky came over when he was 24 instead of 31 I'm sure he'd be top 10.

When it comes to international prospects Ben Badler (from BA) is the guy I trust far and away more than anyone else and I'm sure he heavily influenced the hypothetical placements.

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Does anyone think this guy will get signed at the July 2nd period and then be in the Majors right away? Or we will start off in the minors kinda like Hector Olivera?

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Does anyone think this guy will get signed at the July 2nd period and then be in the Majors right away? Or we will start off in the minors kinda like Hector Olivera?

He's not subject to the July 2 period since he's 31

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