fawkes_mulder

Luis Robert Moirán -- OF (International)

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http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/luis-robert-leaves-cuba-clock-ticking-new-rules-begin/#K98rSfOijce8ZpHY.97

 

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Luis Robert, one of Cuba’s best young prospects, is out of the country. Due to Major League Baseball’s new international rules, the timing of when Robert gets cleared to sign will have significant ramifications on how much he will get paid and which teams will be able to sign him.

Robert is a 19-year-old outfielder scouts have followed since he was 15. While departures have drained Cuba’s talent pool in recent years, Robert was one of the five best players in Cuba. With a strong, powerful build at 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, Robert stands out for his physicality, athleticism and performance record, both in Cuba’s youth national leagues and in Serie Nacional. His bat speed and raw power from the right side are plus, with the speed to play center field at least for now, though as he fills out he could end up in a corner. There is some swing-and-miss in his game, but at the time he left Cuba, Robert was leading the league in OPS.

What will dictate Robert’s future goes beyond his talent. Robert left Cuba in November. Soon after his departure, MLB and the union agreed to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that overhauled the international signing rules. The rules from the previous CBA remain in effect until the current 2016-17 international signing period ends on June 15. Until then, international amateur players like Robert are subject to bonus pools, though teams are allowed to exceed their pools and pay penalties (in both future signing restrictions and tax money), something many of them have done.

Before Cuban players are eligible to sign, they must obtain residency in a country outside of Cuba, then wait for the commissioner’s office to clear them to sign. That timeline can vary significantly among players. If Robert is cleared to sign by June 15, there’s no true limit to what he can sign for, though teams that exceed their bonus pools essentially have to pay double since they have to pay a 100 percent pool overage tax. The top bonus for a Cuban prospect this signing period is the $11 million the Padres paid lefthander Adrian Morejon, followed by $7 million each for Padres outfielder Jorge Oña and Reds shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez.

But if Robert isn’t cleared to sign by June 15, he will be subject to the more restrictive hard cap of the new international signing rules. After June 15, there is a two-week “closed period” in which no players are allowed to sign, with the 2017-18 signing period opening on July 2. During the 2017-18 period, the aggregate bonus pools will increase, but teams are prohibited from exceeding their pool allotments. Most teams get a $4.75 million bonus pool, while some of the smaller market and smaller revenue clubs get either $5.25 million or $5.75 million to spend. Teams can trade for up to an additional 75 percent of their original pool allocation, so a club that starts with $4.75 million could trade for up to $8.3 million, while a club with $5.75 million could move up to a little more than $10 million.

The timeline will be critical for Robert and the teams looking to sign him. The Astros, Athletics, Braves, Cardinals, Nationals, Padres and Reds have all exceeded their 2016-17 bonus pools already. If MLB clears Robert to sign by June 15, those clubs would make the most immediate sense to sign Robert. If Robert doesn’t get cleared during the current signing period, those teams would be effectively eliminated from signing Robert, since they will be unable to sign any player subject to the international bonus pools for more than $300,000 beginning on July 2.

What makes things even more complicated for Robert is that other teams have already committed large chunks of their 2017-18 bonus pools to other international players eligible to sign on July 2. So if Robert doesn’t get cleared until after June 15, several teams that have been aggressive on the international market for 2017-18 would have less money available in their pool to offer him.

The Cubs, Dodgers, Giants and Royals won’t be signing Robert regardless of when he’s cleared to sign because they won’t be able to sign anyone for more than $300,000 during either the current signing period or the next one as a penalty for exceeding their 2015-16 pools. The White Sox, a team that has had success in the Cuban market and has typically pursued players with similarities to Robert, are one other club that has not exceeded its bonus pool that sources have pointed to as a possible landing spot for Robert.

While the circumstances surrounding Robert’s timetable will make him one of the biggest stories to watch on the international market over the next five months, he leaves Cuba with an impressive track record. During the current 2016-17 season in Cuba’s top league, Serie Nacional, Robert batted .401/.526/.687 in 232 plate appearances with 12 home runs, 38 walks (10 intentional) and 30 strikeouts with 11 stolen bases in 17 attempts. Despite leaving in season, Robert tied for third in the league in home runs and ranked fifth in stolen bases. Had he accumulated enough plate appearances to qualify, he would have led the league in both OBP (by 49 points) and slugging (by 91 points).

Dominating a league is nothing new for Robert, who excelled in Cuba’s 16U national league in 2012 when he was 14, then the next year played in the country’s 18U league as a 15-year-old, batting .325/.420/.475 in 146 plate appearances and tying for the league lead with 21 stolen bases. In the 18U league again in 2014, Robert batted .380/.530/.570 in 134 plate appearances, tying for second in home runs (three) and stolen bases (17).

Scouts have followed Robert at international tournaments since he was a 15-year-old at the 15U World Cup in Mexico in 2012. He was the youngest player on Cuba’s 18U World Cup team in Taiwan, then as a 16-year-old in 2014, Robert played in the COPABE 18U Pan American Championship and tied Oña for the most home runs (4) in the tournament. He was the best player on Cuba’s 18U World Cup in Japan in 2015 and earned all-star honors as he batted .406/.457/.875 in eight games.

 

Nov 21, 2016, translated Cuban article.

https://www.cibercuba.com/noticias/2016-11-21-u58139-pelotero-luis-robert-moiran-habria-abandonado-isla

 

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Luis Robert Moirán, one of the main Cuban talents, would have left the island, according to several media reports.

The departure of Luis Robert, who would have left the island in search of a future in the Major Leagues, adds another chapter to the tragic story of the Cuban baseball leak, which climaxes with him.

19-year-old pelota player with five tools, Luis Robert is not only considered the main prospect of Cuban baseball, but despite his young age, he is now ranked as the main candidate to occupy the third position of the Cuba lineup in the Classic World Baseball Championship, which will hold its fourth edition since March 6, 2017.

 

Avilanian and outfielder, was one of the key players of the Tigers team, who recently lost another of the country's top players, Jose Adolis Garcia, who changed his route when he returned from the Professional League of Japan.

So far this season, Moirán was batting for a 392-for-392 run, with 12 homers.

In case you have followed the path of the MLB, you will have to aspire to a free agency with restrictions due to your age and having played only 4 years in the National Series.

 

Eric Longenhagen (fangraphs) scouting report, July 1, 2016

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/instagraphs/scouting-cuban-ofs-luis-moiran-robert-julio-pablo-martinez/

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Luis Moiran Robert, OF, 6’2, 180, R/R

Robert (the second syllable is pronounced the way it is in Stephen Colbert and not the way it is in Keary Colbert) body comps to Alex Gordon. He has plus bat speed, advanced pitch recognition and generates contact to all fields. He walked three times on Wednesday and also showed the ability to make adjustments in the middle of at-bats. Reports from international scouts on his bat control were better than what I saw and his weight is distributed a little too heavily on his front foot for my taste, but Robert is only 19 and clearly has prodigious physical skill and a good approach so I’m not too concerned about the lack of results on this Can-Am tour. He’s hitting .255/.263/.291 on this trip and looks a little disintereste,d but he hit .305/.384/.413 last year in Serie Nacional at age 18 and is already hitting third in the lineup for the National Team.

I didn’t get a good time on Robert from home to first because of all the walks, but eyeballed him as an above-average runner on a few steal attempts. I’m not sure that Robert will retain the wheels for CF as he fills out but he should at least be a defensive asset in a corner and I think he’ll hit enough to play there.

Early this spring, scouts lost track of Robert and thought he might have left the island.

 

Longenhagen chat Jan 10, 2017

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/eric-longenhagen-prospects-chat-the-thaw/

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12:35
Eric A Longenhagen: He’s really good.

 

 
12:35
Eric A Longenhagen: And Cuba is officially dry.

 

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Some new quotes:

 

One NL scouting director:

"[Japan's] Shohei Ohtani is the best international player out there and he's a different animal because he would be the ace of a staff and he can hit," one National League international scouting director said. "But Robert is up there. He's a five-tool guy that can be in the big leagues soon. He has to be No. 2 behind Ohtani. He's that good."

 

One AL international scouting director:

"the best player on the planet, and that's no exaggeration."

 

http://m.mlb.com/news/article/216971522/cuban-luis-robert-top-international-prospect/

 

 

I assume that MLB won't clear him until after July 2nd to deflate his market price and put him under the new CBA. Which would eliminate the following 10 teams from signing him as they cannot offer more than 300k:

 

The Cubs, Dodgers, Royals, Cardinals, Astros, Athletics, Braves, Nationals, Padres and Reds.

 

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/02/cardinals-interested-in-cuban-prospect-luis-robert.html

 

Edited by Light Tower Power

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23 minutes ago, Light Tower Power said:

 

One AL international scouting director:

"the best player on the planet, and that's no exaggeration."

 

http://m.mlb.com/news/article/216971522/cuban-luis-robert-top-international-prospect/

 

 

 

 

How is a 19 year old that has never played in the majors being the best player on the planet not an exaggeration?

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2 minutes ago, brockpapersizer said:

 

How is a 19 year old that has never played in the majors being the best player on the planet not an exaggeration?

 

It was probably a loaded question and more so in reference to non-MLB talent.

Edited by Light Tower Power

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Just now, Light Tower Power said:

 

It was probably a loaded question and more so in reference to non-MLB talent.

 

that makes sense

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im sure the MLB will do everything in its ability to make sure he is a dodger, red sock, yankee or cub.

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From Eric Longenhagen's chat today:

 

Eric A Longenhagen: I’ve written/talked about Robert a few times and yes, I think he’s the best non-Otani prospect available internationally. I have not read (what I assume is) Jesse’s piece but I’ve heard all of that from scouts about the weight. Cuban players have had pretty evident fluctuations in weight during defection/hiding and the video I saw from Robert’s workout put to bed any concerns I have about him being too big. He looked ripped. He’s a bit raw but a potential impact bat.

 

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/eric-longenhagen-prospects-chat-where-is-tebow/

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Ben Badler on him:

 

Some notes:

 

-Robert has submitted all his paperwork to the commissioner’s office already. Based on the timetable of when that happened and the recent pace of MLB clearing Cuban players, it seems likely that Robert will be able to sign before the 2016-17 international signing period closes on June 15.
 
-The team that comes up the most in discussions of where Robert might land, however, is the White Sox.
 

-Robert has the talent of a first-round pick if he were in the draft. After he signs, he should be ready for an assignment to a low or high Class A affiliate.

 

-A righthanded hitter with excellent bat speed and a sound swing, Robert has plus power with room to continue filling out and increase that in the future. That all translated into a big year during the most recent 2016-17 season in Cuba. When Robert left Cuba in November, he was leading Serie Nacional in both OBP and slugging, batting .401/.526/.687 in 232 plate appearances. He drew 38 walks (10 intentional) with 30 strikeouts, 12 home runs and 11 stolen bases in 17 attempts.

 

 
The full piece is well worth a read for those interested in him, plus video of BP.
 
 

 

 

Edited by Light Tower Power
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Viva El Birdos interviewed Eric Longenhagen a month ago.

 

VEB: Cardinals don’t pick until the third round and once the current signing period closes, can’t sign any international amateurs for more than $300,000, is Luis Robert worth a significant investment?

 

EL: Yes, I saw him with the Cuban national team on the Can-Am tour last summer and he is a guy when I do the overall top-100 list who is going to be on there. I have heard rumors about him trying to leave the island multiple times over the last few years. As he has been unable to do so, reports of his physicality sort of waned as the body has gotten a bit bigger. What was once a guy who was a viable defensive center fielder who might hit 20 homers and steal 20 bases is more of left field/first base-type of guy but the bat is still very intriguing.

 

I think he is one of the better prospects in baseball in general but just because this is the last opportunity anyone will have to throw money at Latin America, I expect the bidding to be pretty ridiculous. There is nothing else right now. Cuba is basically dry. Robert is sort of it. There’s plus bat speed and pull power and he is athletic for his side and for no other reason that there is nothing else to spend money on, I think this guy will really get paid.

 

http://www.vivaelbirdos.com/st-louis-cardinals-sabermetrics-analysis/2017/2/7/14527162/cardinals-top-prospects-eric-longenhagen-fangraphs-interview

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Longenhagen omitted him from his t100, perhaps inadvertently.

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1 hour ago, fawkes_mulder said:

Longenhagen omitted him from his t100, perhaps inadvertently.

 

He only included signed prospects on the list - he mentioned Otani as likely being #1 if he were eligible.

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On 3/14/2017 at 11:55 AM, fawkes_mulder said:

Longenhagen omitted him from his t100, perhaps inadvertently.

 

I asked this in his chat today.

 

Luis Robert: Where would I have ranked on your top 100? Rough estimate.

 

Eric A Longenhagen: Either in the 50s or at the back of the 55s.

 

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/eric-longenhagen-prospects-chat-321/

 

 

His 55's go from #21-72. His 50's go from 73-100+. So rough guess estimate would place him between 60-90 currently.

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Yeah, that same question was asked in his last chat as well and he gave the same answer - no top 100 ranking but in the 50-55 FV range (which I thought was a bit low personally). An actual ranking estimate would be more helpful.

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