In the last few years, Major League Baseball has seen a large infusion of Cuban-born talent in the MLB. Of course, this isn’t a recent phenomenon, since players have been defecting from Cuba to reach the MLB since the beginning of Fidel Castro’s presidency. It should be noted that since establishing residency in the United States means entering the draft, Cuban players generally defect to another nation first in order to become free agents, where they can choose the best financial option available. Since these players have had such a huge impact, it’s clear to see why every new Cuban declaration instantly becomes an exciting prospect. However, with the United States recently attempting to open up trade relations with Cuba for the first time in decades, we could see even more Cuban players making their MLB debuts in the near future, potentially giving these established Cuban stars a run for their money.
10. Adeiny Hechavarria (SS, Miami Marlins)
Adeiny Hechavarria is a defensive wizard and has established himself as a Major League-caliber shortstop. He is certainly a glove-first player, as the majority of his value is derived from his defensive play, which he excels at. He once possessed some offensive upside, however, at the age of 27, Hechavarria has likely peaked in terms of performance with the bat. That’s not a slight on Hechavarria, who still provides average middle infield production with the bat, along with Gold Glove-caliber defense at shortstop. In fact, with Andrelton Simmons now residing in the American League, Hechavarria is in an excellent position to win his first Gold Glove award, as he is essentially in a two-way race with San Francisco’s Brandon Crawford. Hechavarria is a special talent that routinely makes jaw dropping defensive plays, and a pitcher’s best friend.