The Los Angeles Dodgers made yet another international splash on Monday, signing Cuban middle infielder Alexander Guerrero to a $30 million contract.
Dodgers fans are hoping that this guy will be the next Yasiel Puig and take MLB by storm after defecting from Cuba. Puig has been key in the Dodgers going from one of the worst teams in the league to a World Series contender, and L.A. fans are crossing their fingers that Guerrero is just as good.
While fans prepare to see Guerrero, let's take a look at what to expect from the Cuban sensation.
Guerrero has shown us that he has the potential to be a star or a huge bust.
After beginning his professional career in Cuba at the age of 18, he struggled for a few years before he finally hit his stride. As you can be see from this table created by Bleacher Report prospect guru Mike Rosenbaum, Guerrero has been on fire during these past few years.
Guerrero didn't become a star until he turned 22, when he batted .338 with 19 home runs. Since then, however, he's been batting roughly .321 with 81 home runs and 275 RBI.
Since turning 22, Guerrero has had 1,347 at-bats. He averages a home run per every 16.6 at-bats and an RBI per every 4.9 at-bats. If he were to put up those numbers over an entire MLB season, he would finish with roughly 37 home runs and 127 RBI in 620 at-bats.
Obviously, Guerrero has huge upside potential, but he could also be a waste of $30 million.
Guerrero decided not to play the 2013-14 season because he had no motivation to play baseball. He simply lost interest after not making Cuba's World Baseball Classic team, and the Dodgers have to be worried about that.
If the Dodgers fall very behind early in the year, like they did this season, will Guerrero give up again? If he does, the Dodgers may as well have spent that $30 million on Cuban cigars.
Vitals and Scouting Report
Weight: 205 pounds
At 26 years old, Guerrero won't be in the league for as long as most international players. However, that means that he'll be more of an asset right now.
He's already in his prime, and he can help the Dodgers replace Mark Ellis (contract year) at second base next season.
Guerrero has good size and solid athleticism. He's as strong a middle infielder as there is in MLB right now, and that all stems from his powerful lower body.
Guerrero is more of an offensive weapon than anything else, as his range and arm have been questioned. However, he more than makes up for that with his bat, as he can hit for contact and power with his beautiful swing.
While he does have some minor flaws, he could be one of the best-hitting middle infielders in the game.
Guerrero could be in the Dodgers' lineup as soon as Opening Day 2014. With Ellis likely out the door, Guerrero will take over at second base and in the middle of the lineup.
While the Dodgers already have a stacked lineup, we could see Guerrero near the top of the order or after the cleanup trio.
Asking for 30 home runs and 100 RBI is too much; Guerrero could easily go for 20 home runs and 80 RBI in his first year in the bigs. We've seen international players like Ichiro Suzuki come over at the same age and dominate, and Guerrero shouldn't deal with much of a transition period in L.A.
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