Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com has reported that Yasmani Tomas has accepted a 6-year, 68.5 million dollar offer to sign as an international free agent with the Diamondbacks. His power is off the charts, but his approach may be the topic of discussion moving forward. Hitting in Arizona should only enhance his fantasy value.
As former scout Bernie Pleskoff points out, this gives the Diamondback options to change their roster moving forward. They have a mix of outfielders and middle infielders with many teams searching for a shortstop to address their pitching needs.
As for Tomas, his power is a 70 out of 80 on the grading scale. Some scouts feel his swing is long but I would be more concerned about the presence of the uppercut in this home run:
Tomas also struggled against breaking pitches during the World Baseball Classic, so adjusting to Major League pitching may be a bit of a struggle for him. There’s no doubt that he will run into some fastballs and hit them a long way, however. Trusting his stats from the last three seasons in Cuba will be tough, especially considering his 2014 was cut short due to injury. Regardless, here are his numbers:
2011 – 2012: 240 PA, 36 R, 16 HR, 42 RBI, 4 SB .301/.340/.580
2012 – 2013: 342 PA, 45 R, 15 HR, 70 RBI, 1 SB .289/.364/.538
2013 – 2014: 257 PA, 28 R, 6 HR, 35 RBI, 6 SB .290/.346/.450
Although his home run totals dropped, he does posses immense power. He homers about once every 22 plate appearances but ballpark effects in Cuba are hard to gauge. For comparison’s sake, here are some number of other recent Cuban Major Leaguers:
Yasmani Tomas: 821 PA, .293/.350/.523, OPS+ 134
Jose Abreu: 1015 PA, .356/.478/.681, OPS+ 180
Yoenis Cespedes: 1190 PA, .303/.384/.564, OPS+ 138
Alex Guerrero: 1009 PA, .327/.405/.578, OPS+ 129
Rusney Castillo: 556 PA, .322/.369/.518
Based on the data, Tomas probably compares the closest to Yoenis Cespedes. Though they are built differently, their slash lines and OPS+ are relatively close. The stats above underscore just how good Jose Abreu was in Cuba. For reference, Cespedes was 26 when he made his Major League debut for Oakland and Tomas just turned 24. But Cespedes’ rookie season looked like this:
Yoenis Cespedes 2012: 129 G, 70 R, 23 HR, 82 RBI, 16 SB .292/.356/.505 OPS+ 139
Cespedes was able to keep his slash lines close while improving his OPS+ by 1 with Oakland in his first season. With 3 extra years of experience but a much lower rated ballpark effect in Oakland, I would use Cespedes’ rookie year as the top of any projection for Tomas but would not recommend planning on it. Rather, I could see a slash line more like .245/.335/.485 for his rookie year with 20 to 25 home runs as he adjusts to life in the American Major Leagues. That is nothing to ignore at a time when power hitting corner outfielders are at a premium. I am willing to adjust my projections during the spring after we can get a look at how healthy his wrist is. If Tomas can hit the breaking ball he will be a great source of power as soon as 2015, just do not use Abreu as a guide. Pay for the power and be pleasantly surprised if he can hit .260 or higher.
Statistical credits: Obstructedview.net, Baseball-Reference.com, MLB.com
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/uhaH8A
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Greg Jewett is The Sports Script’s senior fantasy baseball writer. Follow him on Twitter @gjewett9!