In a mid-Februay 2015 article on the markets for a number of the Cuban-born free agents that were/still are available this winter, MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez wrote about potential landing spots for each individual.
When it came to 6'3'', 18-year-old right-hander Yadier Alvarez, Sanchez mentioned the Washington Nationals as one of the teams with interest, listing the Nats and Arizona Diamondbacks as "likely destinations" for the pitcher.
Alvarez, Sanchez wrote, "... has burst onto the international scouting scene in the last few weeks," showing scouts, "a fastball that touches 98 mph," a, "plus-slider and an above-average changeup," which impressed those who saw his workouts.
Sanchez quoted "one high-ranking National League official" who said, "Alvarez was the best 18-year-old pitcher he had ever seen."
CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman compared Alvarez to a "young Ramon Martinez" after the righty reportedly hit 98 mph with his fastball in an early February workout.
Yadier Alvarez scouting video via Kiley McDaniels/Fangraphs.com:
Fangraphs.com's Kiley McDaniel wrote then that Alvarez hit, "98 mph again in the outing I went to on one scout’s gun... hit 97 mph multiple times on every gun," and was, "sitting at 93-96 mph over his two innings," in an outing for scouts in the Dominican Republic.
At the time, McDaniel wrote that he spoke to people in Alvarez's camp, who said, "they expect Alvarez’s paperwork to be done in 4-8 weeks and for him to sign as a part of the current July 2 period."
[ed. note - "As mentioned in the comments section below, in an updated article on Alvarez's status, Fangraphs.com's Kiley McDaniel wrote that the right-hander's reps are currently seeking a waiver from the Office of the Commissioner that would allow him to sign during the current signing period, "... or after July 2nd, if it turns out that’s when his best deal would come."]
Alvarez, the Fangraphs' reporter added, was "clearly better" than recent D-Backs' signee Yoan Lopez, who signed an "$8.25 million bonus" which suggested to him that, "... Alvarez should go for $10 million or more, with his further workouts dictating what the ceiling may be."
Alvarez only defected recently and as MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez wrote, he, "didn't have any professional experience in Cuba's top league," so the starter is, "... raw and could use some polish, particularly with his command, but he's young and has time on his side."
Washington Post writer James Wagner wrote today that the Nationals have "serious interest" in Alvarez, "according to a person familiar with the situation."
As the WaPost reporter notes, since the right-hander is "under 23 and hasn’t played in a Cuban professional league for at least five seasons, he is subject to international signing limits," meaning any team that signs him, "... will be penalized 100 percent tax on their bonus pool overage and be prohibited from signing any pool-eligible player for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods."
Nats have serious interest in 18-year-old Cuban righty Yadier Alvarez. http://t.co/fWQIaqCX6w— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) March 26, 2015
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