Drew Silva

Cuban second baseman Jose Miguel Fernandez has reportedly defected

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The next big thing out of Cuba apparently just left Cuba. Ben Badler of Baseball America has the report

Jose Miguel Fernandez, a second baseman who ranked as the No. 3 player still in Cuba in April, has left the country to pursue a contract with a major league team, Baseball America has learned.

As a 27-year-old with seven seasons of experience in Cuba’s Serie Nacional, Fernandez will be exempt from the international bonus pools, and the interest from major league teams should be high.

Badler calls Fernandez “a major league-ready infielder with a short, quick swing from the left side, excellent bat control and stellar plate discipline.”

Fernandez was suspended for much of the 2014-2015 season in Cuba’s Serie Nacional for a failed initial effort to defect, but he hit .326/.482/.456 with 65 walks and 10 strikeouts in 314 plate appearances during the 2013-2014 campaign.

Fernandez has to establish residence in a new country and then apply for major league free agency, so it’s going to be a while before the bids can start flowing.

But we should begin hearing his name more and more leading into next spring.