He won’t get the same type of massive payday that Cuban slugger Yosmani Tomas seems headed for, but Cuban infielder Hector Olivera has defected with an eye toward signing with an MLB team.
Ben Badler of Baseball America rates Olivera as the sixth-best player still in Cuba, but says “that evaluation comes with a huge level of uncertainty given Olivera’s recent health history”
He missed an entire season with thrombosis in his left biceps and hasn’t played in international competition since then, but Olivera hit .316 with an .886 OPS and more walks than strikeouts this season. And he has some monster numbers in previous seasons.
However, he spent a lot of time at designated hitter and turns 30 years old soon, so it’s unclear if MLB teams will view him as a viable middle infielder or not at this point.