Cuban Pitchers Norge Ruiz and Cionel Perez are now free agents
Following a protracted waiting period, the commissioner’s office has cleared Cuban pitchers, Norge Ruiz and Cionel Perez. The pair are now free to sign with any MLB team as free agents.
Don’t expect anything soon contract-wise from either player. Both pitchers are subject to the international bonus pools, of which most teams have already exhausted for the year.
Unless a team that’s exceeded the pool blows them out of the water with an offer, expect things to heat up with both players next summer.
Ruiz is a big name here. The righty ranked as the top pitching prospect in Cuba when he defected. The 22-year-old is scheduled to pitch in the Dominican League this winter for the Aguilas Cibaenas. He’ll be joined by another top international free agent on the team in second baseman Jose Miguel Fernandez. The 28-year-old Fernandez was considered the 3rd best overall prospect in Cuba as of last year.
Ruiz is listed at 6-0 and 185 pounds. This is his description from Baseball America “A 21-year-old who has shown midrotation starter potential with average to above-average stuff across the board and polished feel for pitching well beyond his years.”
The 2o-year-old Perez isn’t as highly regarded, but was one of the best pitchers in Cuba’s top league, Serie Nacional.
At just 5-10, 146 pounds, Perez is more of a “pitch to contact” type pitcher. With Matanzas of the Cuban National Series he posted a 7-2 record, with a 2.06 ERA and 1.191 WHIP.
Perez is scheduled to pitch for the Estrellas in the Dominican League this winter.