Who is Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez?

Posted: July 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

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News is spreading swiftly about the Philadelphia Phillies agreeing to terms with Cuban RHP Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reported moments ago that the Phillies have signed the 26-year old to a $60+ million contract. But, what is it that makes Gonzalez so valuable? Here’s everything you need to know.

The youngster was coveted by multiple teams, most notably the Boston Red Sox. Earlier this year, Gonzalez fled Cuba in hopes of playing professional baseball in the states. After a stop in El Salvador, he made camp in Mexico. The right-hander throws a mid-90s fastball coupled with a mediocre curveball and average secondary pitches. Opinions on his ceiling have varied from #3 starter to back-end of the rotation. It is almost unanimous, though, that he is indeed a major league talent. 

His windup includes a high leg kick that effectively hides pitches from the batter. Gonzalez has had trouble with regards to consistency in his mechanics, often shortening his stride, resulting in a loss in velocity and command. But, with work, that is an issue that can certainly be resolved. 

Gonzalez burst onto the scene as a pitcher with the Cuban National Team during the 2009 and 2011 World Cups. He was suspended for two years by Cuba after attempting to defect in 2011. 

In the past, Cuban defectors have had tremendous success. Orlando Hernandez burst onto the scene in the late-1990s as one of the first successful defectors of the communist island-nation. Recently, young stars like Aroldis Chapman ($30.25 million), Yoenis Cespedes ($36 million), and Yasiel Puig ($42 million) have successfully defected and become fan favorites in the majors. 

The signing comes as a surprise, as the Phillies had never signed an international free agent for more than $2 million.

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