Pedro Leon

Thought I’d create a dedicated thread for the $4MM Cuban who has sparked some serious interest among Astros fans. Some of that interest is a little too sky-high in my estimation (I’ve halfway convinced myself that I saw someone reference him as the Cuban Messiah) but still i’m the asshole creating the thread just for him.

A bit of a refresher: As a 19-year old in 2017-2018, Leon hit .333/.365/.556 in 32 games in his first year in Cuba’s Serie Nacional. He followed that the next season with 15 HRs in 33 games and an overall .383/.467/.789 line. Leon and the Astros reached a deal back on Feb 6 of last year. Of the oral variety. After MLB delayed the international signing period from it’s original Jul 2 commencement, the deal with Leon did not become official until last month. At the time of the verbal agreement, ESPN reported this on its website:

While a roster at his workout on Wednesday listed him at 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, one scout estimated Leon to be 5-foot-9 and 200 pounds. Scouts didn’t get to see Leon’s reputed power on display during the workout at the Giants’ academy in the Dominican Republic as they were told he’d already reached a deal with a team. Leon was cleared as a free agent in December, but delayed his open workout due to an oblique injury. Scouts say he previously has dealt with a shoulder injury as well. Cuban prospects have to wait to negotiate with clubs until after their first open workout for all 30 teams, or after they are cleared to be a free agent. Sources said Leon worked out privately for the Astros at their facility recently and the club was able to collect valuable data using advanced technology such as bat sensors and radar-based technology like TrackMan that other clubs weren’t able to collect on Wednesday.

Leon turns 23 in May and must engage in some serious rust removal since the last time he played a competitive inning of baseball was over two years ago. And even though he was paid the highest bonus in his Jan 15 class (J15 is the new J2), the ranking gurus don’t see him as the top prospect among foreign players. Fangraphs has 10-11 guys ranked ahead of him among 2021 international signees. MLB Pipeline has him at #7 among their Top 30 International Prospects list.

While Leon generally gets good marks across the board for his tools, the question came up in an earlier thread discussion about whether his arm was an 80 or not (on the 20-80 scouting scale where 20 is a “you’re in the wrong profession” and an 80 is…just the opposite of that). There now seems to be a consensus that yes indeed that arm is golden:

  • MLB Pipeline: “he’s a center fielder with 30-30 upside and top-of-the-scale arm strength” (2/18/21 article)
  • The Athletic: “he can show some huge tools, including 80 sprint times and an 80 arm, as well as huge raw power” (Astros 2021 prospect rankings from Keith Law)
  • Fangraphs: an 80 grade assigned to his arm on “The Board”

So speed, pop, cannon for an arm and the ability to play CF. The big question seems to be whether he’ll hit for average. The safe bet would be an assignment to Fayetteville to begin 2021. Putting him instead at Asheville would be more of an eye-opener.

Leon of course will be in big league camp as a non-roster invite (along with guys like Zach Daniels and Alex Santos who also have yet to play a professional game). And FWIW, on the ST roster the Astros have him listed at 5’10" 170 lbs (neither of which may be accurate nor up to date).

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Given all the other adjustments Leon will be making (new country, professional ball, language, etc) and given his purported outfield skills, I’m not sure I understand why the Astros will be adding more to his plate but this certainly is interesting…

Latest Cuban wunderkind sighting…

Forgot about this thread - maybe more appropriate here.

Still in big league camp, Leon is now 0-10 with 5 Ks. About what you’d expect for someone who’s not faced minor league pitching much less the major league variety.

It’s discussed in another thread but from a recent article by Jim Callis as to Leon playing shortstop…


Yet when Leon opens the season in Double-A, he’ll get the bulk of his playing time at shortstop. Putila estimated that 80 percent of his starts could come at the position, while he’ll also continue to get a lot of pregame reps in center field to maintain his skills there.

Leon didn’t play shortstop in Cuba’s top league but had prior experience there and has spent a lot of time working out in the infield this spring. Carlos Correa is eligible for free agency after the 2021 season, so it’s conceivable that Houston could need to replace him.

Leon definitely has the quickness and arm strength for shortstop, and the Astros have liked how quickly he has taken to the position.

“He made a play today with the infield in in the 10th inning where there was a little pop fly to left field and he took his eye off the ball, sprinted full out and made an over-the-shoulder catch as if the position weren’t new to him,” Putila said. "He’s looked great. His first game in big league camp was on the back fields against the Cardinals, and he made a Superman dive on a hard grounder up the middle and then popped up and threw the batter out.

“It’s really exciting. The way I describe it is he’s just played a lot of baseball and maybe he’s more advanced than we realized. He has great instincts and he’s super athletic. His feet look good and his arm action looks clean. We wanted to see what he could do there, and he came into big league camp and impressed a lot of people.”

I am surprised. I thought he was viewed as the successor to Springer.


And Pena and Nova, both SSs ranked 4 & 6 on Astros prospect list.

I think the Astros have some info on value about SS & CF. They also played Straw at SS some.

I also wonder about the value of a SS in the trade market verses an outfielder. They may be trying to maximize that value.

It can only get better. 0-4 with 3 whiffs in his debut for the Hooks last night. Hit leadoff and played short where he was charged with a throwing error.

Mirror image of last night except without the error. 0-8 now with 6 Ks in his first 2 professional games.

Again with 3 whiffs tonight. Did pick up his first base hit. 1-12 with 9 Ks.

So, you are saying he may not be the Second Coming of Willie Mays?

HItless tonight, couple more whiffs. 1-16 with 11 Ks.

I don’t think Cuba sent the right guy.

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Communists, man. smh

I’m just a fan. No organizational experience at any level after age 13. I would appreciate a more knowledgeable opinion.

Leon looks to be improving. In opinion, how much of his early struggles were from rust and/or playing a very demanding SS position for the first time at an advanced MiLB level?

Come on. WTH do you expect? This is his first US professional experience at any level. Did you see Cedeno at 19? Maybe you are not old enough, but I am, and he was helpless at the plate early on. Inexperience almost certainly, but not rust or playing SS. Chill, and watch his progress.

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Also keep in mind how Yuli started when he was ramping up in the minors, and he was a seasoned international star at the time.

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