Under the direction of president and CEO Stan Kasten and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, the Los Angeles Dodgers placed a renewed focus on developing prospects who are drafted and in the international market.
That approach has added Yadier Alvarez, Walker Buehler, Yusniel Diaz, Gavin Lux and Josh Sborz, among others, to the organization. On the first day of the 2015-16 international signing period, the Dodgers exceeded their allotted pool money, incurring a 100 percent tax penalty and facing limitations the next two years.
The strategy was by design, as the club attempted to maximize their signings ahead of a weaker crop of international talent the following year. Though, that didn’t have any bearing on the Dodgers reported signing of Cuban infielder Jose Miguel Fernandez last month.
Fernandez, 28, was exempt from international bonus pools due to his age and professional experience in Cuba. After sorting through visa issues, he’s officially been signed and reported to Camelback Ranch as of Friday, according to Bill Plunkett of the O.C. Register:
#Dodgers officially sign Cuban IF Jose Miguel Fernandez and add him to camp as a non-roster invitee
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) February 17, 2017
Over eight seasons in Cuba’s Serie Nacional, Fernandez batted .319/.403/.423 with 105 doubles, six triples, 37 home runs and 318 RBI. He hit .524/.545/.667 in 21 at-bats for the Cuban national team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Fernandez was rated the No. 3 prospect still playing in Cuba by Baseball America in April 2015. He last played organized baseball in 2014, but that was limited to just 15 games due to a suspension for attempting to defect.
Fernandez primarily played second base in Cuba, though also has some experience at third. Time missed and weight concerns could lend to Fernandez being better suited to play third base. The left-handed hitting infielder is regarded for his ability to reach base via walk.