The Houston Astros hit the international free agency market of Cuba again with Carlos Espinosa.
A combination of new minds, a shortened amount of draft picks, payroll and a depleted farm system have pushed the Houston Astros more into the international free agency pool. And on Monday, Francys Romero reported that the Astros are expected to sign right-handed pitcher Carlos Espinosa from Cuba.
The 19-year-old will sign during the next international signing period, which opens in January of 2022, as the period has fluctuated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With a fastball already pushing 95 MPH, Espinosa is set to make a big splash, landing a $450K signing bonus.
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Last May, Espinosa was in a pre-agreement to sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The deal fell through, as Houston scooped him up as of Monday.
The right-hander is trained by Hector Berrios, who also trains Vladimir Gutiérrez, a rising star with the Cincinnati Reds. The 25-year-old right-hander is expected to be a key piece for their franchise, which likely benefits from Berrios.
Espinosa adds to the long list of Cuban prospects that the Astros have pursued since general manager James Click took office.
With Yuli Gurriel already eyed as the best international standout in recent years, the franchise is anticipating even bigger things from Pedro Leon and Norel Gonzalez, who are both currently in Triple-A. More recently, the organization landed 21-year-old infielder Leosdani Molina from Cuba, a multi-tooled right-hander.