St. Louis Cardinals: Targeting Lourdes Gurriel With Private Workout
It is not a rarity for hopeful players to defect from Cuba to get their shot at being Major Leaguers. Power bats such as José Abreu and Yoenis Céspedes, or a power arms like Aroldis Chapman are some of the recent breakout players. The St. Louis Cardinals have a particular interest in the most recent hopeful, Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
Lourdes Gurriel is set to turn 23 years old in October. That is a significant moment for all Major League franchises, because once a player turns 23 they can be signed without it counting against the international spending limits. That gives a talented Gurriel a big target on his back that can result in an even bigger contract and rumor has it that the St. Louis Cardinals are placing such a target.
The big brother of Gurriel is already playing in the league. Yulieski Gurriel is 32 years old, and worked his way through the Houston Astros farm system in only a year. Yulieski has played 36 games, posting a .262 average in 130 at bats. His first full season will be next year at the age of 33.
The younger of the brothers, according to scouts, shows more promise. Lourdes plays middle infield with a playing style comparable to Aledmys Díaz. It isn’t a far-fetched idea to think Lourdes Gurriel will make an impact soon since he is 22 now and approaching the magic 23. Many of baseball’s biggest stars are young: Mike Trout is 25, and Bryce Harper is 23.
So, where do the St. Louis Cardinals fit with this prospect? Well, they have sent many of their upper level scouts to go look at Gurriel, headlined by their Director of International Operations, Moises Rodriguez. The next steps are to schedule a private workout with Gurriel, and then the battle begins.
Enter this tweet today:
With the superstar potential surrounding Gurriel, there will be many offers. This buzz is justified based on the numbers. In his 21-year-old season in Cuba, he batted .344 in 218 at bats. He had 10 homeruns and 53 runs batted in. Gurriel also swiped 8 bases in 59 games, showing off some speed.
All those numbers are great, but what matters now is how his workouts go. Make no mistake, the approaching playoffs won’t steer any team away from the young prospect. One fact has become very clear, however, that as it stands now the Cardinals have a lot of interest in Gurriel.
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Gurriel has a good bat and is good with the glove, so he will be an interesting fit into the Cardinal organization. Should he be signed, Gurriel would have to go to the minors for part of the season to adjust and get used to the Cardinals brand of baseball. If he can work his way to the big club, there is no shortage of competition.
Between Díaz, Kolten Wong, Jedd Gyorko, and even the occasional Matt Carpenter at second, there is a lot of experience sitting in the middle of the field. If Gurriel matches the hype, my guess would be that Díaz remains at short and Gurriel takes over the job at second. That leaves Wong in the minors and Gyorko roaming the field trying to find the correct home for his bat.
Only time will tell where Gurriel lands, but it is safe to say the St. Louis Cardinals will do everything they can to be in the hunt. With international players there is no guarantee, just look at Yasiel Puig in the past few seasons. Come October 19th, Gurriel will be 23 and the signing games will begin.