More than 200 scouts reportedly went to see second basemen Hector Olivera in the Dominican Republic for a two-day showcase on January 21st and one of the teams that were in attendance were the Yankees.
Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com said the San Francisco Giants, the Yankees, the San Diego Padres, the Texas Rangers and the Atlanta Braves have shown strong interest in Olivera. Baseball America had video of the 6-foot-2, 220 pound second basemen during his showcase and described what Olivera did during the two-day showcase.
That combination of talent and uncertainty drew hundreds of scouts to a two-day showcase at the Giants’ academy in the Dominican Republic last week. The first day of the showcase featured Olivera running the 60-yard dash, fielding grounders in the infield and taking batting practice. The next day, he faced live pitching, and recorded three hits in seven or eight at-bats.
Scouts said Olivera looked good, perhaps a little tired on the second day, but he appeared to be in good physical condition, with more weight (6-foot-2, 220 pounds) than he had during his prime years on the national team, but carrying it in a good way. He ran the 60-yard dash in around 6.7 to 6.8 seconds, depending on the stopwatch, showing slightly above-average speed. He’s not flashy at second base, but scouts said he looked like a steady defender. Olivera also took groundballs at third base, and while he’s shown a plus arm in the past, he didn’t seem to be airing it out quite as much at the showcase.
Olivera has a quick bat and showed a tick above-average power, hitting the ball hard to all fields and generating loft with his swing. Like a lot of Cuban hitters, he wraps the bat in his setup, but he has a history of making consistent contact in games and scouts have lauded his hitting approach and strike-zone management.
Olivera is still waiting for a specific license that Major League Baseball requires Cuban players to have in order to be able to sign. There’s no clear timetable as to when that would happen but Olivera hopes to be signed by Opening Day.