The Astros got their guy on January 15. They inked Cuban center-fielder Pedro León with a $4M signing bonus, the highest for any ballplayer of this international period. And judging him by his age, his skills, and his stats in the Cuban National Series, he might be seen as the ideal guy to take over center field in no time.
At 22 years old and knowing what I know about him, León may not be far from the bigs and is slated to make the impact that a five-tool player can make eventually. My question here is will this change the Astros approach to sign a center-fielder for 2021?
It could and it couldn’t. That will depend on how Houston sees León. But I think there’s a chance that the young Cuban might influence the Astros’ decision to go after a CF on a shorter deal than the one they’d need to bring back George Springer. You need to combine the fact that they wouldn’t want to block León, but at the same time, they need someone who helps them compete again in ‘21.
Want to fall in love with León? Take a look at his scouting profile from MLB Pipeline:
“At the plate, he has a short and compact swing. Leon doesn’t swing and miss much, and he shows power potential to all fields. He’s also a plus-runner with basestealing potential. On defense, he has all of the tools to stay in center field and displays a strong and accurate arm.”
León is a well-rounded player whose arm will get him several assists from the outfield, as he can throw the ball between 96 and 100 miles per hour. His power, running, arm, and fielding were graded at 55 on the scouting scale that goes from 20 to 80.
I’m not saying you should have León in your ideal lineup for 2021. His debut won’t happen just yet, but I insist: he’s not too far. Although that day shouldn’t take too long for him —I expect him to be a major-leaguer either in September or early 2022 if everything goes right—, he’s likely to begin his first season as an Astro in the upper levels of the Minors.
The team will take it from there. As GM James Click just said, they want León to dictate to them where he’s going to play. BUT there’s no doubt the Astros should take their newest bet into account at the time they decide to bring a center-fielder aboard for ‘21.
Now the Astros have Pedro León ready to join their affiliate teams, would you sign a CF to a long-term deal?
This poll is closed
Yes, more than three years
No, one or two years would make it