Raciel Iglesias: Cuban reliever throws in showcase, could contribute this season

Chung Sung-Jun

It's not unreasonable to expect to see Iglesias in a big league uniform later this year.

The influx of talent from Cuba doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

Right-hander Raciel Iglesias, who defected from Cuba in November after being previously detained just a few months before, threw in a showcase on Friday before a host of big league teams, and he could see time in the majors as early as this season.

A 24-year-old relief pitcher who currently resides in Mexico, Iglesias pitched in the World Baseball Classic in 2013, and though his velocity didn't quite measure up to what he had shown in the past, his arsenal of pitches is nevertheless very impressive. When he's on, he'll touch the mid-90s, and a big, sweeping breaking ball keeps hitters off-balance.

Baseball America's Ben Badler noted that Iglesias would likely have to make a pitstop in the minors instead of being rushed directly to the show, though that didn't prevent the New York Post's Joel Sherman from reporting that Iglesias could impact the pennant race this year.

Iglesias' Cuban stats aren't quite as eye-popping as those of the likes of Jose Abreu and Yasiel Puig, with his 5.59 ERA this year (preceded by a 1.68 total the season before) and an overall career mark of 3.47. Rather, it's the right-hander's makeup and overall impressive repertoire that make him an attractive candidate to contribute in the majors.

MLB trade deadline is July 31st

Iglesias also has plenty of room to grow. If he lands with a team that's capable of taking advantage of his potential—whether that means increasing his overall strength or working on further developing his repertoire—he could become a premier reliever in the majors.

Among contending teams, the Blue Jays (4.83 bullpen ERA), Tigers (4.48) and Dodgers (4.12) have had particularly difficult times in the later innings, though with so many teams reportedly attending Iglesias' showcase, it's reasonable to assume that he's fair game for just about anybody.

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