The Red Sox have added another Cuban defector to their organization, signing 23-year old catcher Adalberto Ibarra. Ibarra came on the scene in 2004 when he hit .429 with a .500 on-base percentage during his gold medal run in the World Junior Championships.
Here's what Cuban Ball Players has on Ibarra:
In the 47th Cuban season, Ibarra finished ninth in batting average with 363. He hit 25 doubles, one triple and 8 home run. In the 48th season, Ibarra hit 341 with 8 doubles, 3 triples and 4 home runs. He hit 286 against lefties and 364 against righties. He connected 70 times to left field, 39 times to center field and 51 times to right field.
The Red Sox are looking to add a catcher as sources say the Red Sox view Kevin Youkilis at third and Victor Martinez at first long-term. Best case scenario for the Red Sox is obviously for Ibarra to emerge as potential in-house catching option, but he is going to have to prove that he can handle pitching in the minor leagues.
I watched an at-bat of Ibarra's in Cuba, and he looks like a natural catcher. His swing and approach reminds me of a mix of Victor Martinez and Miguel Montero. If he can continue to develop his swing to all fields at the upper levels of the minor leagues, he could find himself a spot in Fenway.