The Dodgers did not sign Yoan Moncada, and they have yet to sign Hector Olivera. However they did sign a Cuban today. According to Baseball America’s Ben Badler, the Dodgers have signed Cuban right handed pitcher Pablo Millan Fernandez to an eight million dollar minor league contract. Per the report, the contract is exempt from the international bonus pool and is pending Fernandez passing a physical.
Image from http://www.cubadebate.cu
I’ve never heard of the 25-year old right hander, but according to Badler, he is more of a finesse pitcher than a power guy. Although Badler does report that he has increased his fastball velocity from 86-88 into the low 90’s. Apparently the Cuban hurler also has a curveball, slider, and changeup in his repertoire as well.
Fernandez had been a reliever with the Cuban Serie Nacional club. When pitching in the 2013-2014 season Fernandez posted a 2.83 ERA with 36 whiffs, and 19 walks in a little over 57 frames. During the 2011-2012 season Fernandez was one of the top relievers, pitching 95 innings as a closer, posting a 1.52 ERA and struck out 70 against just 23 walks. Fernandez has a 32-30 career record in the Cuban Leagues, with a 3.59 ERA, and 5.3 strikeout per nine rate in 177 games.
Fernandez is supposed to start his MLB career in the minors, and the Dodgers are off the hook in regards to the bonus pools since they signed him on a minor league deal. According to Badler, Fernandez has experimented with different arm slots, and is working on his release point.
I have no idea how major league ready he is, but I have no problem with bringing in another Cuban born player. Actually I wouldn’t mind seeing an entire roster of Cuban players, since they are so extremely talented. Sign all of the Cubans Mr. Friedman!