The Oakland Athletics announced on Monday that they signed Cuban free agent outfielder Dairon Blanco. Blanco is a veteran of the Cuban Serie Nacional. In four seasons in the Cuban professional league, he hit .310/.375/.416 in 201 games.
The right-handed hitting and throwing outfielder will turn 25 in January. Blanco last played professionally during the 2015-2016 season, when he hit .296/.352/.427 with 29 stolen bases in 33 chances in 85 games played. The speedster left Cuba in 2016 and began showcases for MLB teams that November. He was clocked at 6.25 for the 60-yard dash in a showcase in San Diego last November.
The A’s have been scouting Blanco over the past 14 months in the Dominican Republic, and Blanco recently spent time at the A’s Dominican complex during the organization’s Dominican fall Instructional League, according to A’s Assistant General Manager Dan Feinstein.
“We’re very excited to add Dairon to our system,” Feinstein said via email. “He has a track record of success in the Cuba, and possesses tools that are hard to come by. He’s very athletic, and a true 80 runner with the ability to play all three outfield spots. Profiles as leadoff hitter who will occasionally put one in the seats. Dairon’s had quite a layoff, so we’ll take our time getting him re-acclimated to a baseball environment in the DR, and hopefully we’ll see him in Arizona sometime this spring.”
Here’s video of Blanco taken last November from FanGraphs:
And here are highlights of Blanco playing in Cuba:
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