If you’re wondering what to expect from Adalberto Ibarra, the Cuban catcher recently signed by the Red Sox, here’s an assessment from one international evaluator familiar with the player:
Ibarra, 23, is a left-handed hitter with "raw power" and a strong throwing arm, but he is regarded as more of an "offensive catcher" than a defensive one. His hands are suspect. He is roughly 5-foot-10,but with a strong build – a la Pudge Rodriguez or Kelly Shoppach, the classic catcher’s body – and has an uppercut swing. Some scouts have had difficulty assessing Ibarra because he has not played a great deal of international competition, performing largely in the Cuban professional league.
Where the Sox place Ibarra will be of obvious interest, particularly after the signings of shortstop Jose Iglesias (now at Double-A) and outfielder Jorge Padrón in the last several months. According to the same evaluator, Iglesias is easily the best player of the trio during what has been a clear attempt by the Sox to expand their scouting efforts in Cuba over the last year.
Over the winter, of course, the Sox also were among the teams interested in Cuban lefthander Aroldis Chapman, who signed with the Cincinnati Reds.
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