By Jesús Pérez Vichot (Chuchi)
Talented Cuban ballplayer Pedro León is currently one of the biggest options for the Houston Astros organizations. Born in Quivicán, in the province of Mayabeque, the 23-year-old is aiming to fulfill his dream of becoming a big league player.
León has stated that he is highly motivated and intends to improve his game daily, until he is called up for the highest level. The tools are more than enough in this player, once considered Cuba’s National Series top prospect.
The Astros signed him early last year for four millions and he has since played both in Double A and Triple A as a center fielder and shortstop. In the latter, the five-foot-ten-inch tall and 170-pound player impressed due to his powerful arm and excellent range. So, the Houson management is hoping to have him in the majors in a short time.
In the minors, León’s offensive numbers were rather discrete, with a .220/.338/.369 slash line. Yet, the most worrisome part was his lack of contact, with a 31% strikeout rate. Yet, we need to point out that he missed two months in the season following a broken left little finger, which affected his performance when he returned to the field.
He recently commented to MLB.com that he is highly motivated, and that he continues to get ready every day to get the desired results. He added that adjustments are coming and that will improve his performance. Besides, he admitted that he needs to control the emotions, because one day he can be playing in the minors and the next stand next to José Altuve, as if it was not happening. Yet, León is pleased with that possibility because he know it is something that can come true any time.
According to the MLB Pipeline list, the Cuban is the second best prospect in the Astros farm system. This is not an undeserved opinion, and this is very well known by Assistant GM of Player Development Pete Putila, who has voiced his opinion about the Cuban player, stressing that he is a tremendous athlete and that he has a lot of curiosity to see how far he can make it after seeing him play last year at a higher level in the Arizona Fall League.
León is expected to play most of the upcoming season at shortstop, although center field is not out of the question for him. He was not surprised to be used as a middle infielder, because according to what he said, this possibility was always among the interests of the organization. That’s why he put a lot of preparation and discipline in everything related to the position.
He also trusts his abilities to continue improving and get to the desired results. This is something that I particularly see happening rather soon, due to the impending departure of Carlos Correa (free agent) at shortstop and the tools that León has (an above average swing velocity, quick legs and strong arm), his debut in the Show is just a matter of time.