According to "sources" on the infinite digital pages that comprise the internet, Cuban human being Yasmany Tomas is receiving interest by the Royals. Specifically interest in him being a human being AND playing baseball for them professionally.
Tomas offers a different profile than other Cuban defectors signed recently. He's too old and has "too much" professional experience to qualify for the July 2nd amateur free agent class. He's also much younger though than other recent Cuban signees such as White Sox slugger Joe Abreu and Former Oakland A's now Boston Red Sox Yoenis Cespedes. Jose Abreu made his MLB debut this year at the age of 27, a year he also won the AL Rookie of the Year award. Yoenis Cespedes was a year younger at 26 during his 2012 debut. Red Sox Rusney Castillo made his debut at 27.
Tomas is in the perfect mix for the 23-5 rule where a Cuban player in order to be a free agent unencumbered by bonus pools must be at least 23 years old and have 5 years of Cuban baseball experience. Tomas is 23 now and will be 24 by seasons start.
As a primer, here are Tomas' Serie Nacional stats
Tomas received irregular playing time during his formidable pre-20's years, but established himself as a regular in . 2012 at the age of 21 and turned into a league all star.
Yasmany offers classical Cuban power, but it's lesser than Abreu and fellow cuban Alfredo Despaigne. Scouts label him with 65-70 raw power which translates to 25-30 home runs in any given season. What will downplay that power though is the hit tool.
While not striking out at a large rate in Cuba, compared to the MLB average, scouts don't predict the high average will carry over to the major leagues. Tomas has a fairly pronounced uppercut swing and at times sells out for pull power. He was consistently overwhelmed by good breaking pitches during the summer the Cuba national team took on the USA collegiate team. They warmed him up with high fastballs and velo then threw soft stuff outside of the zone to tempt him to swing, which he did often.
Unlike a lot of classical sluggers, Tomas doesn't load his hands as far back. His load resembles more a contact type hitter.
Above you can see Tomas with his small hand-load compared to Nelson Cruz who features a similar uppercut swing, but more load allowing him to generate more power through his torso.
Tomas still features good bat speed and has the quick-twitch in his hands but will have issues catching up to premium velocity that is now ubiquitous in the major leagues. Along with his questionable plate discipline, this could lead to him hitting .250 or so rather than the .300 he hit in Serie Nacional.
Below you can find him chasing an offspeed pitch low and making poor contact.
Yasmany is also not much of a runner and his range is average. This leads for a LF profile, but if the Royals were to sign him, he's playing right field.
Ultimately I see Tomas being like Cespedes as an average defender in the outfield who can hit 25 home runs in a season, but won't hit for average or steal bases. That's still the profile of a 3 win player and worth $21M a year in value.
The rumors have Tomas pegged as seeking a $100M deal, but that would be too expensive for a player who is more above average than elite. The Royals aren't a high payroll team either so if they were to go for him I couldn't imagine them paying more than $60-70M for him at the max. Anything above that might price himself out. That would be the largest contract in Royals history as well. $80M would be pegging him as a two-win player every year and you'd receive essentially no surplus value on the contract either. If he under performs for a year then you're in negative value. For a player with no experience facing US pitching, demanding a player to be a two-win player is a tough task.
With the recent run of success that Cuban signees have seen recently, perhaps teams are willing to spend big in hopes of continuing that run as well as Tomas will be 3-4 years younger than the others.