If you’ve followed the matter of Cuban baseball players defecting to the United States, you’re already aware it isn’t uncommon to see player agent Jaime Torres linked to such stories. The Havana Times‘ Peter C. Bjarkman takes a skeptic’s view of prospect Juan Yasser Serrano (above), described by Torres as “one of the most distinguished ballplayers in Cuba” (link culled from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)
Obviously Mr. Torres knows something that Cuban baseball fans, league officials, and opposition batters do not. In reality what Jaime Torres knows is that he can distribute whatever outrageous falsehoods he wishes about his Cuban œprospects and no one stateside will ever know the difference. Some salivating GM will most likely take him at his word and throw a million-dollar-plus contract at his latest second-coming of José Contreras.

The stark truth (known by all close followers of Cuban baseball) is that Juan Yasser Serrano was a rather mediocre Cuban Leaguer whose 2007-2008 record was a below average 2-7 won-lost mark, further diminished by an elevated 6.46 ERA and a hefty .312 opponents™ batting average against his deliveries. And this, while hurling for one of the league™s very best teams, Villa Clara.

In the current 2008-2009 season Serrano only pitched 21 innings in five appearances, but did have a 4-0 record and a .343 ERA. He wasn™t even considered as material for Cuba™s national team.

Serrano™s three-year lifetime mark entering the current campaign was 14-16, with a 4.40 ERA for a club that captured division titles in all three seasons he labored there. It is hard to imagine a young prospect as being one of the most notable talents on the island when last season he posted the third worst ERA on his own team™s 15-man pitching staff.

Of course, such distortions from agent Torres are hardly anything new or in any way much of a surprise. Last fall this same agent peddled Villa Clara third base prospect Dayan Viciedo as a national team star and likely the best player to debut in the Cuban League since Omar Linares.

Not only are Torres™s abuses of the facts a great disservice to the actual realities of Cuban League baseball (something I am certain Torres cares nothing about) but they are also a very sad statement on the current status of major league baseball scouting and recruitment. It™s long past time to start setting the record straight. And with several good websites (try www.baseballdecuba.com) now available for updated information of Cuban League baseball, there is no longer much excuse for GMs or scouts pleading ignorance about the true credentials of departing Cuban Leaguers.