When Lazaro Armenteros — or “Lazarito”, as he’s known in baseball circles — signed with the Oakland A’s last year, we knew he’d be heard from again soon.
We just didn’t know it would be this soon.
The 17-year-old Cuban prospect has yet to appear in an official minor league baseball game, but he made an appearance in Oakland’s split-squad spring training game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday. In doing so, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle notes he became the youngest player in franchise history to play in a Cactus League game.
Cuban OF Lazarito Armenteros, 17, is on the A's reserve list tomorrow for split-squad game at Dodgers: pic.twitter.com/O0pbCoXrsW
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) March 24, 2017
The A’s teased Lazarito’s debut on Friday when the following lineup card was posted. And yes, he’s on a nickname basis with pretty much everyone at this point.
Then they followed through. Lazarito pinch-hit for Ryan Lavarnway in the eighth inning and was retired on a fly ball to center field. He remained in the game as Oakland’s designated hitter and got another shot in the ninth inning, this time popping out to second base.
Granted, it would have been even cooler if he was able to show off some of his skills. But just the fact the A’s were comfortable putting him out there shows the team is happy with his development.
It’s worth mentioning that the Dodgers were an appropriate opponent for Oakland under the circumstances. The most recent 17-year-old to appear in a spring training game was Julio Urias back on March 15, 2014. Urias has since debuted in the majors and pitched in some critical situations for Los Angeles.
Rest assured, we’ll be seeing plenty more of Lazarito at some point too.
A scout who was at Camelback Ranch today tells me Lazarito Armenteros is "very physical and athletic with excellent bat speed."
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) March 25, 2017
He’s still a raw talent in need of some seasoning, but the scouting reports so far are mostly glowing. Some have even called him a baby Yoenis Cespedes, which is high praise. The only questions now are where his minor league journey will begin, and how quickly will his potential translate to success.
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