The Braves are close to adding another outfielder to their Major League roster, and it's an outfielder from Cuba! Obviously it isn't Yasmany Tomas, since the Braves ultimately failed in their pursuit of the Cuban slugger after he agreed to sign a deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Instead, it's Dian Toscano, and the Braves are close to signing him to a Major League deal, per Baseball America's Ben Badler.
Braves strike in the Cuban market, agreeing to a major league contract with OF Dian Toscano: http://t.co/Qj1v5Rcddz— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) December 8, 2014
As usual with Cuban players, we don't know much about him. However, this is especially the case with Dian Toscano. He never played for the Cuban national team, which means that we weren't able to get glimpses of the guy in international competition like we did with Tomas. Instead, we have to grasp for small bits of information, like this bit that Ben Badler wrote in an article last month:
He’s not a player scouts have seen much of, since he didn’t play for the Cuban national team. He hit .356/.440/.452 in 86 plate appearances with eight walks and eight strikeouts in 2012-13, his final season in Cuba. The previous season, Toscano batted .287/.438/.380 with more than twice as many walks (35) as strikeouts (16), and three home runs. Toscano was a left fielder in Cuba, and with his lack of arm strength, that’s where he fits best in the field. Toscano was also spotted earlier at a private workout for the Giants
Also, the reason why 2012-13 was his final season in Cuba was because he was suspended and removed from his team's roster after he defected from Cuba. He landed in the Domincan Republic according to this article (en Español). Here's what our own Ian gleamed from it:
Looks like he defected to the DR. Played all outfield positions and 1B in Cuba, but didn't get much playing time, especially against LHP.— Ian (@IanMM_) December 8, 2014
Our friends at Amazin' Avenue have more info on Toscano's profile as a hitter:
Toscano's biggest strength is his eye at the plate. Since becoming a regular starter in the 49th Serie Nacional, the 25-year-old has maintained an on-base percentage of .417 over 682 trips to the plate. With only 13 career regular-season home runs, it is evident that Toscano works for his walks and is not pitched around on account of his power. Putting his on-base percentage in context however, it must be noted that an on-base percentage above .400 is not exceptionally rare in Cuba: At no point during his career has Toscano ever ended a season among the league leaders in the statistic. In fact, he has never even led his team in the category, ranking tenth on the Naranjas in the 49th Serie Nacional and second overall in the 50th and 51st series.
So using these bits and pieces, all we know for sure about Toscano is that judging by his numbers, he's a disciplined hitter at the plate but definitely not a slugger, and due to his arm strength (or lack thereof), he can play the outfield, but left field is his best position.
Either way, even with the morsels of information above, there is still plenty of mystery and intrigue surrounding the Braves' reported newest signing. The only way that we'll know for sure what the Braves have in Toscano is to actually see him in action, which will happen this Spring. But for now, I'll say that this is an enigmatic signing by the Braves in what is becoming an enigmatic offseason for the club.
MLB.com's Mark Bowman reports that while the Braves are close to an agreement with Toscano, there is no deal in place.
Hart confirmed the # Braves are still pursuing Toscano. But they still have not reached an agreement.— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) December 9, 2014