With the trade deadline a few weeks away and the Houston Astros firmly in contention for the playoffs, it's not surprising that they went out and picked up one of the best available talents. What may surprise some is that it wasn't with a trade or a call-up, but rather with the signing of Cuban infielder Yulieski Gurriel to a five-year, $47.5 million contract.
Here's a look at how Gurriel fits, and why Astros fans should be excited -- if not overjoyed -- by the latest addition to the talented Houston lineup.
Scouting report: Gurriel has been one of the top performers in Serie Nacional and for the Cuban national team, and it's not done with smoke and mirrors. It starts with his bat speed. The right-handed hitter gets his bat through the zone easily with little wasted movement, and he has shown the ability to square up pitches on all parts of the plate. He's a smart hitter with excellent hand-eye coordination, and he's that rare hitter who will draw his fair share of walks while also limiting strikeouts.