The St. Louis Cardinals who were sellers during the trade deadline acquired a building block for the future via the Jack Flaherty trade. The team from the Gateway City acquired the #14 in the Orioles farm system César Prieto. The trade also included Drew Rom and Zack Showalter.
Prieto is one of the hottest talents that Cuban baseball has produced in recent years. Since the beginning of his career in the Serie Nacional with Cienfuegos, his hitting and defensive prowess, led him to be considered for the national teams at a young age. His jump to the minor leagues represented a step forward in his development as a player.
Prieto was one of the most sought after prospects on the Cuban National Team at the time of his defection. The slick fielding, opportune hitting second baseman has drawn comparisons to Robert Alomar.
Only a few hours after arriving in South Florida in March of 2021 the infielder defected from a West Palm Beach luxury hotel. The young star was upset about having to play with the Cuban team in the qualifier and losing his contract in México with the Olmecas de Tabasco, so he decided to look for a better future in the best baseball in the world.
☑️ César Prieto fue asignado a Triple A (Memphis Redbirds) con su nueva organización (Cardinals).
▫️Pasó de ser el prospecto #16 de Baltimore a ser el #9 de los Cardinals de St. Louis.
▫️Si mantiene sus métricas podría debutar este mismo año en MLB.
▫️.349/.393/.475/.868; 49 RBI pic.twitter.com/exHsBicJvP
— Miguel Rodríguez Hernández (@MiguelRH98) August 2, 2023
Since he premiered in Cuba’s juvenile leagues, one of the most highly touted international prospects Cesar Prieto was marked for stardom. The second baseman had a coming-out party at the 2017 U-18 world championship when he slashed .581/.606/.646 for the Cuban National Team. That same year he made his debut in the Serie Nacional with Cienfuegos but only hit .058 in 17 AB, but still kept his rookie status.
The following season he took the Cuban League by storm hitting .379 in the first half for the Elephants and then was picked up by Villa Clara in the second half of the tournament. With the Azucareros, he hit .335 and led them to the league final where they lost in six games. In 2018 he was elected rookie of the year in Cuba when he broke Kendrys Morales’ rookie record for hit by 20 when he swatted 134 base knocks.
In 2019 he hit .358 in the second half of the season in Cuba with Matanzas when he was chosen to reinforce the Crocodiles and led them to their first championship in team history. Cesar Prieto put the world on notice of his talents when he hit .438 in the disappointing Pan-Am games for Cuba.
Prieto signed with Baltimore last year slashing .273/.314/.404 between High-A and Double-A, This year, he’s slashing .349/.393/.475 between Double-A and Triple-A, leading to a 132 wRC+. He’s also played three of four infield positions this season, this excludes first base.