Major League Baseball informed its 30 clubs Thursday that Luis Robert is not subject to the June first-year player draft, thereby clearing the way for the Cuban outfield prospect to pursue a job with an MLB team as a free agent, two sources confirmed to ESPN.com.
Robert, 19, has to clear some minor logistical hurdles to officially become a free agent, but an MLB source said that's likely to happen soon. The earliest he would be able to sign with an MLB team is May 20.
Robert, listed at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, has been on the radar of major league scouts since he was 15 years old. When he held a showcase in the Dominican Republic in late March, Baseball America reported that high-ranking officials from the Cardinals, Astros, Reds, Padres and Athletics were among those in attendance.
"He's a physical specimen,'' Reds general manager Dick Williams recently told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "He has shown pretty well in workouts. There are definitely still questions about him. Any of those guys without a huge track record are going to have some questions.''
Robert needs to be cleared to sign by June 15 to avoid a more restrictive hard cap on bonuses under MLB's new international signing rules.