Source: Ruiz leaves Cuba, seeks MLB contract

Pitching prospect could establish residency in Haiti in order to become free agent

Source: Ruiz leaves Cuba, seeks MLB contract

Top Cuban pitching prospect Norge Luis Ruiz has left Cuba in order to seek a contract with a Major League club, an industry source told

Ruiz, 21, could establish residency in Haiti, the first step to becoming a Major League free agent.

Because of his age and experience -- Ruiz pitched three seasons in Cuba's Serie Nacional -- he will be subject to international signing guidelines. The right-handed pitcher should be able to sign during the upcoming 2015-16 international signing period if he is declared eligible by Major League Baseball.

Ruiz, who throws a fastball in the low- to mid-90s along with a slider, changeup and split-fastball, was the 2012-13 Rookie of the Year in Cuba. A member of the Cuba's national team, Ruiz played a role in the country's championships at the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games and the '15 Caribbean Series in Mexico.

Ruiz went 1-1 with a 2.89 ERA in 9 1/3 innings during the Caribbean Series. He struck out five and walked one batter.

Fellow top pitching prospect Vladimir Gutierrez, who played with Ruiz at the Caribbean Series, is also seeking a Major League contract and recently established residency in Mexico. Last month, right-handed pitcher Yasiel Sierra, 23, left Cuba and began the process of establishing residency, either in the Dominican Republic or Haiti.

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.