At 19 years old and ranked the 10th-best catching prospect in baseball, Quero was given a non-roster invitation to big league spring training this year.
“I’m very excited to be here,” he said in Spanish during the first week of camp. “They noticed my work from last year, had a good season, and I’m happy they gave me the opportunity to be here with big league players like Shohei [Ohtani], [Mike] Trout and all the guys who are on the team.”
When he’s with the rest of the catchers, if he’s not watching veterans such as Max Stassi, he can be found listening and learning how to improve himself, particularly on defense.
“I think sky’s the limit for him,” Stassi said of Quero. “He’s definitely really advanced for his age. I’m looking forward to watching him play. It’s amazing what he’s doing at that age.”
Said Drew Butera, the Angels’ catching coordinator: “We know that he’s going to be a special talent.”
Quero, who was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, and started playing baseball when he was 5, showed potential on the international stage. In 2018, he played for the Cuban under-15 team in the Baseball World Cup.
Leaving Cuba was difficult, especially for Quero. He explained that the state had him “regulado” or “regulated.”
The term “regulated” is used by Cuban authorities. Cuban residents who are regulated are not allowed to legally leave the island. The state can regulate people for a number of reasons, one being that a person is of “national interest,” according to the non-profit journalism and media organization, CONNECTAS.
At least five players from the 2018 Cuban U-15 team Quero played on were “regulated,” according to On Cuba News.
Quero explained he was regulated because he was an athlete and was only allowed to leave the island with the national team. Eventually, Quero said, his mother resolved the issue and he was able to board a flight with his family to Haiti.
“It was very complicated. A lot of the baseball players follow the same process of going to Haiti,” he said. “Some of them do it in a more risky way. Thank God I did it by airplane.”
Quero and his family left Cuba in 2019. From Haiti, they moved to the Dominican Republic and eventually to Florida. He got his residency in the U.S. at the end of 2022.
The Angels signed Quero as a free agent in February of 2021 and he made his debut with the Arizona Complex League Angels that summer. He played 29 games in Arizona before getting promoted to Class-A Inland Empire for 10 games to end the year.
He was listed as the No. 3 prospect in the Angels system in 2022, a season in which he was chosen the California League’s most valuable player and a Class-A All-Star.
“I think everything I’ve accomplished, and to be where I am now is thanks to God and all the blessings he gave me,” Quero said toward the end of the 2022 season. “I consider myself a player that is hardworking and persistent. If I put my mind to something, I always come through.”
Quero, a switch-hitter, had 17 home runs and 75 RBIs with a .965 on-base-plus-slugging rate with the 66ers last year.
“We’re really encouraged by the season Edgar’s had,” Joey Prebynski, the Angels’ director of player development, said last year. “His performance on the field, certainly from an offensive standpoint, from both sides of the plate, he had a really good year.”
Baseball skills aside, one thing that’s stood out about his off-the-field growth, particularly to Dave Stapleton, is Quero’s communication.
“He’s done a tremendous amount of work — and I know it might seem funny — but a tremendous amount of work on his English,” said Stapleton, who’s managed two of Quero’s teams, the 2021 Arizona League Angels and the 2022 66ers. “For him to be able to do that and communicate with the pitchers that don’t speak any Spanish at all has been a huge growth in him.
“His story is really second to none being from Cuba, so when you really get into what he’s been able to do and the growth he’s made, it’s tremendous.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.