Cubs Considered Favorites to Sign Two of the Top International Prospects

The July 2 international signing period is around seven weeks away and the Cubs are considered favorites to sign two of the top international prospects. The Cubs’ signing bonus pool for the 2013-14 international signing period is expected to be $4,557,200, the second most in baseball behind the Houston Astros ($4,943,700). For the first time the international signing bonus pool will be tiered based on reverse order of 2012 Major League winning percentage, the same as the first year player draft.

According to a report from Baseball America, the Cubs are expected to be very active but they will “likely award bigger bonuses to two of their top targets and perhaps trade for even more space.”

According to Ben Badler, each of the top ten international prospects is expected to sign for at least $1 million. The Cubs are considered favorites to sign OF Eloy Jimenez and SS Gleyber Torres.

Eloy Jimenez

The 16-year old right-handed hitting outfielder from the Dominican Republic “has a strong, projectable body with a quick bat and a swing path that results in more line drives than loft power” according to Baseball America. Jimenez is 6-foot-4, 200 pounds and projects as a corner outfielder. Ben Badler reported Jimenez is expected to receive the highest bonus of this year’s class, which could reach the $2.6-$2.8 million range. The Cubs are considered the heavy favorite to sign him.

Gleyber Torres

The 16-year old shortstop could be the best prospect in this year’s class from Venezuela. Torres is 5-for-11, 185 pounds and is considered a “steady player with present skills” according to Baseball America. Scouts that are high on Torres “see a right-handed hitter who can stay at shortstop with good hands, a strong arm and the ability to hit in games with projectable power that’s surprising for his size.” Some scouts think he could be a better fit at second or third base.

Baseball America thinks he could sign a bonus similar to the one Mark Malave signed in 2011. The Cubs inked the third baseman to a $1.6 million contract.

Baseball America’s Full Report on the Top Ten International Prospects

More on the International Signing Rules

Each team can also sign six players for bonuses of $50,000 or less that do not count against the bonus pool. This year, a player signed for $10,000 or less will not count account the bonus pool as well.

The current international signing period ends on June 15. The time between June 16 and July 1 is considered a closed period in which no one will be able to sign.

Video of Eloy Jimenez

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  • Ripsnorter1

    Speaking of top players….here’s Keith Law’s top 10 draft prospects:

    1. Appel, p, “clearly the best pick in the draft, the draft’s top talent.”

    2.Gray, p, “has better pure stuff than even Appel, but carries a great risk due to lesser command and shorter track record. Can throw 100 mph.”

    3.Byrant, 3B/OF, huge raw power, probably a RF and not a 3B.

    4. Meadows, a high schooler, OF. Has underperformed for the level of his tools, but has the highest upside of any of the prep bats in this draft.

    5. Stewart, p. 4 pitches, including 97 mph fastball and a plus slider. But he wants to play football.

    6. Shipley, p. Converted position player who throws 97 with a plus changeup.

    7. Frazier, OF. Best bat speed of any prospect–“perhaps the best bat speed I’ve seen in any amatuer player I’ve ever seen–but lacks foot speed and has a smaller build.

    8.Manaea, LHP. Has been injured and may fall in this draft.

    9. Moran, 3B. Has the best pure bat in the college ranks.

    10. Dominic Smith, 1B. Stellar defense and hard contact with the bat.

    It will be fun to watch the Cubs pick.

    • Ray Ray

      I agree with Keith Law on Appel. Have seen both Appel and Gray pitch live and it is pretty clear who will be contributing faster at the MLB level.

  • WidespreadHisPanic

    I’d like to see the Cubs go with the kid from SD. The 3B.

    According to reports it sounds like he has the talent and the makeup of a very good major leaguer.

    Go for a top hitting prospect first then draft pitching.

    Just my 2 cents.

    • cc002600

      If they can’t get Appel, I agree with you.

      Hard throwers like Gray are nice, but I question their durability and the ability to sustain that kind of velocity over time. How many hard throwers are good consistently year in and year out w/o getting injured ? Its very rare. If Bryant is as good as he seems, I would go for it. seems safer to me.

      and yes, they need pitching, but their offense isn’t exactly the 1927 yankees either.

      • John_CC

        Yes, IF they cannot get Appel. I still think he is still to good to pass up.

        I read an article with the percentages of draftees that make it to the pros. And then the percentage that go on to be all-stars etc.

        College position players are by far the highest percentage to make it the MLB, to succeed, and be stars.

        Bryant could be the closest to a sure thing in this draft, but Appel has proven himself as well. Hard to see how he doesn’t pitch in the majors in 2014, barring injury.

      • Brp921

        I agree Appel if he’s available Bryant if Appels gone.

        • JasonPen

          If Appel was such a sure bet… he wouldn’t even be in this draft. He would have been a top 3 pick last season.
          Gray is the better choice, then Bryant. If Bryant could stay at 3B it would be an obvious pick, but he can’t and as it is we are deep at corner OF.
          Appel and Boras can say no to the pirates again at #10. He wouldn’t be on my team if I was in charge.

          • Brp921

            Appel may have been a top three last year if teams hadn’t possibly been worried about his signabityand dealing with Boras wanting more than slot. He won’t have as much bargaining power this year. I just hope whoever they pick turns out to be a star.

  • Ray Ray

    Are there any top international prospect available who are major league ready? It is fine signing these 16 year old kids but they need to improve the major league team.

    • Tony_Hall

      They wouldn’t still be out there if they were major league ready. 16 is where the best athletes get signed.

      • Ray Ray

        I am talking about the Cespedes, Puig,Ryu type international players. Either immediate help or like Puig who will be this year.

        • Tony_Hall

          None left. They all signed before the rules changed and it restricted the money they could make. Anyone who was remotely good took advantage. Most of these guys will now get signed at 16,17 year olds. A few may sneak through, but my guess is it will be at least one more season before anyone as good as the guys you mention develop.

          As far as Ryu and Japanese players that will be in the off-season, not the summer signing timeframe.

  • Theboardrider

    The more I read about Bryant the more I believe he’s the pick if he’s there. He plays a position of need and I’m reading where he’s a “once in a…” type player. Plus our front office strategy is to pick position players in the 1st round.

    All that said, I think he’s going to the Astros and the point will be moot.

    • Ray Ray

      What position of need is that? If you read about where scouts project him to play in the future… is not 3B. He is projected as a 1B or possibly and OF. That being said…..If his bat is too good to pass up and you feel he can play OF then that is a possibility.

      • 07GreyDigger

        They need a pitcher and need to take Appel or Gray since they don’t have any impact pitching prospects (at least not yet). That’s the area of need.

        • Theboardrider

          I was thinking of him as a 3rd baseman. If he’s a once a decade talent I don’t think you pass him up. Even though we need pitching you don’t pass up the next Bryce Harper IMO.

          • willie smith

            if he’s bryce harper; then he’s taken 1st. that is not the case.

            we already have vitters, baez, villeneuva, and lake for 3rd base. cubs need pitching.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Hey, don’t forget Ian Stewart!

          • paulcatanese

            Gosh Rip, I already have:)

          • Ray Ray

            Everything that I have read about Bryant is that he is an OK athlete that doesn’t move very well laterally. Some say that he might be able to stick at 3B but most think not. If you feel he can be a Bryce Harper type bat then I agree with you but he is not a great 2 way player or baserunner. He is a bat and you figure out what position he can play. Bryce Harper and Mike Trout are good defensive players and can run. Bryant is not the athlete that those 2 are.

        • cc002600

          Yes, They need pitching, but there’s much more risk drafting a pitcher. There are tons of examples down through the years of pitchers being drafted high that end as busts. Postion players are safer bets. Don’t draft on need, draft who you think can be the best player. Besides, they have LOTS of needs.

          I say Appel first, then Bryant. Seems like Appel is better than Gray from what people are saying.

          • 07GreyDigger

            True. I just know that this year is kind of a weak draft. So I’m afraid, a guy like Bryant would be more of a top 15 guy in a more talented year. You definitely have to go for value over need and I think it would be hard for the organization to pass on a stud pitcher.

  • John_CC

    Eloy is a beastly 16 year old!! Imagine if a kid like this had all the best everything in his grooming to be a baseball player like, say, Bryce Harper.

  • Dorasaga

    I wonder if TomU will agree here: Cubs need no Torres. They have a system loaded with good SS and one in Castro signed to long term. They might as well save the dough for sustainable pitching.