Cubs Linked to Top International Prospects

The new international signing period begins in seven days and the Cubs are expected to be very active once they can start signing players on July 2. The Cubs added several young players to the system during the signing 2012-13 signing period that just ended on June 15. The Cubs have been linked to three of the top 10 international prospects, including outfielder Eloy Jimenez, the 16-year old Dominican who is considered to be the “crown jewel” of the Class of 2013 according to MLB.com.

The Cubs could end up making a trade or two in order to add pool money to the $4,557,200 they are allowed to spend during the 2013-14 signing period. The Cubs have also been linked heavily to Venezuelan shortstop, Gleyber Torres. The 16-year old is considered to be the best shortstop in this year’s class and could be looking at a signing bonus of at least $1 million.

Many believe that the Cubs will go for quality over quantity and sign the players they project as impact talent down the road.

Eloy Jimenez

Eloy Jimenez is 6-foot-4, around 200 pounds and the 16-year old 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 a scouting report from Baseball America. Jimenez could be looking at the largest bonus of this year’s class ($2.6-$2.8 million).

According to Jesse Sanchez’s report on MLB.com, scouts have been impressed with his intelligence, speed and gap-to-gap power. Jimenez projects as a corner outfielder, likely right field due to his arm strength.

Gleyber Torres

Gleyber Torres is 6-foot-0, 170 pounds and according to scouting reports, Torres is seen as a right-handed hitter who will be able to stick at shortstop due to excellent hands, great feet, a strong arm and the ability to hit in games with projectable power that is surprising for his size.

Scouts like his baseball instincts and leadership abilities. Torres 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.

MLB.com ranked Gleyber Torres as the third best prospect in this year’s class.

Marcos Diplan

Marcos Diplan appears to be in line for the biggest bonus among 16-year old Latin American pitchers on July 2 according to Baseball America. The Cubs are believed to have strong interest in signing the 5-foot-11, 160 pound right hander from the Dominican Republic.

Diplan’s arm strength, loose arm and slight frame stand out the most. Diplan has quick arm action and can already touch 94 mph with his fastball. Diplan throws two other pitches that he can pound the strike zone with outside of his above average tailing fastball, a changeup and a power curveball.

MLB.com ranked Marcos Diplan as the eighth best prospect in this year’s class.

There are new rules for the signing period that begins on July 2. Most notable is the amount of money each team is allowed to spend on the international market. The new CBA put a cap on what teams could spend on international players and that led to the big contracts handed out to players such as Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig and Jorge Soler before the new restrictions kicked in. During the 2012-13 signing period that ended on June 15, each team received the same bonus pool of $2.9 million. Beginning with the 2013-14 signing period, the international bonus pool allotment is tiered based on the reverse of the Major League winning percentage from the previous season, same as the First-Year Player draft in June.

Here is a quick rundown of the rules:

  • A 16-year old international player can sign during the period that runs from July 2, 2013 through June 15, 2014 if the player turns 17 years old before September 1 or by the completion of his first minor league season.
  • A player that is 17 or older and has not signed a Major or minor league contract, resides outside of the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico and has not enrolled in high school or college in the United States, Canada or Puerto Rico within the previous year is eligible to sign during the July 2 – June 15 period.
  • Each team is allotted a $700,000 base and in addition to the base, each team receives a signing bonus pool made up of four slot values, based on the 2012 record, and the teams are allowed to trade pool money.
  • Teams can sign six players for bonuses of $50,000 or less that do not count against the bonus pool. All bonuses paid to players for less than $10,000 also do not count against the bonus pool.
  • The signing guidelines do not apply to players that previously signed a Major or minor league contract.
  • International signing rules do not apply to players who are at least 23 years old and have played in a professional league recognized by the commissioner’s office for a minimum of five seasons.
  • Cuban players who are at least 23 years old and have played at least three seasons in a Cuban professional league are eligible to sign as free agents and are not restricted by international signing rules.

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