Baseball America posted its annual review of the players the Cubs signed on the International amateur market this past year.
According to Baseball America, the Cubs added 47 players to the organization and were aggressive signing players in the $100-250,000 range. The Cubs were restricted to signing a player for more than $250,000 due to the penalty the team received for flying past its International signing bonus pool during the 2013-14 signing period.
The Cubs had the fourth highest bonus pool at $3.96 million. The front office traded its No. 2 ($458,000), No. 3 ($309,300) and No. 4 ($206,700) slots to the Braves in the Tommy La Stella–Arodys Vizcaino trade and acquired the Braves No. 4 slot ($142,000) back in the deal.
Baseball America reported the Cubs spent $3.32 million in 2014 on International signings, which was the ninth most in baseball.
The 2015-16 International signing period begins July 2. The Cubs will not be restricted to signing players for $250,000 or less beginning July 2. Reports have suggested the front office will be very aggressive and spend heavily during the upcoming International signing period.
Baseball America did not include a complete list of the 47 players the Cubs signed. However, Ben Badler provided scouting reports on the top 15 players the team signed.
The Cubs signed LHP Wander Cabrera (Dominican Republic), RHP Emilio Ferrebus (Venezuela), SS Yeiler Peguero (Dominican Republic), OF Jose Jules (Dominican Republic), 3B Rafael Mejia (Dominican Republic), SS Fidel Mejia, OF Samir Lara (Dominican Republic), SS Francisco Garay (Panama), LHP Riger Fernandez (Venezuela), OF Yovanny Cuevas (Dominican Republic), SS Rafael Narea (Venezuela) and INF Tony Rijo (Dominican Republic) to six-figure bonuses according to Baseball America.
• LHP Wander Cabrera: The 17-year old lefty signed for $250,000 and is 6-foot-1, 185 pounds. Baseball America reported he has good arm strength, a fastball that touches 92 mph, a “solid breaking ball at times for a 17-year old” and he has a changeup. Cabrera needs to work on his mechanics and is “still erratic.”
• RHP Emilio Ferrebus: The 17-year old right-hander signed for $250,000 and is 6-foot-2, 165 pounds. Ferrebus has “late, above average running life on a fastball that touches 93 mph.” Ferrebus has three pitches and projects as a starter. Baseball America thinks his fastball could develop into a plus-pitch, and his breaking ball and changeup “have a chance to be average or a tick better.”
• SS Yeiler Peguero: The Cubs signed the shortstop for $250,000 and he “stands out more for his instincts than raw tools” according to Baseball America. Peguero is 5-foot-10, 155 pounds and is a switch hitter with a line drive approach from both sides. Baseball America explained Peguero “grew up playing a lot of baseball so his game awareness is mature for his age.” Peguero is described as “a gamer with good actions in the middle of the field and an average arm.” Peguero will spend time at second base and shortstop.
• CF Jose Jules: Signed for $250,000, Baseball America indicated Jules is on “the other end of the spectrum from Yeiler Peguero in terms of raw tools versus baseball skills. Jules is 6-foot-2, 170 pounds and has “plus speed, excellent athleticism and projectable raw power potential from the right side.” Jules has “promising tools,” but “the game skills are still crude at this point.”
• 3B Rafael Mejia: The 17-year old third baseman signed for $250,000 in August. Mejia is 6-foot-1, 195 pounds with what Baseball America described as a “strong, physical frame.” There is a chance Mejia hits for power due to the lift in his swing from the right side. Mejia has “solid hands and an above average arm.”
• SS Fidel Mejia: According to Baseball America, Rafael Mejia and Fidel Mejia are not related. The Cubs signed the 16-year old shortstop for $250,000. Mejia is starting to fill out his frame, currently 6-foot, 170 pounds and he has “long arms on a gangly, high wasted frame.” Mejia hits from both sides and his “hands work well at the plate with a loose, fluid swing, especially from the left-side.” Mejia could change positions and is too young to project according to Baseball America, but the tools are there.
• OF Samir Lara: The Cubs signed Lara in December for $250,000. Lara is 18 years old, 6-foot, 165 pounds and hits from the right side. According to Baseball America, Lara “impressed the Cubs with solid tools in his speed, arm strength and raw power.” Lara projects as a right fielder.
• INF Tony Rijo: The Cubs signed Rijo for $100,000. Rijo (6-foot, 170 pounds) hits from the right side, with quick hands “a line drive stroke and gap power.” Rijo’s bat is ahead of his glove. He could play second, third of end up in a corner outfield spot.
• SS Francisco Garay: The Cubs signed the 17-year old switch-hitting shortstop for $200,000. Garay is 6-foot-2, 170 pounds and stands out “for his athleticism and the physical upside in his gangly build.” Good hands at shortstop, strong arm and average speed.
• SS Rafael Narea: Narea (16 years old, right-handed, 5-foot-10, 160 pounds) signed for $150,000 and is a “defensive oriented shortstop with good actions, instincts and gets quick reads off the bat.” His defense is ahead of his offense.
• LHP Riger Fernandez: The Cubs signed the 17-year old southpaw for $200,000. Fernandez “has a sound delivery and arm action” with a fastball that already touches 90 mph with “good tailing action.” Secondary pitches “is still raw” his curveball is ahead of his changeup.
• OF Yovanny Cuevas: The Cubs signed the 16-year old outfielder for $200,000. Cuevas is 6-foot, 170 pounds corner outfielder that “impressed the Cubs with his right-handed bat and occasional power.”
• RHP Hector Garcia: The 16-year old right hander is 5-foot-11, 160 pounds and features a fastball that has touched 92 mph. Garcia has a “feel for a slider and changeup and advanced pitchability for his age.”
• 2B Carlos Sepulveda: Sepulveda is 5-foot-10 and hits from the left side. The 18-year old Sepulveda could make his professional debut in the United States. The Cubs were reportedly impressed with his bat.
• RHP Jesus Camargo: The 18-year old right hander features a fastball that has touched 93 mph on the gun, a changeup that “flashes above average and is ahead of his breaking ball.”