Baseball America has been providing reviews on the International prospects each team signed last year, what was spent and where each team ranked with the rest of baseball.
According to Baseball America, the Cubs signed 34 players in 2015, not during the 2015-16 signing period, but calendar year. Filtering through the team’s official transactions page, the Cubs have signed 27 players during the current signing period (July 2, 2015-June 15, 2016).
Only nine other teams signed more International prospects last year than the Cubs. The Yankees (57), Diamondbacks (48), Astros (46), Red Sox (45), Rays (43), Dodgers (42), Padres (38), Reds (36) and Mets (35) were the only team more active than the Cubs.
Baseball America reported the Cubs spent the third most of any team on International prospects. Only the Dodgers ($45.38 million) and Red Sox ($36.17 million) spent more than the Cubs ($18.53 million) last year (2015). The estimated figures from Baseball America are for the entire year, not only the 2015-16 International signing period and include Cuban free agents.
Excluding Cuban players, the Cubs ($15.53 million) spent more than any team in baseball, almost twice as much as the Giants ($8.06 million), who was second on the Baseball America’s list. Ben Badler pointed out “the majority of the Cubs focus was on players from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Mexico.
Cubs International Free Agents (2015-16 Signing Period)
- Edison Novas, RHP
- Jose Mac Donna, LHP
- Miguel Amaya, C
- Jose Albertos, RHP
- Javier Assad, RHP
- Kevin Zamudio, C
- Abraham Rodriguez, OF
- Ruben Reyes, OF
- Faustino Carrera, LHP
- Isaac Paredes, SS
- Kwang-Min Kwon, OF
- Yunior Perez, RHP
- Christopher Morel, SS
- Brailyn Marquez, LHP
- Hector Matos, RHP
- Luis Diaz, SS
- Aramis Ademan, SS
- Jonathan Sierra, OF
- Henderson Perez, C
- Jose Gutierrez, OF
- Yonathan Perlaza, SS
- Herson Perez, C
- Orian Nunez, 2B
- Eddy Julio Martinez, OF
- Carlos Ocampo, RHP
- Fernando Kelli, OF
- Maikel Aguiar, RHP
The Cubs committed $7.65 million to five players on or around July 2: SS Yonathan Perlaza ($1.3 million), OF Jonathan Sierra ($2.5 million), SS Aramis Ademan ($2 million), C Miguel Amaya ($1.25 million) and RHP Yunior Perez ($600,000), signed Kwang-Min Kwon for $1.2 million and landed OF Eddy Julio Martinez for $3 million. Based on the multiple reports, the Cubs spent $11.85 million on those seven players during the current International signing period that ends on June 15, 2016.
Baseball America provided scouting information on the players that signed with the Cubs for at least $100,000. And Ben Badler’s figures vary slightly from those that were previously reported and listed above.
SS Aramis Ademan is considered the best International prospect of this Cubs’ class. Ademan is 5-foot-10, 150 pounds and hits from the left-side. Ademan has a short-compact swing and makes a lot of contact. Ademan is a line drive hitter that uses the entire field. Ademan does not project to hit for power and must rely on making contact to get on-base although he is learning how to work the count. Scouts feel he has a chance to stick at shortstop. Ademan has soft hands, quick feet, a solid arm with a quick release and a good internal clock.
According to Baseball America, the Cubs were higher on Jonathan Sierra, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound outfielder, than other teams. Sierra has shown average raw power. Teams are not sure if he will hit enough. Sierra hasn’t shown good pitch recognition and has a high swing-and-miss rate. The Cubs liked what they saw in Sierra, according to Ben Badler, a player with advanced pitch recognition and awareness of the strike zone. Sierra projects as a corner outfielder.
RHP Jose Albertos signed for $1.5 million. The 17-year old is 6-foot-1, 185 pounds and is from Tijuana of the Mexican League. Ben Badler explained “since the Mexican League team takes 75 percent of the player’s bonus and the player only keeps 25 percent, Major League Baseball only counts 25 percent of a Mexican League player’s bonus against the bonus pool.” The Cubs will “save some money on their eventual overage tax payment to the commissioner’s office” that is due on July 15, 2016.
Albertos has a big arm. Albertos hit 92 mph on the gun before he signed and according to Baseball America, he’s been clocked at 94 mph since. Albertos changes speeds, features a slider that has the chance to be a plus-pitch and has shown a feel for a changeup. Albertos profiles as a starting pitcher.
Miguel Amaya (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) is a skilled receiver at just 17 years old. Amaya has received excellent reviews for his defense. Amaya has soft hands, frames pitches and is a good blocker. Baseball America thinks his arm strength will improve. He is a vocal leader with a high baseball IQ. Amaya has a compact swing from the right-side that could develop into a 10-15 home run hitter.
Venezuelan catcher Henderson Perez signed for $1.25 million. Perez is 16 years old and was trained by Ciro Barrios, the same program in which the Cubs found Gleyber Torres and Willson Contreras. Perez is 5-foot-11, 160 pounds. The Cubs were impressed with his athleticism and strong arm. Perez plays with a lot of energy and offensive he is a line drive hitter that uses the entire field.
The Cubs signed Perez’s older brother Herson Perez for $250,000. Herson Perez is also a catcher and is 5-foot-11, 175 pounds. Herson plays second base, third base and the outfield. Herson has more advanced power than his brother.
According to Baseball America, the Cubs signed 17-year old Venezuelan shortstop Yonathan Perlaza for $1 million. Perlaza is 5-foot-10, 195 pounds and hits from both sides of the plate. Perlaza possesses excellent bat speed, left-handed and right-handed, produces line drives with high exit velocity on quality fastballs. Perlaza is unlikely to stay at shortstop and will likely move to second base. Perlaza could develop into an offensive-oriented second baseman. Baseball America compared him to Luis Valbuena and Odubel Herrera.
The Cubs paid 18-year old OF Kwang-Min Kwon $1 million, which was the highest bonus handed out to an Asian amateur last year. Kwon is 6-foot-2, 210 pounds. The lefty played center and right field in high school but projects as a right fielder. Kwon is athletic for a player his size and possesses an above-average arm. Kwon has the ability to hit to all fields despite mainly showing pull power in games. Kwon doesn’t bail out with his swing like many Korean hitters. According to Baseball America, Kwon has more of a conventional batting style to U.S. born hitters.
Christopher Morel, a 16-year old Dominican shortstop, signed for $800,000. Morel is 6-foot-1, 160 pounds with bat-to-ball skills and pop from the right-side of the plate. The Cubs think he can stick at shortstop.
SS Isaac Paredes signed for $800,000 according to Baseball America. The 17-year old shortstop is 5-foot-11, 175 pounds and was with the Mexico City Red Devils. Parades has upside offensively and has shown the ability to drive the ball to all fields. Defensively, he’s shown enough at short to make the Cubs think he could stick long-term.
RHP Yunior Perez moved from shortstop to the mound a year before the Cubs signed him. The 17-year old Dominican is 6-foot-4, 190 pounds. According to Baseball America, Perez could develop into a power arm. He’s already touched 93 mph with his fastball that has shown good movement. Due to his frame, he could add a couple of ticks on his fastball and sit in the mid-90s to go along with a breaking ball.
LHP Brailyn Marquez signed for $600,000 according to Baseball America. The 17-year old received the largest bonus of any left-hander last year. Marquez is from the Dominican Republic and is 6-foot-4, 185 pounds. The southpaw is already touching 92 mph and should add more velocity as he matures.
The Cubs like the athleticism of 17-year old Venezuelan outfielder Jose Gutierrez, who signed for $550,000 according to Baseball America. Gutierrez hits from both sides, better from the left, and has the arm and speed to play center field. Cubs are higher on Gutierrez than other teams, who consider him a raw project at his point.
SS Luis Diaz signed for $300,000. Diaz is 16 years old, 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds. Diaz is from the same program as Yunior Perez and is currently a shortstop. Diaz has plus speed and has shown pop in his bat but he projects better as a second baseman.
The Cubs landed another Dominican shortstop from the same program as Yunior Perez and Luis Diaz, 17-year old Orian Nunez (5-foot-10, 160 pounds). The Cubs signed him for $100,000 according to Baseball America. Nunez has also spent time at second and third base. Nunez hits from the right side with gap power.
Abraham Rodriguez is a corner outfielder and first baseman with power potential. The Cubs signed the 17-year old for $100,000. The left-handed hitter was a teammate of Miguel Amaya on Panama’s 15U World Cup team in 2014.
Seventeen-year old lefty Faustino Carrera is from Tijuana and signed for $250,000 according to Baseball America. Carrera is 5-foot-10, 165 pounds, has shown a feel for a curveball and could see his fastball velocity increase from 89 mph once he fills out his frame.
RHP Javier Assad signed for $150,000 according to Baseball America. Assad is 18 years old, 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds. Assad throws a slider, changeup and a heavy fastball in the low-90s that according to Baseball America has touched 94 mph on the gun.
The Cubs inked catcher Kevin Zamudio (6-foot, 200 pounds) for $150,000. Zamudio was a third baseman and has good arm strength. He is still learning how to catch after changing positions just before he signed. At this point, Zamudio projects to be an offense-first catcher.