Chicago Cubs Connected to Two of the Top 20 International Free Agent Prospect Bonuses

Recently, Baseball America talked up some of the high shortstop prospects in the coming International Free Agent class (January), and the Cubs have been linked to one in the Dominican Republic. But that is truly not the solely high prospect to whom the Cubs are linked.

This week, Baseball America unveiled its high 20 IFA prospect record, and there are TWO Cubs-connected prospects on the record. The record goes by the measurement of the projected signing bonus, which isn’t a PERFECT rating from a scouting perspective – these will seemingly come later – however it’s a reasonably good quick-and-dirty method to rank prospects on whom we in any other case have little or no info.

The first of two very-likely-to-sign-with-the-Cubs-in-January prospects:

11. Derniche Valdez
Dominican Republic, SS
Born: March 29, 2006. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 165. BT: RR.

Valdez has quick-twitch actions that present up in the batter’s field, the place he has quick arms to snap the barrel by way of the zone with good bat velocity. His swing comes by way of the zone properly with a great bat path, which alongside together with his bat velocity helps him sq. up high-end velocity. Scouts highest on Valdez thought he had a great eye and confirmed the capability to sq. up breaking stuff, though others thought he would wish to change into a extra selective hitter. He makes use of the complete subject and has stunning influence for his lean, wiry body thanks to his bat velocity, driving balls out of the park in video games with extra energy projection remaining. A plus runner with a plus arm, Valdez additionally has the bouncy athleticism and instruments to find a way to deal with shortstop.

Valdez is the third-highest Dominican shortstop on the record, which could sound tremendous particular, however at this age, most of the high place prospects are presently enjoying shortstop, and a disproportionate quantity of the most heavily-scouted prospects come from the Dominican Republic . So being high three in that particular group is kind of strong.

And simply sneaking onto the record, one other shortstop prospect – and he is acquired a household connection:

20. Ludwig Espinoza
Venezuela, SS
Born: Dec. 10, 2005. Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 178. BT: BR.

The Cubs have a number of siblings of their system with the Hernandez brothers (Cristian and Alexis Hernandez), the Morels (Christopher and Rafael) and the (*20*) (Brayan and Carlos) They are set to add one other participant with household ties to the system in Ludwing Espinoza , whose older brother Leonel is a Venezuelan shortstop the Cubs signed after the 2020 season who spent 2021 in the Dominican Summer League. Ludwing does a bit of the whole lot properly with good all-around instincts for the recreation. He has a sound swing, a mature method and good bat-to-ball expertise from each side of the plate with hole energy, exhibiting somewhat extra juice from the left aspect. A plus runner, Espinoza has an opportunity to stick at shortstop, though he might find yourself at second base. He has good arms, at the least a median arm and is a savvy, basically sound participant who reads hops properly and exhibits a knack for being in the proper place at the proper time.

Given the nature of the IFA bonus pool – it is a exhausting cap, and large-market golf equipment like the Cubs have the smallest swimming pools – I’m shocked the Cubs are ready to finagle two of the high 20 signing bonuses in the class. It suggests a disproportionate chunk of their pool cash will likely be going to simply these two gamers.

We’ll get extra data on the coming IFA class as we get nearer to the calendar flip. These gamers can’t formally signal till January 15, even when the “agreements” are in place lengthy earlier than that. Note that, whereas no worldwide draft was put in this 12 months, the complete wink-wink system would possibly nonetheless change quickly if a lawsuit in the Dominican Republic is profitable.

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