Baseball America has a bit more information on the two newest members of the Chicago Cubs’ farm system (pending visa issues), Ruby Silva and Yaniel Cabeza.
Silva, a 21-year-old lefthanded hitter, signed for a $1 million bonus. At around 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, Silva is a good athlete who has played both center and right field with above-average speed and a strong arm. An aggressive hitter, Silva has a line-drive swing and gap power. Silva played for La Habana in Cuba’s Serie Nacional in 2008-09 and hit .276/.305/.428 in 283 at-bats with 10 triples, four home runs, 12 walks and 44 strikeouts.
Some scouts believe Silva has enough versatility to possibly even move to the infield, an option that wasn’t available to him on the Cuban junior national team, which featured Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias and Blue Jays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria up the middle.
Cabeza, also 21, signed for $500,000. Cabeza stands out for his work behind the plate, earning praise from international scouts for his receiving, throwing and game-calling. His defense is ahead of his bat, but one Latin American director said Cabeza has solid bat control and is a good situational hitter. A teammate of Silva’s for La Habana in 2008-09, Cabeza hit .195 with four walks and 14 strikeouts in 82 at-bats in 2008-09. Baseball America.
Each appears to have been signed based largely on raw, athletic ability (a hallmark of the Tim Wilken era), rather than polished, position-specific skills. And the stats, limited in scope, are nothing to write home about. Cabeza is obviously more locked into his position than Silva, but both will be given plenty of time to figure things out in the minors – they’ll probably start out at A ball Peoria, and may even play a whole season there.
As I noted in the comments, the Cubs’ first round pick in 2010, Hayden Simpson, received a signing bonus just over $1 million, and the late first round picks were generally in that same range. That suggests that Silva is approximately a late first round, early second round type talent (and Cabeza a second or third round talent) – so again I say, these signings are great news.
Silva’s $1.2 million bonus matches that of Korean high school pitcher Jin-Yeong Kim, whom the Cubs signed early in 2010 (but who has yet to make his stateside debut).