The Chicago Cubs have reportedly landed two of the most impressive international free agent prospects out of Venezuela this year in 16-year-olds Mark Malave and Ricardo Marcano. Terms of the deals haven’t yet been disclosed, but each was expected to fetch a pretty penny. Baseball America had Malave pegged as the 8th best (ranked by expected signing bonus) prospect in this year’s Latin American class, and Marcano as number 30.
More from BA:
Malave, 16, is a 6-foot-1, 200-pound switch-hitting catcher with a strong arm and was expected to be among the top-paid catchers in Latin America this year. Marcano, 16, is 6-foot-2, 180 pounds and stands out for his lefthanded swing, though he may end up in the outfield.
The signings, together with the $1.1 million signing of Dominican shortstop Enrique Acosta and the Cubs’ draft full of hard-to-sign types, go some way to confirming Tom Ricketts’ stated desire to spend more money on amateur signings than the Cubs have in the recent past.
Of the Cubs’ amateur efforts, Dave Kaplan offered some bits he’s hearing:
The Cubs are starting to receive rave reviews from other organizations because of their commitment to spending on amateur signings which is far more more than had been committed under the previous ownership group. In fact, one baseball source says that the Cubs could end up spending more than double what the organization has ever laid out in the amateur ranks….
“The Ricketts family is sure putting their money where their mouth is. They said that they want to build a tremendous farm system and this is the right way to go about doing it. There are a lot of very envious organizations that wish they had the level of commitment that the Cubs do,” a former GM who is now a major league scout told me.
This is, of course, a good start, but I’ll wait until the Cubs start signing some draft picks before I get too excited.