Chicago Cubs GM Jed Hoyer is unsurprisingly pleased to have 20-year-old Cuban lefty Gerardo Concepcion officially in the fold. Depending on your ranking service preference, Concepcion ranges from a top 20 prospect in the Cubs’ system, up to a top 10 guy. Getting to add a kid of that caliber in the Spring without having to trade anything away is a rare and impactful opportunity.

The Cubs rightly jumped on it.

“One of our focuses has been on continuing to bring in pitching depth. He’s a 20-year-old left-hander, a really good feel for pitching, a three-pitch mix,” Hoyer said of Concepcion. “He’s had success at a young age in Cuba and a guy we’re excited to bring over here and work with.”

“He’s the kind of guy we want to keep adding to our system,” he added.

Hoyer wasn’t ready to commit to where Concepcion would play in 2012, noting that there’s an adjustment process for Cuban players coming to the States.

“He had success early on there [in Cuba], and he’s advanced when it comes to a feel for pitching,” Hoyer said. “I don’t want to put any expectations on him. Let’s get him to the Minor Leagues, let him perform, and we’ll figure that part out. With any Cuban guy, there is an assimilation process, both socially and baseball-wise. We don’t want to put undue expectations on a guy who does need to assimilate to our culture.”

There’s no reason to rush Concepcion, whom the Cubs will control for six years of Major League service time (don’t let the “five-year Major League contract” fool you – that’s just about getting him more money and a 40-man roster spot (Jeff Samardzija also received a five-year Major League contract)). While he’s highly polished, the Cubs can still afford to let him get acclimated in the low minors for a year before testing him at the higher levels in 2013, when he’ll still be just 21.

Hoyer is also probably happy that the contract is relatively favorable to the Cubs – originally reported as $7 million, the Cubs will pay just a $3 million signing bonus, and then $3 million spread over five years. Given the impending limitations on international signings imposed by the new CBA, it’s simply a great move for the Cubs.

  • RWakild

    Everything I have read about this guy says he is a major league pitcher. With the limitations coming up and the extra money in the bank, this move is an excellent one. Now if the rumors are correct about Soler, the new management team already won executive of the year in my book.

  • Eric

    I can’t wait to hear Hoyer talk about how excited he is about Jorge Soler /fingers crossed. If that could happen just think about how our system has improved. The Cubs is starting to feel more and more like the Padres (with more money), and that’s a very very good thing.

  • Jeremy

    This is a much better contract then the one that was originally reported. I love this signing and can’t wait to see this kid pitch this year.

  • EQ76

    good move, now come on Soler!

  • Joe

    This brings up a question I have had for a while. What’s a “good” age for a Major League player? On average? Seems like 21 is too young most of the time… I get the feeling that 23 is young but the best time for those with a lot of talent… but once you get past 27, 28, you’re starting to look on the old side already. If you’re 29, performing well, and we already have you under contract, all’s fine and good, but if you’re looking for a multi-year contract — particularly from Theo/Jed — good luck. I imagine it differs by position… although the only one I kind of know is that catchers age rapidly.

    • Luke

      Edit: For some reason I read the above comment as asking about a good age for prospects, not players.  I’ll leave the reply here, but it really does not address the above question in the slightest.

      This is one of those areas in which there is broad agreement, but the details are endlessly debated.

      In general, it depends on the level.  The broad ranges usually look like this.

      Short – Season (Boise) and Rookie (Arizona): 17-19

      Low A (Peoria): 18-20

      High A (Daytona): 20-22

      Double A (Tennessee): 22-24

      Triple A (Iowa): 24-26.

      Several analysts (including me) prefer to see players on the lower end of those ranges.  That said, no player can be considered and evaluated on an age/level basis in a vacuum.  Context must be taken into account.


  • Karen P

    There doesn’t seem to be any room for fault here. I appreciate how the Cubs didn’t low-ball Concepcion but also didn’t throw more money at him than he deserved, a’la Hendry. What a breath of fresh air all around.

  • brittney

    This was a great move! He’s getting a decent chunk of change and the cubs didn’t have to open their pocket too much. Now if we can get soler I think our new FO should be pretty pleased with the job they’ve done in such a short time. They are really building for the future and its not too terrible to think these moves will have an impact soon. Not this year (unless it persudes other player to join the cubs -prospects/FA-)

    I wonder how long until he reaches the bigs?!

  • TeddyBallGame

    When you get to AA and AAA is can be a little deceiving. A good amount of players at AAA are veterans who bounce back-and-forth (bobby scales, augie ojeda types) and players who’ve had some major league experience. In my opinion, I think the best players are at AA every year because those are the kids who have the highest ceiling matched with the youth…

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