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dominican flagAnd the Chicago Cubs have opened up their 2013-14 international signing period with a big name, if not one of the biggest.

It’s 18-year-old right-handed pitcher Jefferson Mejia from the Dominican Republic. According to Baseball America, Mejia is getting an $850,000 signing bonus, which is quite large in the post-CBA world. It’s especially large for an international pitcher, who tend to be slightly riskier investments than positional players (who are, themselves, exceedingly risky because – let’s be honest – we’re talking about teenagers who haven’t played much, if any, competitive ball yet).

The Baseball America report is worth reading for a take on Mejia, who has had some issues with his age, and was declared ineligible to sign last year. His current birthdate has him turning 19 in early August, and because of his unique situation, he’s eligible to start pitching immediately (unlike most teenage signees who are signing contracts for the 2014 season). At 6’7″ and 220 pounds, Mejia is already an extremely big young man, with a fastball in the lower 90s and decent secondary offerings.

Because of his previous eligibility to sign/ineligibility to sign, Baseball America did not consider Mejia for its international prospect rankings. He did not rank on MLB.com’s top 30 list, either. That said, an $850,000 bonus for a pitcher these days indicates that the Cubs really, really like him.

Despite his age, I suspect we’ll still see him pitch in the Dominican Summer League this year, with an eye toward possibly bringing him to the States early next year.

  • North Side Irish

    Jesse Sanchez ‏@JesseSanchezMLB 52s
    SS Gleyber Torres (VZ), #3 on http://MLB.com top int’l list, has agreed to a $1.7 million deal with #Cubs. http://atmlb.com/10DO8al

    Good get…some had him ranked #1….

    • LWeb23

      Not a bad deal money-wise looking at some of the other signings so far today. Beautiful.

    • X the Cubs fan

      Hell yeah!

    • SenorGato

      This one I like. There’s some Castro in Torres’ scoutingreport. As 16 year old IFAs go, I remember the name.

  • LWeb23

    Kid is quite the specimen, and starting to fill out his frame. I’m excited about this one. Probably overexcited for my own good, but oh well.

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  • Mark

    So does this Mejia signing count against the pool money then or is he separate from that?

    • nkniacc13

      no it counts agains it

  • Cubs82

    Cubs Sign Gleyber Torres The Cubs made a big international signing today, inking 16-year-old Venezuelan shortstop Gleyber Torres to a $1.7MM deal according to MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez.

    • nkniacc13

      well that means out of 4.5 million cubs have signed 2.55 million of it

      • LWeb23

        Here’s to hoping Marmol and/or Clevenger will bring us more money.

      • DavidC

        Can they go a certain percentage over that without penalty like they can with the draft pool?

  • DavidC

    Is 1.7 more or less than it was expected to sign Torres? And how much is it expected to take Jiminez to sign?

    • SenorGato

      Runor was 2 million IIRC, so less.

    • nkniacc13

      that was about what it was expected. Jiminez was 2-2.5 million

    • Kyle

      BA said $1.7m for Torres a few days ago. Give or take some rounding, the reports are pretty much always dead-on leading up to the signing day. All these deals have been pre-arranged for awhile now.

      Jiminez is reportedly going to get $2.8m (from the same report).

      • SenorGato

        I went with May information for my cheaper comment, didn’t know bonuses were updated.

  • The Dude Abides

    They sure do grow some big 18 yr. olds down there…

    • DavidC

      There are a lot of huge 18 year olds here too….

      • Scotti

        Exactly. No one ever questions a kids age when he’s a 6’8″ Sophomore on the varsity basketball squad…

  • Chris Lattier

    how do these international teenagers compare to our own high schoolers here in the states? I guess the competition is different…is it better or worse? Where would a guy like Eloy Jimenez or Gleyber Torres rank if they were compared at the same age to the Fraziers, Meadows, Almora’s of the world?

    • DavidC

      I’m not an expert on this by any means, but I figure it would be hard to compare them to guys like Frazier, Meadows, and Almora because they are basically high school sophmores. So it’s even more projection and less certainty than drafting high school players.

      • Kyle

        Think of them as prospective prospects. Prospects to try to become prospects.

        • SenorGato

          Not a bad way to put them.

        • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

          Yeah…prospect watching is fun, but this is like watching sophomores in high school. They’ll be worth paying attention to in a few years (maybe).

      • Chris Lattier

        That’s why I asked the –

        “if they were compared at the same age”

        part. So like comparing them to those high school studs @ age 16, 17.

        • Kyle

          Even then, I’d say a noticeable amount behind. American players are going to be a lot more polished at the same age, so it’s easier to project them going forward.

          These kids are much more variable than that. You get them into the academies and then into the DSL, and who really knows how they’ll perform.

          In 2011, our big signing was Mark Malave to a $1.6m bonus. Two years later, he’s struggling to put up a .600 OPS in the DSL as an 18-year-old.

          • Chris Lattier

            Thanks for the response! That’s what I figured too…

    • Kyle

      Way behind. These guys are younger (usually) than Frazier, Meadows or Almora, and a lot less polished.

      In two years, the ones who have done the best since being signed will begin to compare to the top HS draftees.

      • nkniacc13

        yeah in about 2 years is when you may start to see the extream talented ones start making the trip over to AZ. Jefferson could be different as he’s already 18 so he maybe over after next year if allowed to play this year

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