Another top international prospect is in the fold.
Just moments after we learned that Dominican pitcher Jefferson Mejia had signed with the Chicago Cubs for $850,000, Jesse Sanchez reports that the Cubs will get the Venezuelan shortstop they’ve been attached to for quite some time.
That shortstop is 16-year-old Gleyber Torres, and he reportedly gets $1.7 million, which will prove to be one of the larger bonuses this year in all of baseball. That’s what you’d expect, given that Torres is the second best international prospect to Baseball America, and the third best prospect to MLB.com. In part, MLB.com’s evaluation reads:
Gleyber does everything well. He has a smooth compact swing and the ball jumps off his bat. Scouts like that he can spray the ball all over the field with power and believe he has a chance to be a special hitter.
A solid defender, Torres has excellent hands, great feet and he’s known to have an accurate arm with above-average strength. He’s impressed scouts with his ability to make all of the routine plays and an occasional great play. He is particularly adept on his glove-hand side and continues to show improvement on all-around defense.
Torres is described by most as fundamentally sound, which isn’t always common among prospects out of Venezuela or the Dominican Republic. It’ll be a long time before we see him in action, but the Cubs are clearly taking some big, big swings this time around in the international market. No sense in sitting on the available money, eh?
With Mejia and Torres signed, the Cubs have used $2.55 million of their available $4,557,200 bonus pool. Top prospect Eloy Jimenez is expected to command something around $2.5 to $2.7 million, so, unless the Cubs plan to go over their pool limit and pay the penalties (which includes losing the ability to sign big-timers next year, if you go too far over), they’ll have to trade for additional pool space. For that reason – and because of rumors going around about the timing – I wouldn’t expect to hear about Jimenez signing today.