You may recall that the Chicago Cubs were, at one time, tied to Cuban pitching prospect Adrian Morejon. Morejon, 16, is another example of an extremely young, extremely talented Cuban prospect (not unlike Lazarito), only he’ll see less hype because younger pitching prospects tend to be trickier to project than positional prospects.
Baseball America has a solid write-up on the Cuban free agent, including scouting reports and video highlights, here.
In 2014, Morejon made quite the impression during Cuba’s 15U league. Throughout 68 innings, he finished with 15.0 K/9 and a scant 1.93 ERA. According to Ben Badler (Baseball America), Morejon later impressed at the 15U World Cup in Mexico. Going for the gold medal against the United States, he threw a complete game, collecting 12 strikeouts and one walk, in Cuba’s 6-3 victory. He eventually became the tournament MVP.
Morejon is already capable of hitting the lower 90s with his fastball and is apparently doing so with more consistency. And after seeing him train in the Dominican Republic, obtaining a better feel for his secondary stuff, the scouting consensus is that teams should and will be very interested in the young southpaw.
Well, sources told Badler that, at one point, the Cubs were a favorite to land the young pitcher, but that may not be the case anymore. Every day that passes, we get closer to the July 2 deadline, and a new signing period. At that point, a new crop of MLB teams will be eligible and likely willing to sign Morejon, for whatever he’s worth. And while the Dodgers and Cubs are still eligible (and usually all over these guys) now, it sounds like there will be no shortage of interested parties in six months, either. There just isn’t the same rush with a 16-year-old as there might be with a slightly older prospect.
We’ll continue to keep an eye on his free agency, as it is still plenty likely to involve the Cubs in one way or another. But remember, every day that passes makes a deal much less likely. It’s not entirely in the Cubs’ hands, though, as Morejon has not yet been granted free agency.
Given the uncertainty in the future of IFA, I’d like to see the Cubs add as much additional talent now – when the only added penalty is a tax – as they can.