Last time we checked in on the Chicago Cubs’ expected signings for the upcoming international prospect close (opens July 2), they were tied to just one top 25 prospect over at Baseball America, and I went to great lengths to discuss why that isn’t necessarily a reason to freak about the class. That all still applies, and you can check out that prospect – the top youngster out of Panama, Adan Sanchez.
HOWEVER, I’m happy to note that Baseball America has now bumped its list up to 35 names, and boom, there are two more prospects tied to the Cubs included. Again, not that the sheer number included in this particular ranking is the be-all-end-all (for good or bad), but landing three of the top 35 prospects in a given class, if that’s what happens? Heck yeah. Nice. (Be advised, though, as I mentioned last time: for now, the rankings are only by expected bonus, which is definitely telling, but not necessarily as good as a true scouting ranking (which has been very difficult this year because of the pandemic.)
Head over to BA to see their full, updated top 35, where you’ll see the two new Cubs-connected names at 28 and 34.
The 28th ranked prospect should look and sound a little familiar, because it’s Alexis Hernandez, the younger brother of last period’s top IFA signing, Cristian Hernandez. Now, the younger Hernandez is not considered the tip-top international prospect his brother was, but he’s still a seven-figure bonus type, and is clearly regarded as a quality prospect in his own right: “[Alexis] has developed into a physical shortstop for his age with plus speed and the ability to generate easy power. Some scouts think he might move to the outfield, while others think his athleticism and hands will keep him in the infield. Either way, he has a chance to have power and speed somewhere up the middle depending on his physical development.”
The Cubs signed a couple other brothers to decent-sized bonuses in recent years: Christopher and Rafael Morel, both legit prospects in the system (with Christopher already reaching the 40-man roster). How about two sets of brothers who become legit prospects? That’d be fun, even if it basically never happens.
As for number 34, it’s another shortstop from the Dominican Republic, Jefferson Rojas: “He has a lean, athletic build with solid bat-to-ball skills and game performance, with a line-drive, all-fields approach when he was younger and gap power that has started to tick up to occasional pull home run power as he’s gotten stronger. He’s a solid-average runner with the hands, footwork and instincts that give him a chance to stick at shortstop.”
Like Hernandez and Sanchez, Rojas is expected to be a seven-figure signing. Unless the Cubs trade for additional pool space, you can expect that the trio will be the Cubs’ primary three signings in this upcoming class.