The Chicago Cubs just keep on signing later-arriving international free agent prospects and I love it.
Today’s installment has them landing a hard-throwing Cuban prospect who is already showing premium velocity:
The Cubs have signed Cuban RHP Yoendris González. Up to 97 mph at 19.
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) May 2, 2022
How does a teenage prospect who can already throw 97 mph stay on the market until now and sign for a non-seven-figure bonus? Well, aside from any reasons particular to him, there are two factors you have to keep in mind: (1) pitchers are almost always later arriving on the IFA market than position players (the best of whom have wink-wink deals in place years before their class opens up), and (2) many Cuban prospects are harder to scout on the regular, so they are sometimes also later arriving.
In Yoendris González’s case, it’s both. Outside of Ben Badler’s mention there in the tweet, we don’t know much about González. He’s relatively young and he throws hard. OK, cool, bring him in.
Like many of the other IFAs, it’s most likely that González’s time in the Cubs system will start in the Dominican Summer League later this year, and that’s when you start to get a sense of what he might be doing in game action. If all goes well, given his age, he could be brought over for instructs in Arizona in the fall.
UPDATE: More context on the González signing, as he is getting a pretty darn significant bonus for a late signing, and especially a pitcher:
RHP Yoendris González (19) pic.twitter.com/j8rxxnCuXh
— Francys Romero (@francysromeroFR) May 3, 2022
As we’ve discussed before – particularly with top Bulgarian prospect Yoanis Aleksandrov – most teams have used up their international bonus pools by now (the period opens on January 15), and only very small dollar signings take place (because $10,000 and under do not count against the pool). But now we’ve got multiple signings totaling way over six figures, and I am still curious how the Cubs had that much left in their bonus pool at this point. Either a pre-arranged deal fell through at the physical stage back in January/February (certainly possible), or the Cubs had been on guys like Aleksandrov and González for a while, and knew they needed to hold back some money to have a chance to sign them (since they might’ve always been later signing guys).
In any case, although I don’t want to create an exact financial translation, a $64,000 bonus for a pitching prospect signing this late is like a bonus four or five times larger for a traditional IFA in terms of what it tells you about the desirability of the prospect on the market (and what it tells you about how broken the IFA system is). It sucks for González and Aleksandrov (who reportedly got $80,000) that they couldn’t get those huge agreed-in-advance-under-the-table deals years ago, but that’s what this system looks like right now. Very glad the Cubs have gotten them into the system, and I can’t wait to see how they get rolling in their opening assignments later this summer.