Chicago Cubs Reportedly Connected to a Top International Shortstop Prospect

Although you may recall discussions of international draft into this summer, no such agreement was made, so the previous rules for International Free Agency (IFA) remain in place. For the Cubs, that means a bonus pool a little over $5 million which they can increase in increments of $250,000 via trade. They can also lose bonus pool space for signing qualified free agents, such as Trea Turner or Carlos Rodon.

And while the 2023 international free agent signing period doesn’t open until January 15, 2023, we’ll often hear of commitments ahead of time, especially for the biggest bonus pool signings. Like today, for example.

According to Ben Badler at Baseball America, the Chicago Cubs are expected to sign shortstop Derniche Valdez with a huge chunk of their bonus pool space.

Derniche Valdez, SS, Dominican Republic
Team: Cubs

Valdez drew a lot of praise from scouts for his mix of athleticism and hitting ability at a premium position. He has good hand speed with a fast, whippy swing to barrel good fastballs and feel for the strike zone that has led to good game performance with gap power that’s trending up as he fills out his 6-foot-1, 165-pound frame. He moves around well at shortstop as well with the ability to stick at the position, with a bonus in the $2.5 to $3 million range.

I can’t say I know really anything about Valdez, but I am happy to see that he’s expected to stick at shortstop. As Badler points out, a LOT of these players are listed as shortstops without any real anticipation that they’ll remain at the position long-term. Also, his reported bonus is one of the highest among those that have, so far, been reported. That’s not always a perfect correlation with prospect ranking, but it’s at least one data point.

We’ll have more on him as scouting reports are released, especially as we get closer to the signing period. For now, here’s a video of him working out from last year.

written by

Michael Cerami began covering the Chicago Cubs for Bleacher Nation as a part-time contributor in 2015. One year later, he joined Bleacher Nation full-time, covering the Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball. Today, Michael runs Bleacher Nation, contributing as a writer (Cubs, MLB) and an editor for all sections of the site, including the Chicago Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks, as well as MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL. In 2019, Michael was the co-host of NBC Sports Chicago's Cubs Post-Game Show Outside the Ivy. You can find him on Twitter/X @Michael_Cerami

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