Today, July 2, is the first day that teams can sign international talent (i.e. players from countries not subject to the MLB Draft), and the Cubs, according to this report, have signed a top prospect:
Here's what MLB.com says about Torres:
The top player from Venezuela in this year's class, 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 isn't the biggest prospect on the field but he has an athletic build and is strong for his size. Scouts have taken notice of his baseball instincts and his leadership abilities, and he quickly built a reputation as a fundamentally sound player. Torres trains with Ciro Barrios in Maracay.
While it's obviously far too early to judge whether a player who won't turn 17 until November will do in the major leagues, Gleyber Torres was ranked No. 3 on the linked list of international prospects and this appears to be a fine use of the international spending budget that the Cubs had allotted this year. They made one other signing earlier Tuesday, righthanded pitcher Jefferson Mejia from the Dominican Republic:
Mejia, 18, would have been eligible to sign last year, but Major League Baseball had an issue with his paperwork and declared him ineligible to sign until April. However, with teams mostly out of space remaining from their $2.9 million bonus pools from the 2O12-13 signing period, it’s not surprising that Mejia waited until the beginning of the 2O13-14 signing period to officially sign his contract. Mejia is now using an Aug. 2, 1994 date of birth. Mejia was 6-foot-7, 19O pounds last year and was sitting in the high-8Os fastball at the time, but now he’s listed at 22O pounds (although that might be a light estimate) and his fastball has jumped along with the increase in weight. While he was ineligible to sign, Mejia pitched at the Rays’ Dominican academy in January in the International Prospect League all-star game, where he showed a 9O-93 mph fastball, a swing-and-miss changeup along with a solid curveball in the mid-7Os. His athleticism also improved along with his strength, which helped him get in better sync with his delivery.
Sounds like the Cubs have added two kids with high upside, though it could be 2018 before we see either one of them in Chicago. Your comments, as always, welcomed.