Today, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, was International Signing Day, an event that usually takes place in June. Both local teams were very active, and each team snagged one of the jewels of the current crop of players.
The White Sox made the signing of outfielder Yoelqui Céspedes official. At age 23, he’s older (and therefore closer to MLB ready) than most of the players signed today. He’s regarded as a 5-tool player (#1 on MLB Pipeline’s International prospects list), and has been a center fielder up until now. But Luis Robert looks to have that spot on lockdown for several years. Since Céspedes isn’t considered to be MLB ready (and will probably spend 2021 in AA ball), it’s not an issue for now. It’s early, but it looks like Adam Eaton will keep the right field spot warm until Céspedes is ready.
The Sox also signed Norge Vera, #15 on MLB Pipeline’s International prospects list. Vera can bring it, being clocked at 97 MPH. At age 20, he’ll probably start off closer to MLB than most International signings. But he’s another live young arm that will show up in a few years in hopes of extending the Sox contention window.
The Sox were originally planning on signing Cuban pitcher/outfielder Oscar Colas before Céspedes became available. Colas was bumped out of the #1 spot by Céspedes, and has not signed with any team yet. Of course, with some of the rules around signing International players being a little loosey-goosey, the Sox could have easily given him a few fishnagels to keep him happy until the next signing day.
Here are the rest of the Sox’ signings:
- Victor Quezada, 3B, Dominican Republic
- Manuel Guariman, C, Venezuela
- Dario Barrero, OF, Venezuela
- Adrian Gil, RHP, Venezuela
- Gabriel Rodriguez, OF, Venezuela
- Antonio Jimenez, OF, Dominican Republic
The Cubs also got their big prize, 16 year old Dominican shortstop Christian Hernandez (#6 on the MLB Pipeline list). He’s yet another shortstop added to the Cubs’ very deep pool of 2020-21 draftee/signee shortstops. In fact, prior to Hernandez entering the rankings, the Cubs’ top 30 prospect list has 5 shortstops. While he might not slot in over Ed Howard in the Cubs’ prospect rankings, he should push (at least for now) Reginald Preciado out of the top 10. He’s been compared ad nauseum to Alex Rodriguez, hopefully without the steroid-induced breasticles.
The rest of the Cubs’ signings are:
- Moises Ballesteros, C, Venezuela
- Daniel Ferreira, OF, Dominican Republic
- Carlos Cabrera, LHP, Venezuela
- Offerman Hernandez, OF, Dominican Republic
- Raino Coran, OF, Curacao
- Carlos Ramos, C, Venezuela
So a deep crop for each team. Now all we have to do is wait 5 years to see if any of them will pan out.