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Cubs sign top prospect as international signing period begins

1 month agoAndy Martinez

The Cubs injected their farm system with some fresh, young talent Monday.

The team came to terms with top shortstop prospect Fernando Cruz, per MLB Pipeline. The international signing period opened Monday and Cruz, 17, was the headliner of the Cubs’ 2024 class. Cruz is the younger cousin of former Cub Starlin Castro.

Cubs and Cruz came to terms on a $4 million signing bonus, per MLB Pipeline, a significant investment, as the Cubs had just $5.152 million in base singing pool. They forfeited $500,000 for signing Dansby Swanson, who had rejected a qualifying offer from the Braves last offseason.

The 6-foot Cruz is known “as a hitter capable of spraying the ball to all fields due to his tremendously strong hands and forearms,” per MLB Pipeline’s scouting report. He has a 55-grade power tool and 50-grade hit tool, per Pipeline, on the 20-80 scout scale.

His defensive skills (50-grade arm tool, 55-grade fielding tool) also rate positive, and he has “the look and tools to hold down the shortstop position long-term,” per MLB Pipeline.

Cruz will likely report to the Cubs complex in the Dominican Republic and could feature in Dominican Summer League action this year.

The Cubs have given out some big signing bonuses to prospects through the international signing period, inking Derniche Valdez ($2.8 million) from Venezuela last year and Cristian Hernández ($3 million) in 2021. Valdez posted an .807 OPS with 6 home runs and 20 RBI in the Dominican Summer League last year, while starting at shortstop. Hernandez, 20, is the Cubs 20th-ranked prospect, per MLB Pipeline, and had a .603 OPS with 4 home runs and 40 RBI at Low-A Myrtle Beach in 2023.

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