- Full name Cheslor Jesly Cuthbert
- Born 11/16/1992 in Corn Island, Nicaragua
- Profile Ht.: 6'1" / Wt.: 205 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 07/07/2015
Organization Prospect Rankings
When he was promoted to Kansas City, Cuthbert became the 14th Nicaraguanborn player to play in the big leagues and the first from Corn Island. Corn Island is actually a pair of islands located 50 miles off the coast of Nicaragua that are home to less than 10,000 inhabitants. Cuthbert's callup cost him a trip to the Futures Game. Instead, he hit a single in each half of a July 7 doubleheader in his big league debut. Cuthbert has been young everywhere he's played. He reached the big leagues as a 22-year-old. His tools are solid, but he impressed the Royals' big league staff with his steadiness. Although he hasn't shown more than fringe-average power, he fits the Royals' philosophy because he puts the ball in play consistently. Cuthbert battles, puts the ball in play and should end up as a .270-.280 hitter with solid on-base skills. He's an average defender at third base despite a thick lower half thanks to surprising agility and an accurate, average arm. Scouts have long thought he would outgrow third base, but his body doesn't look much different now than it did as a 19-year-old. Cuthbert isn't going to push Mike Moustakas aside at third base, but he has shown enough that Kansas City is comfortable with him serving as a ready backup in Triple-A in case of a Moustakas injury.
After making rapid progress early in his career, Cuthbert has settled into a bit of a holding pattern. Cuthbert showed improvement in his return to Double-A Northwest Arkansas in 2014, and he earned a 25-game trial at Triple-A Omaha. He always has demonstrated an ability to draw walks, but despite a relatively simple, compact swing, his hit tool hasn't matched expectations. He needs to be at least an average hitter, for his tick below-average power hasn't turned into an asset. Cuthbert slid over to first base when Hunter Dozier joined the Double-A club, and he's played second base sporadically as well. At third base, Cuthbert is sure-handed, but his range is limited. He's a well below-average runner whose thick lower half hints that he'll continue to slow down. He has the hands and arm to be a range-limited second baseman, but he doesn't profile at first base. Cuthbert now looks like a bench bat.
Halfway through the 2011 season, Cuthbert was outhitting the more highly touted members of a stacked 2009 international signing class that included Gary Sanchez and Miguel Sano. At the time, he was hitting .289/.350/.467 as an 18-year-old at low Class A Kane County. Scouts have been waiting to see Cuthbert recreate that production ever since. As one scout explained, "Two years ago, I expected to see him in the big leagues by now." Cuthbert had a solid first half while repeating high Class A Wilmington in 2013, but he was exposed after a promotion to Double-A Northwest Arkansas, with a lack of selectivity leaving him prone to chasing breaking balls out of the zone and negating his above-average raw power. He has a relatively simple swing but often tries to do too much instead of letting his above-average power come naturally. Scouts are not enamored of Cuthbert's body, as he has a thick lower half that makes him a baseclogger. Despite his lack of speed, he has good first-step quickness and an above-average arm that has allowed him to stick at third base. He will play the entire 2014 season as a 21-year-old, so he's still young enough to fix his selectivity issues, and the club added him to their 40-man roster in the offseason. Now he needs to pick up the production in a return to Double-A.
The pride of Big Corn Island, a four-square-mile island 40 miles off the coast of Nicaragua, Cuthbert has played in front of minor league crowds larger than the 6,000 people who inhabit his homeland. After a great start in 2011, his production has fallen through the floor. He posted an OPS of .800 or better in his first three months as an 18-year-old in low Class A, but he hasn't topped .710 since. Once a patient hitter, Cuthbert now chases too many pitches out of the zone. His plus power potential stopped showing up in games, as he couldn't get into counts to consistently get pitches to drive. While he has good hand-eye coordination, his bat control needs improvement as he sometimes overswings. At third base, Cuthbert continues to make all the routine plays and occasionally a Web Gem despite below-average speed and quickness. His arm is above-average and the strongest among the system's infielders. Cuthbert does not appear to have any significant mechanical problem with his swing, so the Royals are optimistic that his recent struggles are more a case of being young for his levels. They haven't ruled out promoting him to Double-A to start 2013.
Miguel Sano (Twins) and Gary Sanchez (Yankees) were the big names in the international signing class in 2009, but Cuthbert has been right on their heals since signing for $1.35 million out of Big Corn Island off the coast of Nicaragua. His polish made the Royals comfortable sending him to Kane County last May at age 18, making him the Midwest League's youngest position player. He had a .866 OPS entering August but wore out in the final month. Cuthbert is an advanced hitter for his age. He works deep counts, recognizes breaking balls and uses the entire field. Thanks to his approach, strength and simple swing, he could become a plus hitter with plus power. The Royals also think Cuthbert can become an above-average defender at third base with good hands, solid footwork and an above-average arm. MWL observers wondered if he'd be able to stay at third base since he's a well-below average runner with fringy range and a thick lower half. He'll have to maintain his conditioning and agility to avoid a move across the diamond. With above-average offensive potential and a chance to stick at third base, Cuthbert could emerge as one of the game's better prospects with a solid 2012 season in high Class A. He's on course to reach Kansas City at age 22.
Cuthbert's father Luis, an amateur catcher, always dreamed of having a son to whom he could teach the game. He and his wife had three daughters first, but the birth of Cheslor in 1992 finally granted his wish. Living on tiny Big Corn Island with a population of 7,000, Luis Cuthbert built a field and formed a youth baseball league to ensure his son would be able to play. It paid off as Cuthbert quickly became one of the best young players in Nicaragua and earned him a national-record $1.35 million bonus in 2009. With the exception of his speed, he has solid tools across the board and stands out most with his bat. Cuthbert has an advanced approach for his age, using the whole field and drives balls to both gaps. He projects to have plus home run power as he matures. Though he's a below-average runner, he moves well enough to become a slightly above-average defender with an average arm at third base. Cuthbert will be 18 this season, so he could see more action in Rookie ball. The Royals also like his makeup--the use of English in the Corn Islands has speeded his transition to life in the United States--so they could challenge him with an assignment to low Class A at some point in 2011.
The Royals have shown a willingness to spend money in the draft in recent years, and they widened the net to place more emphasis on Latin America as well in 2009. That focus paid off with Cuthbert, a resident of the Corn Islands off the Nicaraguan coast. Scout Orlando Esteves had been following him for a couple of years and developed such a strong relationship with Cuthbert that several other teams backed off their pursuit, figuring it was fruitless. The difficult travel to the islands probably helped that decision. Cuthbert signed for $1.35 million, a bonus record for a Nicaraguan. The Corn Islands have a population of just 7,000, so he understandably has not faced much top-level competition. Scouts still consider him an advanced hitter for his age. He has a relatively mature body that gives him solid present power as well as good bat speed. Defensively, the biggest question is whether he'll have quick enough feet to stay at third base. He projects as a below-average runner as he matures, but he has a solid-average arm and good hands. The Corn Islands used to be under U.S. control, so its residents speak English, giving Cuthbert one less obstacle to overcome. He's years from Kansas City, but his upside ranks with just about any hitter's in the system. He'll likely debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2010.
Minor League Top Prospects
After some red flags went up last year, Cuthbert got back on track this summer with a strong showing at high Class A Wilmington, after which he showed some flashes in TL. He made his Double-A debut in mid-June, and his manager remarked during the all-star break that Cuthbert was hitting the ball on the screws?he just had nothing to show for it. The same could be same of his first tour in the TL. It belied his potential. Cuthbert showed great pop off the bat and at times hit to all fields. But early on, he was the classic case of a young hitter chasing too many breaking balls. Eventually he recognized that he wouldn?t get a fastball in fastball counts. If Cuthbert can improve his selectivity he could hit .260 with 20-plus homers, but he?s got a lot of work to do. His baserunning was average, and defensively had a plus arm across the diamond. ?It?s a big step from Wilmington,? Poldberg said. ?And he didn?t grow up playing a lot of baseball. So he?s come a long way.?
The youngest regular in the league, Cuthbert struggled for most of the season but rallied to hit .308/.345/.364 in the final month. He has a strong swing and when he's at his best, he drives the ball to all fields with plus power. However, he struggles to pick up curveballs and chases pitches out of the strike zone. With soft hands and a strong arm, he can make both the routine and the difficult plays at third base. Some scouts wonder if the thick-legged Cuthbert might outgrow the position, but others project his future range as plus. He's a below-average runner but not a liability on the bases.
The MWL's youngest position player, Cuthbert arrived from extended spring training in late May and hit .328/.381/.485 through July before wearing down and fading dramatically in the final month. He has impressive strength and bat speed, especially considering his age. With his advanced approach and willingness to use the whole field, he could develop into a plus hitter for both average and power. Cuthbert has fringe-average range and a solid, accurate arm at third base. While he's not out of shape, he's already physically mature and has a thick lower half, so he'll have to work diligently to maintain enough agility to stay at the hot corner. He's a well-below average runner whose only alternative may be first base.
The son of a lobster fisherman and local baseball coach, Cuthbert hails from the Corn Islands, located 50 miles off the coast of Nicaragua. He signed for $1.35 million last summer, setting a bonus record for a Nicaraguan. Just 17, Cuthbert launched his career in the AZL before jumping to the more advanced Rookie-level Pioneer League after less than a month. He has an advanced bat for his age, with a good swing and power to all fields. He also has solid arm strength and the potential to be a plus defender at third base. Royals manager Darryl Kennedy lauded Cuthbert for his intelligence, character and work ethic. He already speaks English, helping him adapt to life in the United States.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Infield Arm in the Kansas City Royals in 2013
- Rated Best Infield Arm in the Kansas City Royals in 2012
Background: Miguel Sano (Twins) and Gary Sanchez (Yankees) were the big names of the 2009 international signing class, but Cuthbert has been right on their heals since signing for $1.35 million out of Big Corn Island off the coast of Nicaragua. His polish made the Royals comfortable sending him to Kane County last May at age 18, making him the Midwest League's youngest position player. He had a .866 OPS entering August but wore out in the final month. Scouting Report: Cuthbert is an advanced hitter for his age. He works deep counts, recognizes breaking balls and uses the entire field. Thanks to his approach, strength and simple swing, he could become a plus hitter with plus power. The Royals also think Cuthbert can become an above-average defender at third base with good hands, solid footwork and an above-average arm. MWL observers wondered if he'd be able to stay at third base because he's a well-below average runner with fringy range and a thick lower half. He'll have to maintain his conditioning and agility to avoid a move across the diamond. The Future: With above-average offensive potential and a chance to stick at third base, Cuthbert could emerge as one of the game's better prospects with a solid 2012 season in high Class A. He's on course to reach Kansas City at age 22.
- Nicaragua activated 3B Cheslor Cuthbert.
- Nicaragua activated 3B Cheslor Cuthbert.