Chicago Cubs 2020-21 International Signing Preview
This is part of Ben Badler's 2020-21 international signing day preview. You can find the Chicago Cubs 2019 International Signing Class here. You can also find his international big board of 2020 prospects here.
The Cubs signed the No. 1 and 2 international players in our rankings in the 2013 class when they added outfielder Eloy Jimenez from the Dominican Republic and shortstop Gleyber Torres from Venezuela.
Topping that is going to be a high bar to clear for Cubs international director/special assistant Louie Eljaua and his staff, but the club's 2020-21 international class could end up being their best once since then.
That would be largely on the development of Cristian Hernandez, a Dominican shortstop who for many scouts is the best player available, with the Cubs expected to sign him for a bonus in the $3.5 million area.
Hernandez stood out since he was 13 in the Mejia Top 10 program with an extremely advanced swing. Now 16, Hernandez is a lean, athletic 6-foot-2, 165 pounds, with excellent swing mechanics and bat speed. His barrel stays on plane through the hitting zone for a long time, he has performed well in games and projects to have plus or better raw power as he fills out. Hernandez draws plenty of attention for his combination of hitting ability and power, but he's also improved his speed to become a plus runner. He's not necessarily a similar player to Giants shortstop Marco Luciano, but he could follow a similar path as an elite Dominican amateur prospect who has a chance to rocket up our Top 100 list once he gets a year in pro ball.
Two of the Cubs' top three international signings last year—Ronnier Quintero and Brayan Altuve—were Venezuelan catchers. They're expected to sign another one of the top catchers in Venezuela in 2020, Moises Ballesteros. He's a bat-first catcher with a strong, stocky frame and good feel for the barrel from the left side along with a strong arm.
Most of the Cubs' bonus pool will probably go towards Hernandez and Ballesteros. One other notable bat they're expected to land is Daniel Ferreira, a Dominican outfielder with a fluid swing and good feel for hitting for his age from the right side.
Ferreira video No. 2:
Venezuelan lefthander Carlos Cabrera and Dominican outfielder Oferman Hernandez are also linked to the Cubs. So is outfielder Raino Coran from Curacao.