Chicago Cubs 2024 International Review


The Cubs gave seven-figure bonuses in consecutive years to Venezuelan catcher Moises Ballesteros (2021) and Dominican shortstop Jefferson Rojas (2022). Both are now Top 100 prospects who have moved quickly through the system.

The team has taken different strategies in Latin America over the years, with their 2024 international signing class largely focused on one of the elite players in the class, though the Cubs came away with other intriguing sleepers at lower price points as well.

Top Of The Class

The Cubs entered 2024 with a $5,284,000 bonus pool and spent $4 million of it on 17-year-old Dominican shortstop Fernando Cruz, giving him the third-highest bonus of any international signing this year. A cousin of former Cubs infielder Starlin Castro, Cruz established himself as one of the top players in the class early in the scouting process.

He’s 5-foot-11, 165 pounds but hits the ball like a more physical slugger with his ability to generate bat speed. He has strong wrists and forearms and is able to get the most out of his body to drive the ball for extra-base damage. He has some bigger moves to the ball and some chase tendencies, which created swing-and-miss concerns for some scouts. But Cruz has shown the ability to let the ball travel deep and drive it well to right-center or turn on it to the pull side for over-the-fence juice, with potential 25-plus home run pop.

A plus runner, Cruz has always grabbed attention for his quick-twitch, flashy actions at shortstop, though like a lot of young shortstops, he was still learning to slow the game down and play under control. He’s made significant strides with that more recently, with the quick first step, hands, range and plus arm that should allow him to stick at shortstop. 

Names To Know

Robin Ortiz, OF, Dominican Republic: Power is the carrying tool for the 17-year-old Ortiz, who signed for $400,000. He’s 6-foot-4, 200 pounds with size, strength and bat speed to show big raw power from the right side in batting practice that should end up at least a plus tool, though with a longer swing and aggressive approach that will require adjustments to be able to make more frequent contact. He’s athletic for his size with average speed underway and an above-average arm that will fit in right field. 

Yander Maria, RHP, Dominican Republic: Maria has developed into one of the better international pitching prospects signed this year. Signed at 17 for $200,000, Maria was mostly pitching in the upper 80s early in 2023, but after a mix of rest and going on a new throwing program, Maria by the end of the year was touching the mid 90s. At 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, Maria has the frame to hold more weight and the potential to reach the upper 90s one day. He generates that fastball from a relatively easy delivery that he’s able to repeat with good body control, pairing his fastball with a high-spin curveball that has the potential to miss a lot of bats. 

Sleeper Watch

With almost all of their bonus pool space going to Cruz, Ortiz and Maria, the rest of the Cubs signings for this year were under $100,000. Among those players, one sleeper to watch is Juan Monso, a 17-year-old Dominican shortstop who got $40,000. The bat leads the way for Monso, a smart hitter who has a good sense of the strike zone for his age. He’s 5-foot-11, 160 pounds with a short lefthanded swing and has performed well in multiple tournaments as an amateur player. He’s an above-average runner who trained as a shortstop but could move around the infield in pro ball. 

The Cubs also signed 17-year-old Enyel Rosario for $30,000 out of the Dominican Republic. He’s a shortstop and center fielder with above-average speed from an easy, gliding stride and the athleticism to potentially fit somewhere in the middle of the field. He’s a switch-hitter at 6 feet, 160 pounds with doubles power that’s starting to tick up as he has begun to layer on more strength.

Download our app

Read the newest magazine issue right on your phone