The Cubs once again dished out a significant signing bonus to a Dominican shortstop at the start of the international signing period.
Chicago agreed to a $4 million bonus with Fernando Cruz, one of the top players available in the 2024 class. Cruz’s deal is the third-highest bonus in the class and will command roughly 80% of the Cubs’ overall bonus pool. Baseball America’s international bonus board sorts the top 100 players in terms of signing bonus, complete with scouting reports, video and players trending up.
The 5-foot-11, 165-pound shortstop turned 17 years old in November and is an explosive athlete with excellent bat speed and plus speed. He’s the younger cousin of Starlin Castro, who was the Cubs’ top prospect and ranked as high as No. 16 in Baseball America’s Preseason Top 100 in 2010.
The Cubs have now given out one of the 10 largest bonuses in an international class for the third time in four years. They signed Deniche Valdez to a $2.8 million bonus in 2023 and Cristian Hernandez to a $3 million bonus in 2021.
Here’s a full scouting report on Fernando Cruz:
Cruz is a cousin of Starlin Castro, who signed with the Cubs in 2006, made his major league debut at 20 in 2010 and played shortstop in Chicago through 2015. Cruz is set to follow in Castro’s footsteps with the Cubs, with a bonus expected to be around $4 million.
Cruz separated himself as a top talent in the class early in the scouting process. He has strong hands and forearms, generating big bat speed and driving the ball with impressive impact especially for his size. Some scouts thought that power came with length to his swing that created contact troubles against live pitching, but Cruz has shown uncommon ability to hit for power the opposite way because he’s able to let the ball travel deep into the hitting zone or turn on the ball for extra-base damage.
He’s a plus runner with slick actions at shortstop. Like a lot of young shortstops, he can get out of control at times, but his first-step quickness, hands, range and arm strength with a quick release all give him a good chance to stick at shortstop.