Cubs Minors: Getting to know infield prospect Fabian Pertuz
As rumors continue to swirl at the future of Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, a new face emerged in 2019 and dominated the Arizona Fall League.
Before we get into a diatribe about the Chicago Cubs and what they should do with Bryant, I will preface by saying in no way should Theo Epstein and company trade the 27-year-old superstar. Now that is over with we can jump into more of the future talent working their way through Chicago’s pipeline.
Most of the fanbase has not yet heard the name Fabian Pertuz. If I am candid, I had not yet either until I came across his page on Fangraphs. Per the organizational ranks on Fangraphs, Pertuz currently sits as the number 23 overall prospect in the Cubs’ tunnel of talent.
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As part of the 2017-18 international class, Pertuz hails from Colombia. Just 19 years old, Pertuz already has two professional seasons on his resume and is looking to build in 2020 what became an excellent campaign this past season. Shifting between third base and shortstop, Pertuz hopefully one day hopes to climb the ranks to Wrigley and instill himself as an everyday infielder of the teams’ future.
Chicago Cubs Minors: More international talent on the rise
If you ask anyone in baseball, it is no secret the Cubs are one of the more aggressive teams when it comes to signing international free agents. It seems the club is always in on top talent on the international circuit. In 2013 it was Eloy Jimenez and Gleyber Torres. A couple of years ago, Richard Gallardo and Jose Lopez were ranked in the top 30, and both signed with Chicago. Last season, the Cubs landed the number six overall prospect in Ronnier Quintero.
While Pertuz did not rank in the upper echelon of talent, the teenage infielder does possess some intriguing qualities. Immediately when I began watching Pertuz, I could see a similar comparison to Javier Baez. While it may seem ludicrous to say Pertuz could morph into the next Baez, I don’t believe it is far off from where Baez once was before he made his major league debut.
Baseball America’s Ben Badler profiled Pertuz a couple of years back, speaking on his ability to drive the ball hard as well as an ability to find power in the gap. Pertuz carried a very similar swing pattern to Baez when he made his major league debut, and at 6’0″, 160 also has a similar frame. Badler called Pertuz a “high-energy shortstop who likes to make the flashy play,” which was Baez in a nutshell.
In Pertuz’s first season in the Dominican Summer League, in 2018, the kid slashed an impressive .298/.419/.427 with a 147 wRC+ and 36 stolen bases. Last season playing in the Arizona League, Pertuz finished with a .325/.358/.437 line. His 21.7 percent strikeout rate is decent given his age, and if he can continue strengthening his frame, he could end up being a guy who carries double-digit home run power with an affinity for stealing a high number of bases.
Chicago Cubs Minors: Future with the club
Pertuz has a projected ETA of 2023. It seems likely this will be pretty much in line with where Pertuz is with his current development. The 19-year-old played primarily at third base this season and did make fewer errors at the hot corner than he did at shortstop.
Still, the versatility is a significant factor for Pertuz and the Cubs as we head into a new decade of baseball on the Northside. Baez is a free agent in 2022, and hopefully, Theo Epstein and the club decides to keep him around for the long term.
The uncertainty, however, with so much of the core, does give a path to a bright future in Chicago for Pertuz. He can build on his strong 2019 season and one day may turn into that guy the Cubs hope and expect him to be for the team. It is an exciting time on the international front for baseball in the Windy City.