Chicago Cubs: Looking ahead to this year’s international market

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: The cream of the international crop

With the Cub’s successful history on the international market in the Epstein era, it is no surprise to hear the team’s name attached to one of the most prominent profiles on the market. Cristian Hernandez is just 16 years old but is already considered as a near-consensus top prospect in this year’s class.

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Hailing from the Dominican Republic, Hernandez is a lanky right-handed hitting shortstop with a ton of praise from scouts. For Cubs fans, imagine having two Javier Baez‘s on the field at the same time. Watching Hernandez at both the dish and in the infield, Baez is who I’d most aptly compare with the teenager.

At 13 years old, Hernandez was already showcasing his strength, driving balls out of the yard. His swing has only gotten better as he has his eye for the ball. Hernandez has the power to drive the ball to all parts of the yard, with a keen sense of the gaps. His leg kick, coupled with a steady bat through the zone, reminds me precisely of how Baez swings his bat.

The 16-year-old has smooth hands in the field, possessing a rapid transition time and an above-average arm. Hernandez’s ability to track the ball off the bat is a strength and should profile as an above-average defender.

It would be a nice boost for Cubs fans after the copious amount of promise they felt for the future of this team following the 2016 season. Things have spiraled in a way since, however, and now with the core of this team possibly breaking up over the next few seasons, signing Hernandez would give them something to be excited.