Chicago Cubs: Stacking up on the international side
In a class which included Rays phenom Wander Franco, the Cubs landed two top 50 International prospects in the 2017 class: RHP Florencio Serrano and SS Luis Verdugo. At the time, Serrano signed with the Cubs for $1.2 million and was ranked as the 29th best international prospect by Baseball America.
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Unfortunately, the Cubs lost Serrano due to his previous team in the Mexican League reporting false numbers with the amount of money they would pay him. Because the Cubs were capped at the time with a set amount from the previous season’s expenditures, it exceeded the amount for which they could afford him, and MLB did not approve Serrano’s contract.
Verdugo, meanwhile, is currently in the rookie league for the Cubs and is just 19 years old. Last season, the shortstop slashed .305/.367/.447 with a 120 wRC+ across 53 games. He is primed to continue growing in the system, and it will be fun to see where he is this season.
In 2018 the team signed Richard Gallardo out of Venezuela for $1 million. He ranked as MLB.com’s number eight overall prospect on their top 30 list. Gallardo is 18 years old and enjoyed a cup of coffee at Low-A in 2019. He posted a respectable 3.93 ERA in 34 1/3 innings between rookie ball and Low-A and will be an exciting kid to follow this season. Jose Lopez was the other highly rated prospect the team signed. He hit just .201 over 44 games in his first professional season, but he’s also only 18 years old, so there is time to grow.
Last season the Cubs landed another pair of top 30 prospects in Ronnier Quintero and Kevin Made. Quintero was the top-ranked catching prospect in the class, and Made is one of the better shortstops of the class. Each guy has the potential to be great for the Cubs, so it will be fun to follow their journey through the system.