January 15 is the scheduled date for international signing day. It was agreed upon last year that the date for international prospects to sign would be moved, as opposed to when it used to be on July 2.
According to Sports Illustrated, because these deals involve prospects who are not on current 40-man rosters, not part of the MLBPA and the contracts are being treated like minor league deals, teams will still be able to sign these kids despite the lockout. There was speculation this would be affected by the work stoppage, but it sounds like it isn’t.
2 international prospects the Chicago Cubs are currently favored to sign
Alexis Hernandez – 17 years old – Dominican Republic
Last year the Cubs signed a kid named Cristian Hernandez out of the Dominican Republic for $3 million, and he is currently among the team’s top prospects. Alexis is Cristian’s younger brother, and is currently ranked the 18th international prospect.
Hernandez can play both shortstop and center field, and according to the MLB.com scouting report, has five-tool potential. They even say he might be slightly more athletic than his older brother. He is an overall 55-grade player with 50-grade hit, power and field, and 55-grade running and arm. These scouting grades are pretty similar to his brother, considering they are both said to have five-tool potential and are praised for their baseball IQs. Both Hernandez brothers trained with Mejia Top 10 Baseball Academy‘s Luis Pereira.
It would be pretty cool to see two brothers with high ceilings grow in the Cubs system together. Adding more raw potential like this gives the organization even more depth, and the potential to see more eventual top 100 guys in the Cubs farm system. Cristian already has made it to the top 100 list by Baseball America – maybe Alexis could follow?
Adán Sánchez – 16 years old – Panama
Currently ranked as the 43rd international prospect, Sánchez has an overall scouting grade of 50, with 55-grade power and arm. His hit is graded 50, but his power is what stands out the most to scouts in terms of his offensive ability. In terms of defense, he can play multiple positions. He has played catcher, third base and even pitched. Though, probably expect him to be a position guy.
He is a pretty big dude for his age, listed at 6’0″ and 190 pounds on MLB.com. Scouts seem to like his potential of being a catcher with his build, athleticism and arm. It’s also worth noting Panama is where the Cubs signed catching prospect Miguel Amaya out of several years ago.
Sánchez was part of the Panamian Little League World Series team in 2018 at age 14. He had five hits, a home run and four RBI in three games. Now that he is of age, he will be able to sign. Him playing in the Little League World Series gave international audiences a chance to see what he was capable of at a young age. This would be a nice addition to the farm, another power bat with versatility and a solid pedigree.
Both these kids are obviously a long way away from seeing the majors. Probably looking at ETAs around 2026-ish. That is if all goes well and they develop properly, of course. Both of these prospects are still teenagers and will need a lot of time to develop in the minors. With all of that said, there will more reason to pay attention to the Cubs farm system if/when these guys do indeed sign with the organization.