The Cubs signed three July 2 International prospects acquiring Venezuelan shortstop Gleyber Torres ($1.7 M), Dominican pitcher Jefferson Mejia ($850,000), and Columbian pitcher Erling Moreno ($800,000). They also inked catcher Johan Matos but his bonus in unknown.
Torres has been linked to the Cubs for several months and was just waiting for July 2 to make it official. Considered one of the top prospects in the this year's international class, the shortstop posses a great bat with plus power. Scout.com's Kiley McDaniel had Torres as the top prospect this year. Here's his scouting report on Torres
The Cubs also signed 18-year-old Jefferson Mejia from the Dominican Republic. The 6-foot-7 right-hander is an imposing athletic figure on the mound and features a fast ball in the low 90s with an above average change-up and curveball. Because of his age, 18, Mejia can start playing right away and not wait until 2014 like the rest of the 16-year-olds who signed contracts. He's likely to head to the Cubs Dominican Academy and should see action in the DSL before the summer ends. McDaniels said as usual with guys his size there's a little bit of awkwardness and body control issues, but that can sometimes improve as he continues to mature physically.
Major League Baseball suspended Mejia for a year after he claimed a 1996 birth year, which would have made him eligible last year. He is now using a Aug. 2, 1994 birth date. He could have signed this spring but many teams didn't have the money available so he waited until July 2. Mejia didn't appear on many 2013 International lists because he was actually eligible to be signed in April.
Moreno stands 6-foot-3 and sports a fastball in the upper 80s and is projected to be a power pitcher as he progresses. Here's what scout.com's Kiley McDaniel had to say about the Columbian, "Moreno is a projectable righty with broad shoulders and long limbs, likely adding a few ticks to his high 80's fastball that will get into the low 90's at times. He has a smooth delivery and arm action so the velocity is easy to project and Moreno will show three pitches with a big-breaking mid-70's curveball and change-up that both flash average to above potential, enough to project as a starter."
The Cubs inked catcher Johan Matos but the bonus amount is unknown at this time. According to McDaniel, Matos is a catch-and-throw player with good arm strength and a linear bat. He has a line drive approach at the plate with below average raw power.
The Cubs are still in the hunt for another top prospect, Eloy Jimenez, a 16-year-old outfielder with a tremendous bat. Chicago acquired four draft slots close to $1 million on July 2 to help with the signing of Jimenez, which is expected in the next few days. The scouting report for Torres also includes video and a report on Jimenez.
Cub fans need to be patient with the July 2 signings as any return on the investment is years away. Except Mejia, none of the players can even play with the Cubs this summer as their contracts don't start until 2014 season. They will more than likely spend the first year in the DSL and play in the Arizona Rookie League in 2015 at the earliest. The Cubs top signee in 2012, Frandy Delarosa, a shortstop, was invited to spring training to participate in the minor league camp and was sent back to the DLS. The 17-year-old has played in 11 games and is hitting .077.