Cubs to sign trio of top international prospects

July 2nd, 2019

The Cubs are closing in on a trio of top international prospects to add to their Minor League system.

According to industry sources, the team has a deal with catcher Ronnier Quintero, ranked No. 6 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 International Prospects list, worth $2.9 million, along with pacts with shortstop Kevin Made (No. 11) for $1.5 million and Brayan Altuve (No. 30) for $1 million. The deals have not been confirmed by the club.

Quintero is the top catcher in the 2019 class and one of the best prospects from Venezuela this year. Here’s why: He’s a left-handed hitter with easy power and lots of upside offensively. He has a polished approach at the plate and has a chance to hit for average. What’s more, Quintero has the potential to establish himself as a middle-of-the-lineup type of bat and is one of the best run-producing catchers on the international market in recent years.

Behind the plate, Quintero is a solid defender with a quick transfer and plus-arm potential. His receiving skills are improving, and he already shows leadership skills. He will never be a threat as a runner, but he’s smart and won’t clog up the bases.

The athletic Made has a loose and live body and is also known for his soft hands and proper footwork. He’s shown an above-average arm and all of the skills to stay at shortstop as he makes his way through the Minor Leagues.

Made uses a slight upstroke swing and lots of bat speed to generate flashes of average power. He’s shown consistent home run power and has a habit of racking up multihit games. Made also runs the timed 60-yard run in 6.7 seconds, and there is the belief that he will increase his speed as he grows and develops as a player.

As for Altuve, he’s lean, muscular and boasts a strong and athletic body that reminds some of Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras. There’s some pop in his bat, and he has a reputation for hitting line drives to all fields. He has shown good bat speed along with some home run power.

Altuve flashes above-average arm strength, good range and overall adequate defensive actions. Like most catchers his age (16), he’s still working on his receiving skills and calling games. He’s going to stay behind the plate despite displaying the type of athleticism and overall abilities that could lead to a position change.

According to the rules established by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, clubs that receive a Competitive Balance Pick in Round B of the Rule 4 Draft receive a pool of $6,481,200 for spending on international prospects, while clubs that receive a Competitive Balance Pick in Round A of the Rule 4 Draft receive $5,939,800.

The Cubs have a bonus pool of $5,398,300.

Teams are allowed to trade as much of their international pool money as they would like, but can only acquire 60 percent of a team's initial pool amount. Additionally, signing bonuses of $10,000 or less do not count toward a club's bonus pool, and foreign professional players who are at least 25 years of age and have played in a foreign league for at least six seasons are also exempt.

Under the previous system, teams were penalized for exceeding their bonus pools with consequences that ranged from taxes on their spending to the maximum penalty, which was being prohibited from signing any prospect for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods. That’s no longer the case and there are no longer penalties. Teams can only spend their allotted bonus pools and the monies acquired via trade.