According to Joe Doyle of Prospects Live, the Cubs are the favorites to sign 15-year-old Dominican shortstop Fernando Cruz. The top-ranked prospect in the 2024 international free agent class, Cruz has drawn rave reviews for his athleticism and polish at such a young age. If the Cubs are able to sign him, it would mark their first No. 1 IFA addition since they landed Jorge Soler and Gleyber Torres back-to-back in 2012 and ’13.
Scouts believe Cruz will be able to stay at short, which shouldn’t be a problem because he probably won’t be ready until both Dansby Swanson and Nico Hoerner are gone. The teenager is described as “the complete package” and “consensus best player” in this IFA class by scouting directors Doyle interviewed.
Doyle added that Cruz makes up for a lack of power with an excellent hit tool that includes big-time contact skills and an ability to use all fields. He’ll command a significant bonus, which might limit the Cubs as far as other signings now that their signing pool has been reduced by Swanson’s qualifying offer penalty.
If the Cubs do end up landing Cruz, don’t expect to see him in the States anytime soon. As such a young player, he’ll need time to mature at the organization’s Dominican complex before eventually playing in the Arizona Complex League and then affiliated ball. While I understand the system, it’s still wild to me to think that this is like an MLB team signing a high school sophomore.