So I go out to buy some dinner and I come back and lo and behold! The Cubs have signed Cuban LHP Gerardo Concepcion to a $7M MLB contract per Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes. The MLB deal means that Concepcion must be put on the 40 man roster. It also means he’ll be invited to spring training. My guess is given the contract plus Concepcion’s polish and level of competition faced, he’ll start the year at full season low Class A Peoria.
Concepcion was considered the 3rd best prospect to come out of Cuba this year and the best pitcher. Based on scouting reports and the assumption that the Cubs leaned toward the more positive reviews, I have to believe the Cubs think he has some projection left and projects as more than a bottom of the rotation starter.
The Cubs were in dire need of starting LHP as they did not have a single prospect in Baseball America’s top 30. Concepcion likely goes to the head of that list. In fact, Kevin Goldstein just tweeted that he would rank him as the Cubs 6th best prospect.
In case you missed it, here is what I said about him a week ago…
Some scouts see him as a 5th starter because he simply doesn’t miss many bats, but others see some projection left in the 18 year old’s 6’2 wiry frame. He peaks in the low 90s right now, has a curveball which gets mixed reviews,and a change-up in progress. His mechanics also divide scouts. He throws across the body which some say give him deception, while others think it prevents him from being more consistent with his breaking stuff. In short, it seems like there’s a wide range of opinion. A team who sees some projection left will sign him and I understand the Cubs are among these teams.
Here’s what his agent Jamie Torres had to say about Concepcion,
“I would not throw him into the major leagues yet. While I think he can make it really fast, he is only 19. But this kid has good stuff, a great makeup and he’s extremely intelligent.”
It was a pretty hefty price, but I still think it’s a good signing considering the Cubs lack of LHP prospects and the fact that players like Concepcion won’t be readily available under the new CBA which takes affect this summer.
The signing isn’t expected to affect the Cubs pursuit of top 2 Cuban prospects Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler. The Cubs reportedly have the money to sign all of them.