(670 The Score) When the MLB international signing period opens up Friday, the White Sox are in line to make another splash.
The White Sox have an agreement to sign 23-year-old Cuban outfielder Yoelqui Cespedes, as MLB.com writer Jesse Sanchez reported in December and which has since been confirmed by 670 The Score. The half-brother of former MLB star slugger Yoenis Cespedes, Yoelqui Cespedes will get a $2-million signing bonus.
“From a baseball tools standpoint, he is ready,” White Sox special assistant to the general manager and international scouting expert Marco Paddy said on Inside the Clubhouse on Saturday. “He has a very high baseball IQ and is very knowledgeable about the game. He plays under control. It’s just getting used to the grind of a 162-game schedule.”
Cespedes defected from the Cuban national team in June 2019 while competing in a league in New York, according to reports. He’s the top-ranked international prospect, according to MLB.com.
"He is a very good athlete and has the ability to be a natural center fielder. He can really play defense. He is a fine base runner and has an extremely strong arm. Of course, he is a good hitter. Since he has been in the States, he has worked really hard to develop some extra power. Most Cuban players don't lift weights in Cuba. Now adding muscle, he has shown plus power.”
Cespedes has five-tool skills and is close to MLB-ready now.
"He is a very interesting guy who can play all three outfield spots,” Paddy said. “He also has shown plate discipline as well. He is very advanced. Having the opportunity to play in international tournaments and the World baseball Classic, you can tell he is very close to being a major league player.”
The White Sox are also expected to add 20-year-old Cuban right-hander Norge Carlos Vera on a $1.5-million deal when the signing period opens. He’s the son of former Cuban star pitcher Norge Luis Vera. The younger Vera is considered a top-15 international prospect by some outlets.
"He is also very intriguing," Paddy said. “He has a very good arm, and I have watched him since he was 16 years old. He is a big (6-foot-4, 190 pounds) young man with a fastball between the 94-97 mph range. He has a plus breaking ball and a plus slider. The young man has a great body and a great ability to locate his pitches. Vera has a strong feel for the strike zone and projects as a starting pitcher in the major leagues.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.