Wladimir Galindo, who I mentioned last season as a possible addition to the international signing class, has reportedly signed with the Cubs. The news was broken on his twitter account in December. Yes, I’m late, but the Cubs haven’t made any announcements yet, so I'm not too broken up about it. Reactions in the blogosphere have mostly expressed puzzlement at the timing, but it doesn’t seem all that strange to me. A few points:
- It has been suggested that the Cubs waited to sign him until he turned 16. This is not a possibility. Prospects must turn 16 before September 1st to be eligible in a given signing period. Besides that, MLB.com shows his birth date as 11/6/1996, meaning he turned 17 in November.
- It is remotely possible that MLB.com’s listed birthday is off by a year. If this is the case, then he hasn’t actually signed yet and won’t until this coming July 2nd. I doubt it. If any prospect watcher should know what his birthday is, it’s Mayo, since MLB distributes the eligibility lists. Also, Galindo hasn’t exactly been keeping a lid on this whole thing, with the announcement to the press and shots of him bass fishing in Cubs gear. You would think that if his signing wasn’t going to be made official for another five months, someone would politely tell him to shut up. In short, I think he is seventeen, and has signed.
- Why exactly does anyone think the timing is strange? The simplest explanation here is that he wanted more money than was being offered. Nobody wanted to pay him, but the Cubs told him they would keep an eye on him in the Venezuelan Winter League (which runs October through December). They liked what they saw, and after it was over made him an offer that was suitable to both sides. If that’s what happened, good for the Cubs. Since they unwittingly found themselves in max penalty territory, they might as well go after anyone who is unsigned in these winter showcases. I don't expect his bonus to be anywhere near that of the top names, however.
In any case, he’s a big shortstop/third baseman. Jonathan Mayo likes him, and ranked him at #25 prior to the signing period. BA didn’t have him in their top 30, and TAM had him listed outside of the top 50. Mayo:
Galindo could end up at one of the corner spots in the infield or make the shift to the outfield because of his size (6-foot-3, 210 pounds) and strong arm. But he might be athletic enough to stay at shortstop.
Scouts like his big body and his raw power. Galindo also has the ability to hit for power to all fields and has a knack for putting the barrel of his bat on the ball. He is sometimes fooled by offspeed pitches and could use more game experience.
Gleyber Torres Stats and Update
About that Venezuelan Winter League. It just so happens that both Galindo and Gleyber Torres played for the Cub affiliate. The results were decent, but the sample is very small and the competition was generally a lot older.
Manager Osmin Melendez was impressed by Torres:
In (the Venezuelan League) he was more present and relaxed. He played solid defense and hit well. Though his attitude was the best thing. He looks like an older player, he has a lot of maturity.
In Which I Become An Eloy Birther
The seventeen year-old takes some cuts in January.