The 2017-18 international signing period opened Sunday with one of the stronger classes in recent memory. Almost every team in baseball has been active in the market, and the Colorado Rockies are no exception. The Rockies have signed three middle infield prospects: Fadriel Cruz and Jose Colon from the Dominican Republic and Eddy Diaz from Cuba. Cruz, ranked 33rd, is the only one of the three mentioned in Baseball America’s top 50 International prospects list, although the list does not include Cuban-born players. Here’s a quick introduction to the newest members of the organization.
Fadriel Cruz, SS, Dominican Republic
Born: November 12, 2000 Height: 6’1” Weight: 160lbs
Cruz is ranked 33rd on Baseball America’s list, and there is a lot to like about him. Cruz has a projectable frame and shows a good approach for a 16-year-old. He has shown some pop already, and as he fills out, he may end up with average power. He has above average speed. Defensively, he is talented but raw with projections as a shortstop, center fielder, and third baseman all on the table.
Jose Colon, SS, Dominican Republic
Born: November 17, 2000 Height: 6’1” Weight: 140lbs
Colon currently plays in the Dominican Prospect League (DPL), which was set up in 2009 as a way for major-league teams to more easily scout talent in the Dominican Republic. It also helps players develop their skill sets and prepares them for life as professional baseball players. From the DPL website:
Jose Colon is an athletic shortstop with an extremely projectable frame, currently standing at 6’1, 140 pounds. He has lightning quick bat speed and a compact swing that allow him to consistently drive the ball to all fields with power that will likely be average once his frame fills out. Colon has above average speed which should allow him to both steal bases and cover ground at short. At short he has the makeup of an above average defender with quick hands, good footwork, and average arm strength.
Eddy Diaz, SS, Cuba
There is very little information available on Diaz. The only thing I can say about him from a baseball perspective is that he has hit well wherever he has been thus far. Diaz played on both the Cuban Under-15 and Under-18 teams. He is 17-years-old.
Diaz is the first Cuban-born player the Rockies have signed on the International market. He is one of just a handful of players born in Cuba who have been legally cleared to come the the United States as free agents without having to defect. This is a big step forward for baseball and for international relations.
There is still a lot of time left in the signing period, and some of the available players are still 15-year-olds who will have to wait until they turn 16 to sign, probably in July or August. Most of the top names are gone, but the Rockies have been strongly linked with Ezequiel Tovar, another shortstop who ranks at 22 on Baseball America’s list. Tovar is from Venezuela and, as one of the youngest players in the class, has yet to turn 16 . So the Rockies still have a chance to sign a top 30 guy. They have also been linked to outfielder Raimer Salinas and catcher Antonio Cabello. Both are from Venezuela. They rank 10th and 15th respectively on Baseball America’s list.