26. Dyan Jorge (130 points, 14 ballots)
When Dyan Jorge signed with the Rockies in January, it was a culmination of a two-year wait for the Cuban shortstop. The former U-15 shortstop for the Cuban national team had defected from Cuba in late 2019 at age sixteen with the idea of signing in time for the 2020 season. After a few months spent establishing residence outside of Cuba, Jorge was deemed eligible to sign in early 2020.
By that time, the pandemic had delayed the traditional July 2 signing period into January 2021 (and did it again the next season) and besides, most of the bonus pool money allotted to teams was already promised to others. As such, Jorge was forced to wait until January of this year to receive a $2.8 million bonus from the Rockies — the largest such bonus they’ve ever handed out to a Latin American amateur free agent.
So what sort of prospect did the Rockies acquire for that record bonus? Based on the scouting accounts below, an athletic player with high upside and good bat speed but who might be moving off shortstop as he grows larger than his 6’2”, 160-pound frame.
Here’s some video of Jorge taken from a Dominican Republic showcase courtesy of Francys Romero:
FanGraphs was the high group on Jorge, immediately ranking him 11th in the system after he was signed and rating him as a 40+ FV player:
Jorge left Cuba in 2019 and was eligible to sign throughout 2020, but most of the money for that signing period was already committed. Jorge and the Rockies decided it was mutually beneficial to wait until the next period to ink a $2.8 million deal, a Rockies record and one of the single largest bonuses in the class. He plays the game upright, without a lot of bend in his knees and hips, but Jorge is a premium rotational athlete with plus present bat speed and a Division-I cornerback’s build that portends more power. He is one of a few high-variance shortstop prospects from the 2022 international class. While the general lack of flexibility creates skepticism around Jorge’s ability to stay at shortstop, he has the speed to play center field if he has to move off the dirt. He’s a very talented up-the-middle prospect.
In Nick Groke’s piece at the Athletic on Colorado’s international signing class, Jorge was lauded by the Rockies:
What [the Rockies] saw in Jorge was advanced baseball feel with speed and quick hands. They clocked Jorge, even as a right-handed hitter, as running home plate to first base in 4.1 seconds, which would have accounted for one of the fastest sprint speeds in the majors last season.
“He has a wiry, athletic body and good actions at short,” [Rolando] Fernandez said. “And he’s a good hitter, a line-drive hitter who we think can develop some power.”
[Jorge has] continued to improve his game in the last year and added to his reputation as a solid defender and an all-around player that can excel at multiple facets of the game. Dyan’s upside and high baseball IQ combined to make him one of the most interesting prospects when he arrived on the market early in 2020 and his stock has increased since then.
As a high bonus up the middle player with great upside, Jorge was a clear player to rank for me at 16th in the system as a 40+ FV prospect.
Given the wait to sign, Jorge will be 19 by the time he plays a game in affiliated baseball (he turns 19 this week). That means he’ll likely be able to prove his bona fides to the Rockies much sooner than other January 2022 Latin America signees, more in line with the timeline of an American high school draftee. I’d expect Jorge to at least see some action stateside in 2022, whether that be in the complex league after a cameo in the DSL or even a full season assignment if he shows well.