The Cubs have long been reported as the favorites for 16-year-old shortstop Cristian Hernandez once he’s eligible to sign as an international free agent. The Dominican Republic native is currently ranked as the number five overall international free agent prospect and has drawn some pretty lofty comparisons already.
Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com likened Hernandez to Alex Rodriguez and Manny Machado, and it’s easy to see the similarities when you watch the video below. Just like A-Rod, Hernandez showcases a natural fluidity and extremely quick bat speed. His build, body control, and power potential offers a lot to be excited about down the road.
At 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, the teenager resembles a young Alex Rodriguez and has a build similar to Manny Machado at the same age. His approach and abilities give him a chance to hit for a high batting average and he is expected to have plus power in the future. There’s a belief he could eventually develop into a .300 hitter who can slug 30 or more home runs a year. On defense, he shows plus arm potential with smooth hands and the ability to make plays in the hole and up the middle with equal proficiency. He consistently runs the 60-yard dash in 6.5 seconds.
As tantalizing as this is, I want to echo Bleacher Nation‘s caveat that, despite multiple reports that the Cubs are expected to sign Hernandez, he isn’t officially signed yet and won’t be for some time. The IFA signing deadline would normally have been July 2, but that could be pushed into 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown. So before you start imagining Hernandez blasting bombs at Wrigley — it’s too late for me, but maybe you can still be saved — maybe you should wait until he actually dons a Cubs cap.