The Chicago Cubs have signed Cuban left-hander Gerardo Concepcion to a Major League contract worth $7 million plus incentives, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes Los Angeles.
At only 18 years of age, Concepcion was named this season’s Rookie of the Year in the Cuban Serie Nacional after pitching just over 100 innings. On the surface, his 10-3 record and a 3.36 ERA is astounding for a player of his age pitching against a high level of competition. However, his 1.23 K:BB ration and 4.75 FIP should bring expectations back down to earth.
The Cubs will hope that the 6’1”, 175 lbs youngster will grow a little and add velocity to his low nineties fastball, which according to reports, he uses to set up a plus curveball that goes along with a solid slider and changeup.
Concepcion was declared a free agent only last week when he established residency in Mexico. He garnered a lot of attention from Major League clubs, with Chicago ultimately winning his services. The Cubs have also been in on two other Cuban free agents: Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler.
With the new collective bargaining agreement placing a cap on acquisitions for players of Concepcion’s age and background, set to take effect this summer, the signing is at the very least well timed. Despite the Major League contract, Concepcion is expected to start this coming season only as high as Low A ball.