The St. Louis Cardinals have made their first move of the international signing period by inking third baseman Malcolm Nunez from Cuba.
The rules for signing international players were updated with the most recent CBA. With the way things shake out now, the St. Louis Cardinals cannot sign an individual player for more than $300,000. That is because the team exceeded its signing pool in previous years.
Even with the signing cap, the Cardinals still have $5,004,500 available to them. For a more thorough explanation of the rules, you can read here.
So far, the only move the Cardinals have made is for the third baseman. Because of the sanctions, the team is limited in their choices. The 17 year old Cuban infielder, Malcolm Nunez would constitute as smart use of money.
MLB Pipeline does not have Nunez among their top international prospects. However, Baseball America ranks him as the 26th best international option for the 2018 signing period. He was very impressive during his time 15-U World Cup.
Numbers To Watch
At the World Cup, Nunez slashed .667/.750/.741 over 27 at bats. That was enough to earn him All-Star honors for the tournament. In 2016, Nunez hit over .400 in the Cuban 15-U league. He led the league in walks, which included an impressive amount of intentional passes.
The common thought is that Nunez will be a power first player at the plate. But his seven for seven mark in steals during the World Cup might hint at another tool. I am not saying he is fast, but being able to run the bases and steal can be an asset.
Is This The Only Signing?
It would appear that there will be more moves made by the St. Louis Cardinals. According to Derrick Goold in his article linked above, it is believed that the Redbirds have a couple more moves in the making.
The Cardinals are favorites to secure the services of a catcher and a pitcher from Venezuela. Diego Velasquez is the backstop and Jesus Rojas is the pitcher. Just as with Nunez, these two are teens.
The international signing period can turn out to be very lucrative for a team. For example, the St. Louis Cardinals signed a guy like Alex Reyes. It is hard to project teenagers, but these kids are talented. They could be very helpful as they develop.