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Cubs international signee Marck Malave could one day be the kind of impact player team needs

Cubs international signee Marck Malave could one day be the kind of impact player team needs

Since we were talking about getting impact players for the future yesterday, I thought it would be a good time to take a break from all the offseason rumors to take a look at one such player who may already be in house.  That player is Marck Malave, whom the Cubs signed as a 16 year old catcher this past summer.  Malave, you may remember, was one of the Cubs two main international signings this year, signing for a club high $1.6M.

Malave is among the youngest players in winter ball this year and he's more than holding his own.  Amongst all the chatter about the Cubs trade yesterday, this tweet came from Baseball America prospect guru Ben Badler,

Solid showing in the Liga Paralela for Cubs VZ catcher Mark Malave. Hit .286/.402/.364 in 92 PAs. Big July 2 signing.

The OBP is excellent and the slugging isn't quite there yet, but that could still come.  Malave is a very strong player who projects to hit for power down the road.  That he's holding his own is what's really impressive here, but it's nothing new for Malave.  In October 2008, he was the youngest player on Venezuela's 14-and-under-team as a 13-year-old at the COPABE Pan American championship -- and he wasn't just there for the ride, he was one of the best hitters on the team.

Malave is a rarity in that he is a switch-hitting catcher with power potential.  Some have compared him to a young Victor Martinez in that sense.  Malave has a similar thick build and though there are a few in the industry who doubt that he will stick at catcher, many others give him above average marks for both his fielding and his throwing.  His arm, in fact, may be his best tool.

Those who didn't like Malave thought he relied on his raw strength to hit and didn't think he had the bat speed to survive against tougher pitching.  That's what makes his early performance in the Liga Paralela so encouraging.  He is facing older, tougher pitching and his bat speed thus far doesn't seem to be a problem.  Moreover, Cubs Director of Amateur Scouting Tim Wilken is one of the best in the game at evaluating bat speed and if he thought it was okay, there is a good chance that it is.

The Cubs were lucky they made the investment they did in Malave this past summer, because the signing may not have been possible under the new CBA parameters.  He should start next season on one of the Cubs two Dominican Summer League teams and we'll be keeping an eye on him here on this site.  If he continues to progress as he has so far, Malave could become the type of impact player the Cubs have been looking for in their organization.

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  • Lucky we were able to sign many of these promising international
    prospects before the new CBA. With them and the players from
    the 2011 draft we should be in good shape in 2-4 years. Lets
    hope we can still find these gems in the future.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    It won't be as easy starting next year, but the Cubs are building a strong presence in the Caribbean and that should help them a bit.

  • In fact, John, Malave is one of 4 teenagers from the 2011 Intl Draft.

    It would be amazing if he is indeed what he projects to be ... an impact player at a key position ... however it all came to pass, the 2011 draft could prove to be the springboard to the Cubs future.

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    The Cubs did sign several international FAs this year. Luis Acosta was the other top name. Ricardo Marcano and Christopher Pieters also were big money signings, but Malave seems to be the most advanced right now.

  • John, after the 1st of the year can you please post another list, with profiles, of these 2011 prospects.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    What I might do is re-write a top 10 list once the hot stove is over that will include any of the new prospects the Cubs may have acquired. I think Torreyes and possibly Sappelt would have been in the top 15, and definitely top 20.

    I will also individual profile prospects every so often, especially as the Hot Stove cools down.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Probably should make that a top 20 list, actually.

  • Another "impact talent" type guy is Jeimar Candelario. Parks & Goldstein had great things to say about him when reviewing the Cubs Top 11 from BP. He's a ways off, though.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    Love Jeimer Candelario, had him #4 on my top 10 list. Only question with him is what position he'll play.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Which arms do you like from TOR in a potential Garza deal?Levine mentioned McGuire but I'm not a huge fan. He seems to have middle-of-the-rotation upside only.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    I like McGuire. Has to stay in shape, but he's pretty much a sure thing. Don't think any of Toronto's SP prospects project as a #1. Only guy with stuff to be a #1 is Kyle Drabek...and he looked nowhere near that last year. But maybe you take him as part of the deal and gamble.

    A raw prospect with a top of the rotation arm is Noah Syndegaard. He projects well but a long way away.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I like Hutchinson. Just because a guy doesn't throw hard (ala Maddux for most of his career) doesn't mean that if he can control his pitches, he can't be solid. Hutchinson appears to be a solid #3 pitcher who could be ready for MLB action in 2013 because he has good command of his secondary pitches. I like him. Drabek scares me because of his wildness and his age. I like D'Arnaud--just don't know if Cubs could get him.

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    Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Happy Holidays.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Thanks Just Win, and Happy Holidays to you and yours as well.

  • John and posters all ... Merry Christmas and health and prosperity in the New Year !!!!

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    Merry Christmas, MB!

  • Yes, a weekly profile on one of the young prospects would be great.

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