The Cubs signed 18 year old Cuban defector Gerardo Concepcion today. It's reportedly a multi-million dollar deal. More information to come.
UPDATE: Who is Gerardo Concepcion (Yankee Analysts, h/t to DJ)
UPDATE 2: I was going to write more about this, but after looking at the stats that were found in the link on Yankee Analysts, I have no interest but to quote them.
At 17, he broke out in the Cuban National Series, winning rookie of the year for his 2010-2011 performance. In that season he posted a 10-3 record with a 3.36 ERA through 101.2 IP. Now, 18, Concepcion is listed at 6’1” and 175 lbs, a thin frame that figures to grow and add velocity to his 89-91 MPH fastball. Concepcion’s secondary pitches include a plus curveball and solid slider and changeup.
2010-2011 Cuban League Age W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO H/9 BB/9 SO/9 FIP 18 10 3 3.36 21 16 101.2 103 42 38 6 43 53 9.1 3.8 4.7 4.75
As you can tell by the chart, the 4.75 FIP indicates Concepcion’s success in Cuba was most likely luck. His 4.7 SO/9 does not compliment the report of a plus curveball. Still, the other numbers are quite impressive when you consider his age and competition. A 3.8 BB/9 at such a young age, for a pitcher topping out at 94, illustrates above average control. When you combine the relative control with his 9.1 H/9 and a 0.53 HR/9, against Cuban hitters ten years older and in their prime, the statistics suggest that Concepcion has a very advanced feel for pitching.
I don't agree that the numbers suggest he has an advanced feel for pitcing. He may only be 18, but those are ugly numbers. Take a look at the minor leagues here and find me a group of pitchers who struck out under 5.5 per 9 while walking between 3.5 and 4 per 9 who developed into much of a starting pitcher and I'll be shocked. 18 or not, if these numbers were posted by a kid the same age in Low A or High nobody would think twice about him. He'd be demoted.
UPDATE 3: Concepcion was signed to an MLB contract, which means the Cubs will need to free up a 40-man roster spot if they have not already done so. Concepcion will begin using options immediately. This is very strange.