The Chicago Cubs might have thought they found a diamond in the rough when they signed prospect Yonathan Perlaza as an international free agent before the 2016 season.
He flashed his potential as a hitter immediately, hovering around a .260 batting average during his first four seasons of professional baseball in the minor leagues.
After COVID caused the minor league season in 2020 to be cancelled, Perlaza came back with much more power in his bat.
In 99 games at the Cubs’ High-A affiliate, he had a slash line of .280/.350/.479 with 15 home runs and 64 RBI. That was the more homers than he had in all of his other seasons combined (6).
His offensive prowess kept getting him promoted through the minor league ranks until he reached Chicago’s Triple-A affiliate for the 2023 season.
Perlaza was knocking on the door for his Major League call-up with injuries to Cody Bellinger and Seiya Suzuki during the year. However, the promotion never came and he spent the entire season in the minors.
Following the year, the talented prospect hit free agency after the Cubs didn’t add him to their 40-man roster.
Perlaza was a sought after player after his strong season of hitting .284/.389/.534 with 23 home runs and 85 RBI at Triple-A.
He decided to sign a lucrative contract with the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization according to Dan Kurtz. The deal is for $1 million and is reportedly broken down as a $200K signing bonus, $600K salary and $200K incentives.
The 25-year-old will be the youngest foreign player in the KBO as he begins his journey of playing professional baseball overseas.