Longtime scout Louie Eljaua of the Chicago Cubs was named 2021 International Scout of the Year and was honored at the 37th annual awards event Saturday in Las Vegas.
A week after Jed Hoyer became president of baseball operations late in 2020, the Cubs announced a wave of promotions. Louie Eljaua was among them as the Cubs promoted him to Vice President of International Scouting. Before his promotion, he served as the Director of International Operations and Special Assistant to the GM and President. In total, Eljaua has spent 13 years with the Cubs.
Eljaua ran the Marlins’ international efforts from 1999-2001 and did the same with the Red Sox from 2002-2003. Most notably, when he was with the Marlins, he is credited for scouting and leading the charge in acquiring future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera. His work in scouting began with the Marlins in 1992.
Eljaua’s efforts to sign Miguel Cabrera hits a little too close to home. In his 2003 rookie season, Cabrera helped lead the Marlins to a World Series Championship, a postseason Cubs fans have burned into their memories. Miggy went 10-30 (.333 BA) with three home runs and six RBIs against Chicago in the NLCS. Entering his 20th season in the majors, Cabrera is 13 hits shy of 3,000 for his career, and he’s already hit 502 home runs. It’s safe to say he’s a sure-fire Hall of Famer.
What Does this Mean for Future Cubs/International Signings?
Louie Eljaua should get a lot of credit, and it’s cool to see him honored as the International Scout of the Year. I’m just glad he’s on the Cubs’ side and not helping future NLCS opponents. Maybe he can help find the next Miggy playing at Wrigley Field (but for the Cubs).
The Cubs could certainly use a breakout prospect soon. Previously, Eljaua oversaw the signings of Eloy Jimenez, Gleyber Torres, Jorge Soler, and Willson Contreras. As far as I’m concerned, the Cubs have done a solid job on the international market, largely thanks to Eljaua. There’s a reason Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer decided to keep him around when they arrived in Chicago.
In early 2021, the Cubs signed one of the top international prospects, shortstop Cristian Hernandez out of the Dominican Republic. Hernandez has drawn comparisons to Alex Rodriguez, and many believe he has five-tool-caliber upside.
Just over a week ago, the Cubs signed Hernandez’s brother, Alexis Hernandez, to a $1.3 million deal. Alexis is also a shortstop and ranked No. 18 among this year’s international prospect class, according to MLB.com. The Cubs also struck a deal with Adan Sanchez, a power-hitting 16-year old third baseman from Panama. Sanchez ranks No. 43 among 2022 international prospects.
Eljaua has helped land 21 major-league players throughout his career. Given his success, the Cubs are in a better position than they were before he took over as VP of International Scouting. We’ll have to see how the recent signings turn out. Nonetheless, Eljaua receiving this type of recognition means the Cubs are doing something right.
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