International Signing Updates

  Back in June we heard about the Pittsburgh Pirates signing two kids from Taiwan, catcher Chin-De Chang and LHP Wei-Chung Wang. We have learned that Chang signed for 250k and Wang signed for 350k but his contract was voided after he failed his physical.  He was diagnosed with a tear to his ulnar collateral ligament and needed Tommy John surgery. The Pirates reportedly were still interested in signing Wei-Chung, although his bonus was to be much smaller but he and his agent declined the offer.  

  Also, back in February we heard about the Pirates signing RHP Leandro Rodriguez out of the Dominican Prospect League for $80,000. We learned recently that his contract was not approved by Major League Baseball until after the DSL season was over despite the fact the DPL is an age-verified league and also performs their own background checks on players. His contract is now official and he will likely pitch in the DSL next year.

The Pirates are currently awaiting word on whether Yunior Montero will be allowed to pitch for them again. Montero was originally signed in 2009 for $45,000. He had his contract voided after he failed his background check and he was suspended for a year and forced to sit out the 2010 season. The Pirates ended up resigning him last July for $185,000 after he showed tremendous improvements in his velocity, reaching 94 with his fastball. He pitched one game for them in May in the DSL throwing five shutout innings but again MLB made him sit out when they weren’t happy with the results from his background check.

Pitcher Miguel Ferreras was added back to the DSL roster following the completion of the 2011 season. He pitched for the DSL Pirates in 2010 and went 1-2 15.07 in 11 games. The 6″5 RHP turns 20 on September 19.  Adolfo Flores, an 18 year old pitcher from Nicaragua was signed in May of this year but spent the entire VSL season on the restricted list.

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John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

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  • Lee Young

    Gotta root for a guy named Chin De Chang. Has a nice lilt to it.

    John……what kind of background check is Montero failing?

  • Anonymous

    Lee, with Dominican kids they want to make sure they are really who they say they are, especially if they are going to eventually get a visa to the US. These kids will sometimes assume another identity if it makes them seem better in scouts eyes, especially if they can get a hold of a name that knocks 2-3 year off their age. Pirates have a kid named Diomedes Mateo in the GCL this year. He was signed as Yoldi Sierra, a 16 year old kid with a live arm but he was really 2 1/2 years older so he was much less impressive to them but they kept him anyway

  • Brian Bernard

    john, What ever happened to the kid they signed from Guatamala? He was a switch hitter with some size and looked like power. There were video’s of him on the web I recall, but haven’t heard where he was assigned or if he played? Do you recall this player?

  • Anonymous

    Dennis Hurtarte. Haven’t heard any recent news on him. He was to sign in late June, MLB would then have to approve his contract and they were very slow doing that this year so it is possible he is in Bradenton right now with the team but we won’t see him play until the next GCL season.

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