The Pirates have been busy in Australia over the past few years, having as many as five players from the country in their system at one time last year. Until recently though, there wasn't a high-profile signing from Australia. That was until they signed 16-year-old shortstop Sam Kennelly this year to a $225,000 bonus. He comes from a strong baseball family -- three of his brothers are already playing minor league ball. On top of all that, Kennelly is currently playing in the Australian Baseball League with the Perth Heat, having teammates as much as 15 years older than him, many of whom have major league experience.
So far in the ABL season, Kennelly has started five games at third base, while coming off the bench another three times. He is 3-for-19 on the young season, with three singles, an RBI and one error.
Being just 16-years-old and playing in the ABL against older competition has been an incredible learning experience for the young shortstop.
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.