The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed two young pitchers from Mexico, agreeing to contracts with Jherson Esqueda and Gerardo Navarro on Friday. According to the link (in Spanish) the pitchers belonged to the Veracruz Red Eagles of the Mexican Baseball League.
Esqueda is an 18-year-old right-hander, who is an accomplished International pitcher. He was being watched closely by the Pirates since early last year. At the time, he was throwing 85-88 MPH. Navarro is a 6’2″, 194 pound 19-year-old lefty from Mazatlan. During a tryout last August in Mazatlan, Rene Gayo named Navarro as the best of the group and said he planned on trying to sign him.
Both pitchers played Winter ball for the Veracruz team in the MBL. Esqueda threw ten innings, posting a 5.40 ERA with two strikeouts, while Navarro had a 5.13 ERA in 33.1 innings, with 19 strikeouts and a .240 BAA.
The scouting report on both players lists them as projectable arms, with good bodies and mound instincts.
UPDATE: Esqueda is the brother of Carlos Esqueda, who has spent the last three season with the Pirates DSL/VSL teams. Navarro’s father, Adolfo Navarro, pitched for 14 years in the Mexican League.
We also found an example of Esqueda’s strong International resume from August of 2011. In the 16 & under International Baseball Federation tournament, Esqueda allowed one run over seven innings to Australia, striking out a tournament high eight batters. Six days later, he battled through extremely poor defense for three innings, giving up eight unearned runs. Playing for his local team four months earlier in the Peimbert Camacho League, Esqueda threw five no-hit innings against older competition