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.
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.