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Pirates 2013 International Signing Recap

Ben Badler from Baseball America released his recap of the 2013 signings by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Most of the bigger names are released when they sign, but as we saw with Badler’s recap last year, a player like Johan De Jesus could sign for $200,000 and there was no mention of it anywhere.

Here is a look at what we know already, with notes below from Badler’s recap.

In March, the Pirates signed Jherson Esqueda and Gerardo Navarro, two pitchers from Mexico. Both pitched in the Dominican Summer League in 2013. Navarro has already moved to the states and is in minor league camp.

The next signing of note happened during the July 2nd signing period when the Pirates inked Edinson Lantigua for $275,000 on July 3rd. He is a center fielder with a strong arm, who hits line drives, showing occasional power.

Next up was shortstop Adrian Valerio, who is a defensive wizard that will stick at shortstop as he works his way up the system. His bat needs some work, but his defense was so outstanding for his age that the Pirates gave him a $400,000 bonus. You can view a video of Valerio here.

The third big signing from the July 2nd signing period was left-handed hitting Jeremias Portorreal for $375,000. The link includes a video of Portorreal, who has a strong bat, with projectable power. He will likely play left field or first base.

In early July, there were seven players signed and announced at the same time, five of them were pitchers. The list included Yunior Montero, who due to identification problems, has now signed with the Pirates three times. Another pitcher named Junior Lopez made the jump to the states without throwing a pitch in the DSL, though it should be noted that he was already 22 years old when he signed.

About ten days later, three young players out of Venezuela signed. Outfielder Eliezer Ramirez looks to be the best of the bunch. He makes good contact, has power potential and a strong arm. The other two were lefty Nestor Oronel and righty Edgardo Leon, two pitchers with good sinking fastballs.

Colombian pitcher Luis Escobar didn’t get much press when he signed, but the reports we got were good and he signed for a reported $150,000 bonus. From November 2012(when he was already eligible to sign) until August 2013, Escobar added four MPH to his fastball, getting it up to 94 MPH.

In Mid-October, three players from Mexico signed. There were two right-handed pitchers and a catcher named Mikell Granberry, who is strong defensively, with a plus arm. There are two videos of Granberry in the link.

Notes From Ben Badler

Badler notes that Eliezer Ramirez signed for $120,000 and Hector Garcia received $190,000. Neither had signing numbers mentioned when they signed. Garcia has been hitting 92 MPH, improving quickly on his original numbers when he signed. He spent the season in the DSL and pitched well, then moved to Bradenton for this Spring.

He also mentions Jose Batista, who we covered all season in the Dominican Summer League. He has already been moved to Bradenton this Spring. Batista signed for $120,000 and looked like a bargain. We got strong reports on Batista, including control that improved drastically over a short period of time early in the season.

Badler notes that they signed a total of 33 players. Some of them were the roster fillers during the regular season and expect to see more of those this year with so many players moving to the states and two full DSL rosters to fill.

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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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