According to Baseball America, the Pittsburgh Pirates rank third among all teams in baseball for international players signed since 2006. Baseball America ranked the Pirates farm system first overall at the beginning of the year and the team’s top 30 prospects list has 12 players that were signed as international free agents. That is tied for the fourth highest total among all 30 teams.
As for the success of the Pirates since 2006, the keys to the list are Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco, who they say is now possibly one of the top five prospects in baseball. BA also points to the signings of Harold Ramirez, who was the top ranked player in the New York-Penn League last year and Michael de la Cruz, who was named as one of the best DSL/VSL prospects and a top international breakout candidate. They were both signings that were questioned by some scouts, but both players have performed beyond expectations so far.
The system also has Alen Hanson and Luis Heredia ranked in the top ten, Joely Rodriguez just outside that group and plenty of potential sleeper prospects such as Elvis Escobar and Edwin Espinal, who are both playing for West Virginia. There are also players such as Tito Polo, who should start in the GCL this season. He is a potential five-tool player, who saw plenty of time in the Colombian Winter League this off-season against mostly older competition and held his own. Polo won’t show up in any prospect rankings now, but he could change all of that by the end of the season.