Michael De La Cruz

Pirates Have Had Success in International Market

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.

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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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  • sammykhalifa

    I wonder if Tito Polo is afraid to go into swimming pools.

    • John Dreker

      Wonder no more, he has no fear of the water. The water fears him

    • John Dreker

      You’ll love this. Tito Polo read this thread and told me(in Spanish) his favorite thing to do in the off-season is swimming. No lie, there is your answer.

      • sammykhalifa

        Geez, that’s hilarious!

        It’s good to know.
        :D

  • leadoff

    John do you know of any top prospects in the international market that the Pirates are interested in?

  • Lee Young

    John…from that article, did we ever sign Yulieski Gourriel,a 29-year-old third baseman from Cuba?

    • John Dreker

      He has not been allowed to leave Cuba yet, so no one has signed him

      • Lee Young

        thx

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