Pittsburgh Pirates Release Another Large Group of Minor Leaguers; Espinal Signs with Tigers

Julio de la Cruz never made it to full-season ball with the Pirates in five seasons. Photo Credit: Tim Williams
Pittsburgh Pirates Release Another Large Group of Minor Leaguers; Espinal Signs with Tigers
John Dreker

A day after we announced that the Pittsburgh Pirates released eight minor league players, Pirates Prospects has learned that the total group was expanded to 15 players released this week. Here are the seven additional players, along with a brief write-up on each of them.

Julio de la Cruz is the big ticket name in this group, signing for a $700,000 bonus in 2012, which is more than the other 14 released players received in combined bonuses. De la Cruz never turned into the power hitting third baseman that the Pirates thought he could be when he signed. The odd thing about him is that he was one of the best hitters at Pirate City each of the last two years in Extended Spring Training, but couldn't hit against the same level of pitching once the real games started. De la Cruz hit .218/.286...

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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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