Pirates Prospects » International News http://www.piratesprospects.com Your best source for news on the Pittsburgh Pirates and their minor league system. Sat, 02 Aug 2014 05:25:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Pirates Sign Colombian Catcher Roberto Noguera http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/pirates-sign-colombian-catcher-roberto-noguera.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/pirates-sign-colombian-catcher-roberto-noguera.html#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 16:49:20 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=83221 The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed 17-year-old Colombian catcher Roberto Noguera. He trained at the Baseball Academy of Gaujira (Academia de Beisbol del Gaujira) and he was signed by Orlando Covo on July 2nd. Noguera was born on May 15, 1997 which made him eligible to sign during last year’s July 2nd signing period. According to this article in Spanish (which has three photos of Noguera, including him batting right-handed) he has already traveled to the Pirates Dominican Academy. Another article from April linked the Pirates to Noguera back then, but MLB has a period where team’s cannot sign International players, so he had to wait until July 2nd to sign.

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Pittsburgh Pirates Sign Eighth International Prospect http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/pittsburgh-pirates-sign-eighth-international-prospect.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/pittsburgh-pirates-sign-eighth-international-prospect.html#comments Fri, 04 Jul 2014 04:43:50 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=82946 The Pittsburgh Pirates have made their eighth international signing of the July 2nd signing period according to Jesse Sanchez at MLB.com. There is very little information available on the newest player. His name is Jerry De Los Santos and he is a 16-year-old right-hander out of the Dominican, who signed for a $100,000 bonus. No other information is available at this time. We will have more on De Los Santos in the near future.

You can find information on the other seven signings in our international draft signing tracker. The Pirates have just $540,400 left in their international signing bonus pool, though that number could be lower as every signing may not have been announced yet.

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Pittsburgh Pirates Sign Pitcher Roger Santana http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/pittsburgh-pirates-sign-pitcher-roger-santana.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/pittsburgh-pirates-sign-pitcher-roger-santana.html#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 18:58:06 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=82909 The Pittsburgh Pirates have made their seventh six-figure bonus signing this July 2nd signing period, inking left-handed pitcher Roger Santana for a $100,000 bonus. He is a 16-year-old from the Dominican, who stand 6’1″, 170 pounds and throws a fastball in the 85-89 MPH range. Santana also throws a curve ball with good potential.

The 2014 international signing tracker has been updated with links to all seven players the Pirates have signed.  They have spent nearly $1.3 Mil of their $1,930,400 bonus pool already.

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Pittsburgh Pirates Sign Pitcher Adonis Pichardo http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/pittsburgh-pirates-sign-pitcher-adonis-pichardo.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/pittsburgh-pirates-sign-pitcher-adonis-pichardo.html#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 18:06:33 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=82900 The Pittsburgh Pirates have made their sixth big international signing since the July 2nd period opened, though this one is a bit different than the other five from yesterday. They got right-hander Adonis Pichardo out of the Dominican. He is 18 years old already, which means he has been eligible to sign before this signing period began, but he has only recently established himself as a prospect. Pichardo began as an outfielder, switching to the mound eight months ago according to Ben Badler. He is raw for a pitcher, but displays good arm action and a fastball that can reach 92 MPH. The Pirates gave him a $105,000 bonus.

The international signing tracker is updated with all the known players signed. The Pirates have spent nearly $1.2 Mil of their $1,930,400 bonus pool.

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Pirates Sign Pitcher Brian Sousa http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/pirates-sign-pitcher-brian-sousa.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/pirates-sign-pitcher-brian-sousa.html#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 04:21:53 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=82869 The Pittsburgh Pirates signed right-handed pitcher Brian Sousa to a $160,000 bonus on Wednesday. He was mentioned in our July 2nd article about targets for the Pirates, though the article where he was first connected to the Pirates, called him Bryan Sosa. He is 16 years old, 6’4″, 165 pounds and was called one of the top pitchers from Panama in this signing class. Ben Badler mentioned that he is a sinker/slider pitcher that doesn’t throw hard now, though he has a good feel for pitching and should add velocity as he fills out. He also throws on a downhill plane already, which is a key for most pitchers in the Pirates system.

The Pirates have signed five players to six-figure contracts, totaling over $1 Mil between them. Links for all of them can be found here.

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Pirates Sign Pitcher Domingo Robles http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/pirates-sign-pitcher-domingo-robles.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/pirates-sign-pitcher-domingo-robles.html#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 03:58:33 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=82865 The day started off slow for international signings for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but the news has really picked up at night. The first day of the July 2nd signing period has now seen the Pirates sign four players for six-figure bonuses. The latest one announced by Ben Badler is left-handed pitcher Domingo Robles. He is a 6’2″, 170 pound, 16-year-old from the Dominican. Badler describes him as having good arm action that produces an 87 MPH fastball that has good sink and downhill action to it. He also projects to add velocity in the future. He signed for a $175,000 bonus.

The Pirates have now spent $925,000 on their top four announced picks. That amount equals almost 50% of their total bonus pool for this signing period.

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Pirates Sign Catcher Gabriel Brito http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/pirates-sign-catcher-gabriel-brito.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/pirates-sign-catcher-gabriel-brito.html#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 03:02:05 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=82853 We have our third six-figure July 2nd signing from the Pittsburgh Pirates. They signed catcher Gabriel Brito for a $200,000 bonus. He is on the small side for a catcher at 5’10″, 160 pounds, though he is only 16 years old, so he still could grow and will obviously fill out. Brito is a smart player with a strong arm and a line drive stroke from the right side.

The international signing tracker is updated with all three signings from today.

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Pirates Sign Shortstop Christopher Perez http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/pirates-sign-shortstop-christopher-perez.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/pirates-sign-shortstop-christopher-perez.html#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 02:51:28 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=82847 The Pittsburgh Pirates have made their second big international signing, getting shortstop Christopher Perez out of the Dominican. The 6’1″, 170 pound infielder signed for a $150,000 bonus. According to Ben Badler on Baseball America, Perez has a line-drive stroke from the right side. He has good bat speed and uses the entire field.

Earlier in the day, the Pirates signed outfielder Yondry Contreras, who was their top target in this July 2nd draft class.

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Pittsburgh Pirates Sign Outfielder Yondry Contreras http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/pittsburgh-pirates-sign-outfielder-yondry-contreras.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/pittsburgh-pirates-sign-outfielder-yondry-contreras.html#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 20:56:42 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=82836 The Pittsburgh Pirates have made their first signing of the July 2nd international signing period, inking a deal with 16-year-old  Dominican outfielder Yondry Contreras for a $400k bonus. He is 6’1″, 175 pounds, bats and throws righty. More on him shortly

Here is video of Contreras throwing and hitting. It shows up about a minute into the clip.

In our July 2nd preview, Contreras was the top name mentioned for the Pirates, so their got their biggest known target. Ben Badler from Baseball America described Contreras as an athletic player, with a strong arm and good speed. He also has a quick swing, but lacks plate patience. At his age, that is still something that can be taught, but it was the reason some scouts weren’t high on him. Pirates have had a recent history of finding good young international players that weren’t universally liked by scouts, so this could be another diamond in the rough.

You can find our 2014 international signing tracker here to keep up on all of the Pirates’ signings throughout the year.

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July 2nd Preview: The Pirates’ Successful Approach in the International Market http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/july-2nd-preview-the-pirates-successful-approach-in-the-international-market.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/july-2nd-preview-the-pirates-successful-approach-in-the-international-market.html#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 00:58:34 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=82758 Don’t expect the Pittsburgh Pirates to land any big names in the international market once the 2014-15 signing period begins tomorrow. That’s not to say that they won’t land any big talents.

The approach the Pirates have had in Latin America in previous years has been very successful, especially when it comes to finding cheap talent. There’s no greater evidence of this than with Gregory Polanco, who is currently in the majors and looks like a future star, but who was signed for $150,000 in 2009. In fact, Polanco wasn’t even a July 2nd signing. The July 2nd date is usually significant for 16-year-old players who are eligible to sign for the first time. Polanco had been eligible to sign for over a year when he finally signed with the Pirates. And his deal came in April 2009, which isn’t when you expect a lot of top talents to be signed.

Polanco isn’t the only example of the Pirates finding talent for cheap prices. Starling Marte was signed under Dave Littlefield, but the Latin American signings are largely the responsibility of Rene Gayo, who was with the Pirates under both management groups. Gayo signed Marte for $85,000.

Current top prospects who were signed for cheap include Alen Hanson ($90,000) and Joely Rodriguez ($55,000). Last year the Pirates traded Dilson Herrera as a big piece to get outfielder Marlon Byrd. Herrera cost $220,000. Even some of the players who the Pirates have spent money on have come at a value. Harold Ramirez cost $1.05 M, but might have ended up costing more if other teams saw what the Pirates saw when it came to his overall skill package. Those other teams are starting to see what the Pirates saw. Ramirez was named the top prospect in the NYPL last year by Baseball America, and currently has a 23-game hitting streak in West Virginia.

Every year on July 2nd, the focus is largely on the top 30 prospects. The difference between the top 30 prospects in the draft and the top 30 in the international market is that the international rankings are largely based on who will get the biggest bonuses. There are many problems with this approach. For one, it’s easier in Latin America to dig for diamonds in the rough. There isn’t much organized baseball down there, which means teams rely much more on scouts to unearth players that very few people have seen or know about.

There’s also the fact that these are 16-year-old kids we’re talking about. A $150,000 athletic outfielder might turn out to be better than a $1 M athletic outfielder in no time at all. The Pirates tend to draft athletic players who show the ability to hit, which might be why they’ve been so successful. This market seems to be a game of attrition. Your odds are probably going to be better in finding a stud if you sign five players for a total of $1 M than signing one player for that same amount.

The 2014 Market

Baseball America previewed their top 30 prospects, and offered predictions on where each player will end up signing. One thing that stands out with the predictions is that the Yankees plan to go all-in this year with the spending. They’re predicted to sign ten of the top 30 players, despite only having a bonus pool of a little more than $2 M. They’re most likely going to go well over that pool, incurring fines and restricting their ability to spend next year. If a team spends more than 15 percent of their bonus pool, they can’t sign a player for more than $250,000 the following year. The Cubs and Rangers are restricted in this way for the current signing period.

There are several things wrong with this current system. I’m not sure if the Yankees approach is one of them. Sure, they’re going to go crazy this year, but they’re going to be severely limited next year. And it’s not like this will guarantee them success. The Pirates are good in the international market because of their scouting, and because that scouting staff is big enough to cover a larger area than most teams. I don’t know the size of the Yankees international scouting staff, but I do know that there have always been teams who make up for a lack of scouting by throwing a lot of money at players.

The approach by the Yankees won’t really hurt the Pirates, since the Pirates are rarely in on top prospects. The bigger injustice here is that the Yankees have more money to spend than the Pirates, since the Pirates finished with a better record last year. That does hurt the Pirates. They became a winner in part because of their focus on the international scene. That’s going to play a bigger role going forward. Their budget used to be $3 M per year. This year they have $1,930,400 to spend, which is a cut of $1.1 M from what they would spend in the previous CBA.

The Pirates should still be able to sign good players, since they don’t have a need to spend a lot of money to find talent. Last year their biggest expense was $400,000 for shortstop Adrian Valerio. They also spent $375,000 on outfielder Jeremias Portorreal. I’d expect the same level of signings this year. John Dreker wrote an article yesterday, focusing on three names that have been connected to the Pirates. The biggest name seems to be Yondry Contreras, a center fielder with speed, a good arm, and a quick swing. That’s a typical combination for the Pirates.

The Pirates could sign a few guys tomorrow, but don’t expect any big splashes. It won’t be a surprise if they do get some talented players, but it might take a few years before we even see how that talent works out on the field in the US.

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