Pirates Prospects » International News http://www.piratesprospects.com Your best source for news on the Pittsburgh Pirates and their minor league system. Mon, 19 May 2014 05:48:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Pirates Have Had Success in International Market http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/05/pirates-have-had-success-in-international-market.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/05/pirates-have-had-success-in-international-market.html#comments Mon, 05 May 2014 15:34:09 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=78159 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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International and Amateur Draft Bonus Numbers Released http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/international-and-amateur-draft-bonus-numbers-released.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/international-and-amateur-draft-bonus-numbers-released.html#comments Wed, 02 Apr 2014 06:01:49 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=75407 Jim Callis has posted the bonus pool amounts for the 2014 amateur draft and international signings. Due to their finish in the standings, the Pittsburgh Pirates are in the bottom 1/3 of each list.

For the draft pool, the Pirates will have $5,606,100 to spend on their picks in the first ten rounds combined. That ranks them 21st overall. The Pirates pick 24th overall and they also have a competitive balance pick after the second round. They select 65th and 74th overall. As Callis explains, these numbers could change slightly if Stephen Drew and/or Kendrys Morales sign with a team before the draft starts.

As for the international signing period, which begins on July 2nd, the Pirates rank 26th overall. They will have $1,930,400 to spend. That shouldn’t be a problem for the Pirates, as they have had success finding hidden gems like Starling Marte($85,000) and Gregory Polanco for $150k. They tend to shy away from the higher priced players, sticking to mid-range six figure bonuses, while making occasional exceptions in the cases of Luis Heredia and Harold Ramirez.

One of the downfalls of the new draft system is that it rewards failure, so when a team like the Pirates finish well like they did last year, they get penalized twice in the amateur ranks the following season. There will be extra pressure on the scouts this year to stretch the limited funds they are allotted.

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Pirates 2013 International Signing Recap http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/pirates-2013-international-signing-recap.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/pirates-2013-international-signing-recap.html#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 15:41:34 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=73821 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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Pirates International Players Who Could Make the Jump to the US in 2014 http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/pirates-international-players-who-could-make-the-jump-to-the-us-in-2014.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/pirates-international-players-who-could-make-the-jump-to-the-us-in-2014.html#comments Fri, 28 Feb 2014 18:59:20 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=73364 The Pittsburgh Pirates will have a lot of new international players in minor league camp this year, with 39 guys making the jump to the US for Spring Training. Not all of these players are guaranteed to stay in the US. There have been several cases where a player spends time in Spring Training, only to return to the DSL for the start of the season. However, it seems that in this case, the Pirates will have a lot of guys coming up, mostly due to the addition of the Bristol Pirates.

With one additional farm team to fill, the Pirates will need plenty of extra players, and not all of those players will be coming from the 2014 draft. So it makes sense that they will basically be bringing up enough players from the DSL for one and a half teams, since those guys will now be needed for two short season teams at the rookie ball level.

Here is a list of the players who are already in camp, or who are expected to be in camp this year. The notable players are highlighted below the list.

Dario Agrazal
Alexis Bastardo
Omar Basulto
Jose Batista
Marcus Beltrez
Luis Benitez
Reggie Cerda
Bealyn Chourio
Remy DeAza
Michael De La Cruz
Christopher DeLeon
Edgar Figueroa
Miguel Ferreras
Deybi Garcia
Hector Garcia
Rudy Guzman
Cristian Henriquez
Nick Hutchings
Sam Kennelly
Jen-Lei Liao
Junior Lopez
Arquimedes Lorenzo
Carlos Marquez
Andres Mendoza
Jonathan Minier
Carlos Munoz
Edgard Munoz
Gerardo Navarro
Jesus Paredes
Tito Polo
Horelbin Ramos
Jose Regalado
Pablo Reyes
Ramon Rodriguez
Carlos Ruiz
Jose Salazar
Dan Urbina
Jandy Vasquez
Eduardo Vera

The Guys to Watch

Michael De La Cruz - He’s the top prospect coming out of the DSL this year, and our 20th best prospect in the system. Read about him here.

Alexis Bastardo, Tito Polo, Jose Regalado, Pablo Reyes, Dario Agrazal - All made John Dreker’s top ten prospects from the 2013 DSL Pirates. You can read their scouting reports at that link.

Jose Batista, Eduardo Figueroa, Rudy Guzman, Christian Henriquez, Carlos Munoz, Ramon Rodriguez, Dan Urbina, Eduardo Vera - All of these guys were on the “ten more to watch” list from the above 2013 DSL link.

Jen-Lei Liao - A 6′ 6″ pitcher who was recently signed out of Taiwan. Read about him here and here.

Sam Kennelly and Nick Hutchings - Both players were signed out of Australia during the 2012-13 signing period. Kennelly, a shortstop, received a $225,000 bonus, and has three brothers in pro ball, all playing in the minors. John Dreker profiled Kennelly over the off-season.

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Are the Pirates the Top Team in Latin America? http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/are-the-pirates-the-top-team-in-latin-america.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/are-the-pirates-the-top-team-in-latin-america.html#comments Thu, 20 Feb 2014 14:00:19 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=72809 The Pittsburgh Pirates will enter the 2014 season with Starling Marte as their starting left-fielder. By mid-season, Gregory Polanco could join the team as the starting right-fielder. Alen Hanson and Joely Rodriguez are both slated to begin the 2014 season in Altoona, and both could arrive in the majors as early as mid-2015. All four players were signed out of the Dominican Republic. The total cost for all four players was under $400,000, which is less than one league minimum player in the majors.

It’s hard to believe that not too long ago the Pirates had almost no focus in the Dominican Republic. On Wednesday afternoon, Pirates owner Bob Nutting referred to the old program as “inadequate”, referring not only to the facility, but also to the commitment in scouting and signing bonuses in the area.

“We’ve completely refocused, and I believe we have the premiere program in Latin America now,” Nutting said.

The Pirates' Dominican Academy, which opened in 2008.

The Pirates’ Dominican Academy, which opened in 2008.

It all started when Nutting invested $5 M in the Dominican Academy, which immediately became a model for other teams when they were building their own academy.

“There’s a number of facilities down there — and in my talking after going down there, reaching out — there’s a number of people who have recreated the facility that we have as they’ve went and toured all of these to build their own,” Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle said. “We seem to be on the cutting edge in front of the line as far as what people want.”

The facility in the Dominican is very similar to Pirate City. There is a school for all of the players that focuses on the personal and educational side, and there is a staff that focuses on the development and strengthening of each player. One of the most successful aspects of the Dominican Academy so far has been the ability for the Pirates to sign small kids, and put them through a program to add weight and muscle to help bring out their abilities. We’re starting to see prime evidence of that with Gregory Polanco, who was just a tall, skinny, and somewhat awkward kid when he was signed, and is now very muscular and about as well rounded of a prospect as you could ask for.

Hurdle went down to the Dominican for five days over the winter and toured the facility. He came away impressed not only with the facility, but even with the staff working at the facility.

“I was so impressed by the five days we spent down there,” Hurdle said. “The passion the people that work for us have. The people at the cafeteria. The people that work the grounds. The clubhouse staff. And then to watch the players come in and embrace this opportunity and get competitive. We’re getting better players. You’re seeing some of those players, this is another wave coming up that have gone through our academy, graduated through our academy.”

One of the big reasons for success in the Dominican has been the ability to add muscle to skinny players, using weight rooms like the one pictured.

One of the big reasons for success in the Dominican has been the ability to add muscle to skinny players, using weight rooms like the one pictured.

That passion should be there. It should have always been there. This is Roberto Clemente’s organization. Over 40 years after his tragic passing, he’s still an icon in Latin America. He’s what every player aspires to become. The fact that the Pirates let that advantage and let their mark on Latin America slip away, even for a short time, can only be described as shameful. But they’re starting to get all of that back now.

“I’ve heard from guys in Puerto Rico, I’ve heard from guys who went to Mexico, I’ve heard from guys that went to Venezuela with all of the Latin ties that the Pirates used to have, those are being re-created and re-ignited as well,” Hurdle said, noting that this was especially the case in the Dominican.

But it’s not just about building an academy. You need players to put in that academy. You need a commitment to spending at the international level, and you need good scouts who can find good players, especially when the Pirates can’t afford to out-bid other teams for their top guys. One of the first things Neal Huntington did when he took over was increase the annual budget to around $3 M. The team went over that on some occasions, usually when signing special players, such as the $3 M they spent on Luis Heredia, or the $1.05 M they spent on Harold Ramirez.

“The other piece that makes the Dominican Academy really work effectively is the people and the support team that we have,” Nutting said, citing Rene Gayo’s work and the commitment to development down in the Dominican. Hurdle also mentioned the work that Gayo and his scouts have done.

“Rene Gayo and then the other scouts that have been involved in that program have done a professional job and we’re making waves,” Hurdle said. “There’s no doubt we’re creating waves within our organization by the guys that are now moved up.”

Gayo and his crew have done an outstanding job finding talented players without having to pay big dollars for that talent. Aside from the four players who are currently in big league camp, there have been other success stories. Harold Ramirez is a consensus choice as one of the top ten prospects in the system. Michael De La Cruz is being picked as one of the next international breakout prospects. Those two cost more than guys like Polanco, with Ramirez costing $1.05 M and De La Cruz coming in at $700,000. But those are much less than some of the top bonuses in the Dominican, and those two cases in particular are cases where the Pirates saw talent and value where other teams saw a player that wasn’t worth the money. Now? More people are seeing what the Pirates originally saw.

The Pirates clearly have a good program in the Dominican Republic, both in their acquisition of players, and their academy. All you need to do to see this is look at guys like Marte, Polanco, Hanson, and Rodriguez making their way through the system. However, Bob Nutting saying the Pirates have the premiere program comes with an asterisk, just like Clint Hurdle saying the Pirates are on the cutting edge in front of the line for what people want from a Dominican Academy. Those statements might be true, they might be close to being true, but you really need to hear from someone outside of the organization. So I turned to Ben Badler of Baseball America, who in my opinion is the go-to objective source for international prospects.

I asked Ben about the comments that Nutting made about the Pirates being the premiere program in Latin America to get his thoughts on the subject.

The Pirates have been one of baseball’s elite teams in Latin America over the last several years. They have one young rising star in Starling Marte who’s already done it in the big leagues, and another in Gregory Polanco who should join him this year and has an even higher ceiling. Not many teams can match that 1-2 punch of premium, impact talent from their international program, but there’s depth beyond them at all levels from a variety of countries, whether it’s Alen Hanson, Harold Ramirez, Luis Heredia or Michael de la Cruz, among others, plus Dilson Herrera, who was used to bring in Marlon Byrd from the Mets last year. You can debate whether they’re the No. 1 team in Latin America, but it’s clear they’re among the top five teams in Latin America based on the players they’ve signed in the last several years.
I also asked Ben about Hurdle’s comments on the quality of the Dominican academy, and whether other teams use it as a guide.
They made a serious commitment with their Dominican academy, and other teams do mention it as one of the best on the island. There is a wide level of variance in the quality of MLB teams’ academies in the Dominican Republic, but the relatively newer ones like the Pirates, Padres and some other clubs have are all considered to be first-rate facilities by everyone I talk to who has been to them. Ultimately what matters is signing the best players, but one of the major aspects of developing players, especially international ones, is taking away any off-field distractions or impediments that could take away from a player’s performance and development on the field. Having a top-shelf academy in the Dominican Republic for players to live and play can certainly help in that regard.
So even outside the organization, the Pirates are seen as one of the top programs in Latin America, with one of the best academies. That’s a huge leap from where they were about six years ago. And if the payoff is a wave of talent led by guys like Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte, then the money spent on the Dominican academy and all of the money poured in to Latin America over the last six years has been worth every penny.
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Michael De La Cruz Named A Breakout International Prospect http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/michael-de-la-cruz-named-an-breakout-international-prospect.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/michael-de-la-cruz-named-an-breakout-international-prospect.html#comments Fri, 14 Feb 2014 18:45:49 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=72464 Baseball America released their top ten list of potential breakouts among international players and the Pittsburgh Pirates Michael de la Cruz made the list. The 17-year-old center fielder was ranked #20 in our 2014 Prospect Guide, the first international player that made our top 50 list before playing in the United States since Luis Heredia.

Baseball America calls him “one of the most exciting players in the Dominican Summer League in 2013″ and they say his skills should transfer over well to the Gulf Coast League this season. They praised his plus speed, plate patience and believe he has the ability to stick in center field.

De la Cruz was signed by the Pirates in July of 2012 for a $700,000 bonus. He hit .292/.436/.367 in his rookie season in 2013, drawing 58 walks in 62 games. He is a potential five tool player, who already has an advanced feel at the plate. He was also named as our top international prospect to watch this past season.

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International Links: Two Players Pirates Have Scouted http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/international-links-two-players-pirates-have-scouted.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/international-links-two-players-pirates-have-scouted.html#comments Sat, 08 Feb 2014 21:32:47 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=72240 A couple international players have been mentioned recently with Pittsburgh Pirates scouts attached to their stories. One is a veteran with a long international track record, while the other would be part of the 2014 July 2nd signing class.

The first is a player from Cuba, who may be one of those rare players from that country that are allowed to leave to pursue baseball elsewhere. Yulieski Gourriel is a 29-year-old third baseman, who played for Team Cuba during the Caribbean World Series. The country has a program that allows a player that they feel will return to the country afterwards, to play elsewhere besides Cuba. Last year, a Cuban player named Alfredo Despaigne was allowed to play in the Mexican League. Gourriel is quoted in the linked article, mentioning that he would like to play in the U.S. and asked for permission to play last year, but Despaigne was the one allowed to participate in the program.

Rene Gayo, the Pittsburgh Pirates head scout in Latin America, has scouted Gourriel in the past and got a chance to see him again at the Caribbean World Series this week. According to Gayo, he has lost a step since his younger days, but he is athletic and a solid-average tools player that can swing the bat well, which should carry over to the Majors. Gourriel has a long history of international competition, including two Olympics and all three World Baseball Classics. He went 4-for-15 in the Caribbean Series, with three doubles and two stolen bases. In the 2009 WBC, he hit .333 in six games, with two homers and six RBIs and in last year’s WBC, he hit .308 with a homer and four RBIs.

The Pirates obviously have a third baseman for the near future, but it’s possible if the bat plays well, they could find a spot for him across the diamond. For now, it’s a player worth keeping in the back of your mind.

The second player is a much younger player out of Mexico. Alonso Garcia is a 15-year-old right-handed pitcher, who will be eligible to sign this July. His birthday is May 30th, so he can sign as soon as the July 2nd signing period starts. The Pirates invited him to tryouts at their Dominican Academy today and they have also held tryouts for him in the past at their academy. There is said to be a strong interest with the Pirates in signing him.

Garcia has already played in Pennsylvania before, as a member of the team from Mexico in the 2011 Little League World Series. Baseball Factory has a video of Garcia from the World Series, where he was already a decent pitcher three years ago. He gave up two runs and had ten strikeouts in eight innings, all against the team from Japan. Garcia has good size now(he was 5’7″ at age 12) and was last clocked in the 84/85 MPH range and supposedly has a good repertoire of pitches. According to a local article (in Spanish) it also seems like there is a lot of interest from Garcia about signing with the Pirates.

A final bit of international news. The Perth Heat won the Australian League title today. The Pirates Sam Kennelly started both games of the finals at third base and went 1-for-9 with an RBI, which came on a bases loaded hit-by-pitch.

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Pirates Spent $2.58 M in International Bonuses in 2013 http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/pirates-spent-more-than-their-international-bonus-pool-in-2013.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/02/pirates-spent-more-than-their-international-bonus-pool-in-2013.html#comments Tue, 04 Feb 2014 17:55:52 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=72145 Baseball America has released the 2013 International bonus estimates for each Major League team. The Pittsburgh Pirates ended up spending an estimated $2.58 M, which ranked 20th in the majors. Originally I wrote that this number had exceeded their $2.426 M bonus pool in 2013-14. However, the bonuses were just for the 2013 season, and included bonuses for the 2012-13 signing period. It appears the figures went along with Ben Badler’s article today, talking about how international spending was up in 2013, despite the new limits to restrict spending.

If the Pirates go over their bonus pool by more than 5%, they would be subject to a 75% tax and they would be restricted from spending more than $500 K on any individual player during the 2014-15 signing period. The Pirates don’t usually spend big on individual players, and they have a small bonus pool in 2014-15, so it’s unlikely that this would be a problem. However, right now the entire 2013-14 bonus pool numbers are incomplete, and they haven’t gone over the 5% limit.

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Small Markets Go From No Chance to Small Chance For Japanese Players http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/12/small-markets-go-from-no-chance-to-small-chance-for-japanese-players.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/12/small-markets-go-from-no-chance-to-small-chance-for-japanese-players.html#comments Fri, 06 Dec 2013 18:50:14 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=70152 Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball came to a new agreement this week on the posting fee for Japanese free agents. Previously, NPB teams would post players for free agency, and the highest bidding MLB team would have exclusive negotiating rights for that player. This led to a lot of high bids, with players like Yu Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka commanding $50 M just for teams to negotiate with the players. That money was only paid when teams ended up signing the player, which would cost around an additional $50 M for top players. The combined costs meant that small market teams had no chance at landing the top players out of Japan.

The new deal that was reached set a maximum bid of $20 M for players coming out of Japan. Furthermore, any team that bid $20 M had the opportunity to negotiate with the player. This new rule means that there’s no reason for any team to avoid making the maximum bid on a guy like Masahiro Tanaka. Only the team that signs him pays the $20 M, meaning there’s no risk in placing a bid. What this means is that every team can bid the maximum for Tanaka, essentially making him a free agent.

This new rule and the lowered price allows small market teams like the Pirates the opportunity to bid on top players like Tanaka. However, since Tanaka would basically be a free agent, and since free agency favors big market teams, the odds of a small market team landing a top player from Japan are still small.

When you consider the potential price of a player, you have to consider things from the team perspective. In the past, teams were spending $100 M for five years on guys like Darvish and Dice-K. Half of that went to the player, with the other half going to the NPB team. For the player, it meant he was accepting $10 M per year. For the team, it didn’t matter who was getting the money, since they were paying $20 M per year for the player in the end.

The lowered posting fees just means that more money can now go to the player. Instead of a guy like Tanaka getting $50 M for five years, he can now get $80 M for five years. The players from Japan will get more, teams will be spending the same amount overall, and the NPB teams will be getting less. Very few teams can afford to pay $20 M per year on any player, much less a player who has zero major league experience.

Teams like the Pirates now have a chance to bid on a guy like Tanaka. However, their chances of landing him are pretty much the same as their chances of landing any other free agent who will command $20 M or more per year.

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Pittsburgh Pirates Sign Three Players From Mexico http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/10/pittsburgh-pirates-sign-three-players-from-mexico.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/10/pittsburgh-pirates-sign-three-players-from-mexico.html#comments Thu, 17 Oct 2013 20:38:27 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=67974 The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed 17-year-old right-handed pitcher Eumir Sepúlveda and 18-year-old right-hander Carlos Bustamante, both out of Mexico. They will report to the Pirates facility in the Dominican and begin their pro career in the Dominican Summer League next year. Sepulveda took a leap forward in the last year, adding eight MPH to his fastball. He is a highly accomplished amateur pitch, who was also scouted by the Boston Red Sox. The Pirates have been following Bustamante for several months and they believe he has considerable potential.

Both players were signed by Pirates scout Jesus Valdez and they are the fourth and fifth players the Pirates have signed from Leones de Yucatan of the Mexican League. In 2012, the Pirates signed pitchers Omar Basulto and Eduardo Vera, plus first baseman Julio Perez. Basulto was invited to the Fall Instructional League this year.

A third player was signed on Thursday, an 18-year-old catcher named Mikell Granberry, who is also from the Leones de Yucatan club. He is a catcher, who is said to be an athletic receiver, that is strong defensively, with a plus arm and strong hands. He has above average speed on the basepaths for a catcher and he makes good contact at the plate, though his hitting needs work to reach his potential. Like Sepulveda and Bustamante, Granberry will begin his career in the Dominican Summer League next year. You can view two videos of Granberry below, one catching and one hitting.

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