First Pitch: Moving on From Appel? International Potential.

Here’s a few quick thoughts on Wednesday’s action to wrap up the day.

**The Pirates signed right-handed prep pitcher Hayden Hurst. No word on the bonus yet, although I’d have to think it was over-slot. I’ve heard that the Pirates were turned down on one other over-slot offer tonight. The Pirates were willing to go over-slot if the player signed tonight. Between that and Hurst, you’ve got to wonder if the talk of Mark Appel going back to school is for real.

**The Pirates signed Michael DeLaCruz for $700 K, matching the bonus given to Julio DeLaCruz last week (no relation). A lot of guys in the international ranks have the same descriptions. Five tool talents. Speed. Athleticism. One of the biggest myths is that there’s a huge gap between players who sign in July and players who sign in November. The players who are signed, are signed because they show those tools. However, they’re raw, which means the most important thing going forward is their ability to learn the game.

That’s really the difference between a five tool talent like Gavi Nivar and someone like Gregory Polanco. Both are tall, projectable outfielders with a lot of good tools. The difference is Polanco made the necessary adjustments to translate his talent on to the field, leading to his breakout season in West Virginia this year at the age of 20. Nivar is 22 years old and still in the GCL for the third straight year. Both of the DeLaCruz signings brought in guys with that raw talent. The most important thing will be turning that raw talent in to legitimate prospects. There’s a reason I don’t rank new international prospects in the top 50. There’s a long road from a guy with potential signing, and that same guy becoming a legitimate prospect, putting up the numbers you’d expect from a prospect.

Links and Notes

**Prospect Watch: Colton Cain Continues Hot Streak.

**Joely Rodriguez and Adrian Sampson Pitch Spikes to Victory.

**Pirates Sign Dominican Outfielder for $700 K.

**Pirates Sign 17th Round Pick Hayden Hurst.

**Justin Upton Rumors: Wednesday.

**Zoltan Bonding Club, Fans Together.

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Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.

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F Lang

If Appel doesn’t sign it would only figure that the Pirates would be the first team to get burned by the new rules. How do you tell a kid with Appel’s talent “Sorry, we want to sign you, but the rules that are supposed to create fairness won’t let us.” It is embarrassing for all parties involved. Not surprising from the mlb, where a one game exhibition decides home field advantage in the World Series, and blackout rules date back to when Roberto Clemente was still playing.


Somehow I can’t see Appel signing for “only” 3.8 million or so after all that has gone on…

Lee Young

Note to Mark Appel….pls turn down the $2.9m slot money. And pls google one Matt Harrington. Pls.

Lee Young

Note to Mark Appel….pls turn down the $2.9m slot money. And pls google one Matt Harrington. Pls.


Great story…a good reminder for all athletes not to let it go to your head…


Losing Appel is not something we should be hoping for. We will not get a better talent at #9 next year. This was a rare opportunity to get a top 5 talent at a later pick.


Next years draft is supposed to be deeper and it gives them 2 first round picks and if the current team finishes better one is going to be late round pick. It is not the end of the world if he does not sign. In an ideal world he signs for the max that they can offer him and they assign him to Bradenton or he takes Cole’s route through the AFL.


I don’t think that’s true regarding next year’s draft. Callis says its about the same as this year and Law says its worse. At any rate we will likely get a 9th overall talent next year instead of a top 5 guy, thus we do indeed lose the chance to get a more elite talent by not signing him. Its not a complete loss by any stretch, but we do lose something.
Its not the end of the world but it would be disappointing. Now if we don’t sign him I’d sure like to see Brandon Thomas and Walker Buehler. Of course we will only have maybe half a million to work with since we lose the $2.9 million slot from our budget.

Ian Rothermund

If only Jesus would show him the way…

Have either of you heard this guy talk? I’m always amazed by how religious some extremely talented, extremely white people are. If he’s thankful for the Lord allowing him to throw 97, should I be disappointed because I only ever topped off at 85? lol. Some people get all the breaks, lol.

I just want Friday to come so at least there’s some answer, and we can all move past this annoyance. I don’t remember the Pedro, or even the Cole, negotiations being this irritating. They’re Boras guys too, right?


Pretty sure there are some extremely talented, extremely black people who are religious as well. Reggie White, anyone?


Pedro’s was much worse, it went right to midnight and then after the draft Boras claimed we cheated the clock through Coonelly. The whole thing dragged on after the deadline.

Mike Brannagan

Pretty sure that both Cole and Alvarez signed on the very last day, Alvarez for sure. He was signed at basically 11:59 pm (when the deadline was midnight), seem to recall MLB had to review the signing to verify that it occurred before midnight. Boras is a tool, he thinks he can break the system. What the Pirates are offering Appel is above and beyond the slot and they are offering the max they can without losing a draft pick next year. Another Boras client Almora (#6 of the Cubs) signed for over slot at 3.9 million, Pirates are offering somewhere between 3.5 &#8 211; 3.8 million for the #8 pick, seems more than reasonable.
Not sure what leverage he will have next year as a college senior, he could move up in the draft but he will only be offered slot (why give a bonus to a man with few options), may end up higher in the draft but make less money.
The negatives for him are that he loses a year of being in a pro system, has a chance of hurting himself in college, has a chance of not being drafted higher.
He will sign, if not hope he falls to #9 next year and the Pirates take him again and sign him for the slot amount.

Lee Young

I left out my sarcasm icon. He’s stupid to turn down $3mil.

Steve Dimmick

never heard of that story, man he must be kicking himself right about now. I didnt know you can take insurance out on yourself because of “loss of skill”??? I could retire early and say it’s because of “loss of skill” of pushing papers.

Lee Young



Morale of the story is don’t let greed get the better of you!!

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