The Pittsburgh Pirates have re-signed four minor league free agents, according to Baseball America’s transactions page. The players who will be returning to the organization are RHP Collin Balester, RHP Marek Minarik, RHP Tyler Sample, and OF Junior Sosa.
Balester was signed by the Pirates last year as a minor league free agent as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. Balester spent most of the season rehabbing, and reached as high as Altoona with his rehab. He should be healthy next year, and isn’t a bad guy to have as relief pitching depth, especially with some previous success as a reliever in the majors.
Marek Minarik was signed last year after being released by the Phillies organization. He’s an interesting prospect due to the fact that he was only 21 years old, and is 6′ 7″, 195 pounds. Minarik didn’t have the best control, and didn’t get great results, but spent most of the year working out of the Jamestown rotation, with some time spent in Bristol. He could move up to West Virginia next year, working out of the bullpen.
Tyler Sample is another 6′ 7″ pitcher. He was a Rule 5 pick last year in the minor league portion of the draft. He pitched between Altoona and Bradenton, and while the results were poor due to an extremely bad walk rate, he did fill some important innings throughout the year while other players were injured or promoted to higher levels. Sample should remain an organizational pitcher in the upper levels, and might be an interesting guy if he ever fixes his control issues.
Junior Sosa has been in the Pirates’ system since 2008. He reached Altoona for a bit last year, and posted good numbers in a limited sample. Throughout his career, he has posted a .664 OPS. He’s a small, speedy outfielder who can play all three positions, and will likely be used again as organizational depth.