Pirates Prospects has learned that the Pittsburgh Pirates signed two pitchers from Venezuela this afternoon. They are 17-year-old left-hander Luis Diaz and 16-year-old righty Kleiner Machado. Diaz got a $50,000 bonus, while Machado received $90,000.
Diaz got the smaller bonus, but he is currently the better player. He has a clean delivery and can hit 92 MPH with little effort. He also has a good frame. He was eligible to sign last year, but experienced tremendous growth over the past year. At this time last year, he was throwing high-70’s, but he jumped up to high-80’s, which got the Pirates’ attention and he now sits 89-92 MPH.
We also learned about the signings of three pitchers from the Dominican Republic, though two of them were actually signed right before the last signing period ended on June 15th. Leandro Pina is 16 years old and he’s the July 2nd signing, who got a $115,000 bonus. Wilmer Contreras and Randy Jimenez got $85,000 and $100,000 respectively. Jimenez is a lefty with a clean delivery, while the other two are RHP.
You can view the international tracker here, which now has seven players the Pirates have signed since the July 2nd period has started.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.
Keep them coming. Maybe the Bucs get lucky and one of them makes it to the show.