Ben Badler from Baseball America posted his annual review of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ international signings on Thursday morning. He covered ten players total in the write-up, which can be viewed here. Most of the signings were covered here, but he does have notes on four of the players signed, for whom information wasn’t available when their signings were announced. You can read more in our 2015 international signing tracker, which has notes on some players who weren’t mentioned by Badler today. Our chart is for the 2015-16 signing period, which goes from July 2, 2015 until June 15, 2016 (there are no signings allowed from June 16-July 1). Badler’s review is for the entire year, so it includes anything from January 1, 2015 until December 31, 2015.
Starting with pitcher Yeudry Manzanillo, who is a 17-year-old right-handed pitcher from the Dominican. He’s 6’3″, 175 pounds, with a high 80’s fastball and room to add velocity. He throws a curve and a change that both need work. He signed for $150,000 on July 2nd.
Shortstop Rodolfo Castro also signed for $150,000, though he didn’t sign until October. He’s a defensive-minded 16-year-old, who they think will stick at shortstop. Castro is a switch-hitter with average speed. His glove is well ahead of his bat.
Outfielder Carlos Garcia signed for $110,000 on July 14th. Badler says that the Pirates were impressed with his line drive approach at the plate and overall hitting ability. He’s not a toolsy player, limited to a corner outfield spot due to his speed and lack of arm strength, so the bat is going to have to carry him. He’s 16 years old and hits from the left side.
Finally, Badler mentioned a week ago about pitchers hitting 100 MPH, who nobody knows and had the Pirates’ Joel Cesar on the list. He’s a small, 20-year-old righty, who could be a bargain with a $50,000 bonus. We got a report from the Dominican instructional league that he was hitting 97 MPH, but didn’t have the best command. According to Badler, he was sitting 91-94 when the Pirates signed him, but quickly showed an increase in velocity and topped out at 100 MPH shortly after signing.
One additional note to Badler’s review, which I highly recommend reading. Pitcher Leandro Pina got a $115,000 bonus and was signed on July 2nd, which isn’t listed in the article.
We will have updated scouting reports on these players and some other lesser signings once the DSL season gets closer. The players headed for the DSL report to camp next week, and it looks like it could be an interesting group with 18 players on the 35-man roster who received six-figure bonuses. The roster will also include a handful of players like Joel Cesar, who signed for under $100,000, but they still have excellent scouting reports.