Pirates Release Nine Minor League Players

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced that they have released nine minor league players, while also signing two international players. Here are the names of the players they released. We will add details shortly.

Matt Benedict was drafted in the 30th round in 2011 and made it as far as AAA. He is a sinkerball pitcher with good size, though he lacked velocity and the polish to be anything more than upper level depth. He turned 27 back in February.

Palmer Betts was drafted in the 36th round in 2014 and struggled during his two seasons with Bristol. While the results weren’t good, he is still 21(22 in April) and throws low-90’s.

Jesus Paredes is a 23-year-old lefty, who missed most of last year due to a shoulder injury. He’s never pitched above the GCL and had command issues, so he was far from a prospect at this point.

Jonathan Minier is already 26 years old, though he didn’t sign until he was 23. He has excellent velocity and has put up some strong results in the past, though he did it while battling control issues.

Jake Thompson was signed as a minor league free agent last July and never actually pitched in the Pirates’ system. He is a 26-year-old righty, who pitched part of the 2014 season in AAA.

Eric Dorsch is a huge(6’8″, 263 pounds) righty, who was drafted in the 15th round in 2014. He can hit 95 MPH, but was very inconsistent with his velocity, sitting high 80’s at times. The Pirates sent him to West Virginia last year and he struggled, ending up in Morgantown where the results were unspectacular.

Reggie Cerda is a strong defensive catcher with no bat, literally. He went the entire 2015 GCL season without a hit, serving as the third-string catcher. He’s just 21, but already had four seasons in the system and looked destined for a backup job with one of the lower level teams.

Bealyn Chourio turns 22 at the end of this month, yet he already had five seasons in the system, topping out at Bristol. He’s an athletic shortstop, though he didn’t have the bat to go much further

Carlos Ozuna was the high-priced player among this group, signing for $115,000 in 2011. He was signed as a shortstop, but he has seen limited time there the last two seasons. The 22-year-old struggled at the plate the last two years at Bristol.

There is almost no current information on the international players, so they will have to be updated later. Claudio Scotto is a 17-year-old RHP signed out of Italy. He’s 6’5″, 220 pounds and is currently representing his home country in the European Academies Spring Tournament, which ends today. He has played MLB sponsored international tournaments since 2012. The other player is Yair Babilonia, a catcher for Colombia, who has a strong amateur history. We will try to find out more info on these players.

  • So, they bring in a bunch of guys every July after the amateur draft, and then the half-season leagues start up, it only makes sense that the minors need to be trimmed before the season , since there is one less team to play for. Is that what this is?

  • Pirates again sign international players that no one else knows. Maybe they hit the jackpot or just had money left over from last year’s international pool

  • Patrick Kelly
    March 23, 2016 2:40 pm

    Surprised they let Benedict go. He wasn’t really a prospect, but was always available to fill in with a spot start at each level above A+.

    • Someone else will probably take that role this year. It’s a numbers game, with more arms than spots at the upper levels

  • Maybe “No List” Osuna wasn’t getting any love because NH kept confusing him for Ozuna. Hopefully now he gets a shot! 🙂

    • Wilbur Miller
      March 23, 2016 2:05 pm

      Tim filled me in on the Legend of No List yesterday, so this is pretty funny.

    • Can someone fill me in on the “No List” story?

      • Not sure how you don’t know it because it’s been mentioned A TON in the comments, but it’s a nickname for Jose Osuna because he isn’t on any top lists and one person in the world thinks he should be.

        • Eric Marshall
          March 23, 2016 2:56 pm

          I personally believe he should be… so maybe there are two of us out there believing in Osuna being a top prospect. 🙂

        • I think there are more than one of us – but maybe I am wrong. My biggest issue is that he just seems to be odd man out a lot of the time – shares at bats and has to play OF when his best position would appear to be first base. Will be interesting to see how he is used in the first couple of months.

          • Osuna didn’t even get mentioned by Farnsworth of Fansgraph in his honorable mentions outside the top 22. I am with you on this guy…I hope he rakes this year and forces his way into the planning.

          • It’s not like the Pirates were holding him back. He was their highest international signing in 2009 and they skipped him from the GCL to WV as a teenager, so they liked him from the start. Osuna’s problem was that he would swing at bad pitches, expanding his zone with runners on base. He makes consistent contact, so even when he chased, he would put the ball in play, he just wasn’t doing it with authority most of the time, and he doesn’t like to take pitches.

            As I reported during winter coverage, reports are that he has become a more patient hitter, starting at the end of the Altoona season and it carried over into winter ball. He was swinging at better pitches, being more selective at the plate. So far, that has worked for him. So it wouldn’t be a surprise if he did well this year because he made the adjustment he needed to make. He also got in better shape, so that will help. Not that he was in bad shape, but he had room for improvement and did it.

          • I don’t think it will be all that interesting. Meadows is out for the first few weeks so I imagine he’ll probably do what he did last year and play in the OF.

          • You have a good point – even if all you look at is the P2 Ratings of position players listed right before him. Osuna is only 22 and played at Hi A (174 AB’s)/AA (323 AB’s) with a combined .285, @ .800 OPS, 32 doubles, 12 HR’s. He played OF/DH in Hi A and 1B in AA and he fielded well at 1B.

            His P2 rating was #37. Logan Hill (age 22) ranked #36, Casey Hughston (age 21) ranked #35 and Mitchell Tolman (age 21) ranked #34, and all were in Short-Season. The next position player was Connor Joe (age 23) who played at Lo A and ranked #32. All of these guys right around the same age and 2 or 3 levels below Osuna?

            Give him some love guys!

        • Think that is a gross miss-statement Mr. Dreker. There are a lot of people who have been watching No List, and can’t believe his “invisibility” to prospect list.
          And I won’t bother to list all the players that PP has had listed ahead of No List who are no longer in baseball.
          Flipping through the 2014 PP Guide today gave me a ton of laughs
          Go Stetson!.

          • We have had him in our prospect guide for four straight seasons, so I’m not sure what you are talking about with “no list”. At least call him “four list” if you want to be accurate. Also, I beg of you to name a player from the Pirates who got more mention here during the winter. #begging

            You seem to want extra attention for the player who got the most attention. If we mentioned him anymore this winter we would have had to change the site name

            • Wilbur Miller
              March 23, 2016 10:56 pm

              Just wait’ll you see how many teams are lining up to pick him in the Rule 5 draft once he’s eligible.

              Oh . . . wait . . . . . . . .

              • There is usually one player who breaks out per year and we get accused of ignoring them, yet they have been mentioned 100’s of times on the site. Last year it killed me to have people say “Who is Carlos Munoz?” when I wrote about him so many times in the past. We had reports dating back to his first season in pro ball and here he was in his fifth year.

                Osuna is a great one though because there probably isn’t a player who has been seen more than him by people on the site. I was getting reports on him before he came to the states too, but since then he has been seen every single year multiple times by multiple people. Tim spent 2 1/2 years watching him in Bradenton during the season. The spring is the sixth one that he has been covered live and once the season starts it too will be the sixth season. We’ve even had coverage in the Instructional League for him.

                You literally couldn’t pick a worse player to accuse us of ignoring because anyone else who got as much attention is at the very top of the prospect list or in the majors.

          • One thing I’ve never understood about this:

            Every single outlet has Osuna ranked lower than where you want him ranked. I’m not even sure where that is, since some outlets have a top 10, some have a top 20, and some have a top 30 (we have him in our top 40).

            The Pirates give him plenty of playing time, but don’t give him the treatment of a top 10, 20, or 30 prospect (maybe top 30, since they move him around to get playing time).

            There seems to be a consensus between the rankings (with many individuals having many different ranking styles) and the Pirates (it would be in their best interest to give him a big role if he is as good as you think) on Osuna’s value.

            With all of that known, I always wonder why you have this campaign. Why are you ignoring every outlet and suggesting everyone else is wrong? No one is actually saying Osuna isn’t a prospect, just that he’s not one of the absolute best in the system. The Pirates don’t even give him that treatment. So I’m curious what it is about Osuna that makes you think people are ranking him too low by saying he’s a prospect, but not one of the best in the system. What makes him one of the best?

            Also, you mention the 2014 Prospect Guide. Did you get the 2012 book, where he was rated 27th overall, ahead of Willy Garcia, Alen Hanson, and Gregory Polanco?

            Prospect rankings are a snapshot in time. You mention 2014, and that came after a .655 OPS in Bradenton, which isn’t what you want from a 1B prospect. The fact that we still had him in the top 50 that year shows how high we have been on him, which has been consistent from the start.

            When I’m this high on a player (I don’t think I’ve ever been this high on a player), and everyone else disagrees with me, I usually take a big step back and wonder if I’m wrong on the guy. Am I projecting out what is likely to happen, or what I want to happen?

            • This is a blatant conspiracy. I have been reading lists all my life and never has an OSUNA appeared on one. This goes deeper than PP!

        • Here is the comment from John Sickels’ current book.

          “Jose Osuna has been a steady producer in his six-year career: wRC+ 128 in 2014, 131 in High-A in 2015, and 118 after moving up to Double-A late last spring, very similar to what he did at lower levels. He hits .280 or so everywhere and he has enough power to be useful, though he never manages to push his way out of the crowd and into the spotlight. Part of this is due to defensive limitations: he’s okay at first base but lacks the speed and range to be more than a marginal corner outfielder. And as a first baseman, he just doesn’t hit with quite the authority that teams are looking for. He is still fairly young at age 23 and if he can find a way to generate more power, that might change. Grade C.”

          Fair enough, from my perspective. It is very hard for a low-minors 1B only prospect to generate much love unless he has a special bat. It’s even harder if he is a RH hitter. Osuna has a good bat, but it’s Carlos Munoz who has the special one.

          • As mentioned above in the comment with the link, Osuna made a change to generate more power and it worked in winter ball. We will see if it carries over to the regular season, or he goes back to old habits.

      • Someone on this site (LongJohn perhaps?) refers to Osuna as “No List” presumably because he feels that Osuna doesn’t get enough attention/opportunity.