The Pittsburgh Pirates released two minor league players on Thursday, left-handed pitcher Gerardo Navarro and righty Christopher De Leon. The also released minor league outfielder Enyel Vallejo on Saturday.
Navarro is a 22-year-old, who signed with the Pirates out of Mexico in March of 2013. After spending his first season in the DSL, he moved to the GCL in 2014, where he spent the last two seasons. Navarro only threw high 80’s, but had excellent command and kept the ball on the ground. Left-handed pitchers like that usually do well in the lower levels, but have trouble advancing further than Double-A.
De Leon is 23 years old and has been in the Pirates’ system since signing back in November of 2009. He was considered a projectable arm at the time, but never really added any command to his low-90’s velocity after signing as a 17-year-old. He is one of those rare players, who plays the maximum of four years in the DSL and ends up advancing to the U.S. He pitched well for Bristol last year, at one point winning the Appalachian Pitcher of the Week award, but his upside was limited due to his command issues.
Both pitchers looked like they were headed for a bullpen spot for one of the short-season teams. De Leon would have been in his last season before hitting minor league free agency.
On Saturday, 25-year-old outfielder Enyel Vallejo was released. He spent 2015 with Bristol, where he had a .565 OPS in 31 games. Vallejo made it as high as Jamestown in 2014. He was signed as a shortstop in 2012 and skipped over the DSL to the GCL in 2013, though his season was cut short due to a Spring Training injury. Vallejo hit .278/.305/.397 in three seasons, while seeing time at all three outfield spots and both corner infield positions, never playing shortstop as a pro.