Pirates Release Three Minor League Players

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.

  • HartHighPirate
    April 2, 2016 3:31 am

    Navarro could go back and play in Mexico. De Leon at 23 is over the hill after being in the Pirate system since 2009. Obviously both players had no trade-able value.

    • De Leon could continue searching for the Fountain of Youth.

    • John Dreker
      April 2, 2016 8:09 am

      Navarro didn’t know if he was going to play in Mexico or go back to school, but he probably needs to time to take everything in before he decides.

    • My feeling, though I’m not sure, is that not a whole lot of the minor league guys have any trade value at all. I’d like to talk to someone in the know to see just where the line is. John – that may be a good subject for a future article. Granted, maybe the top 30 prospects have varying values, but there are probably 200 guys in minor league camp, if not more.

      • John Dreker
        April 2, 2016 5:44 pm

        They have 25 guys on each full-season roster, 35 on each short-season roster, so that is 240 right there. Add in injured players and some extra players in case of injury and you have about 260 players in the system from mid-June to September. The number is about 20-25 less right now because some of the mid-June ones come from the draft.