The July 2nd signing period begins in three days and Ben Badler had a couple names attached to the Pirates. We will expand more on that in tomorrow’s Morning Report. For now though, the ultimate teaser article. One of the players connected to the Pirates can’t sign until his 16th birthday on August 22nd. So we have a name and a great connection to the Pirates, you just won’t hear about him signing for a couple months.

The Pirates have been well connected to Dominican trainer Raul Valera, better know in the international circles as “Banana”. The Pirates have signed numerous players from him and it sounds like this year’s target is Dominican outfielder Jean Robert Eusebio. For your viewing pleasure and for future reference, here are some videos on the soon-to-be 16-year-old, who appears to be headed to the Pirates. He is listed at 6’0″, 160 pounds, though it’s obviously important to point out that his height/weight was from October and he’s young enough to continue to grow.


More video

video #3

I’m just writing stuff to break up the videos at this point

DPL stands for Dominican Prospect League, which is exactly what the name makes it sound like.

You must really like these videos to keep going this far.

Last one, with a very wild pitcher

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  1. I see where a person noted as “BANANA” is referenced in some of the comments. Is this person a buscone?

  2. John … Very minor question but the last two videos seem to show him taking four balls – but no walk. Is this a game? Or some type of training set up?

  3. Correct me if I’m wrong (which could last a longtime) the International signings include any players from countries except Canada?

      • thanks- I heard Luis Clemente talk about a resurgence with PR players allowing them to spend more time in college before eligibility and setting up more “camps”. Be nice if this pipeline could be re-established.

  4. The ball seems to leap off this kid’s bat despite a swing that honestly looks kind of casual. There’s something there, I think.

  5. John, after these kids sign, if they are younger than 16 they are not permitted to play until next year. Do they go home and wait or do they go to the academy and do what exactly?

    • No one signs if they are younger than 16. The players they sign play on the back field at the Dominican academy with other players who signed, other players on tryouts and injured players working their way back. Chances are whoever they sign on Saturday has already been at the academy before on the backfields playing.

      Once the season ends, they go home for about three weeks before returning for the Dominican Fall Instructional League, which lasts about five weeks. Then they come back in April for Spring Training and start playing their first real games that season. Some players go to the academy earlier than April to train

  6. John, let’s agree to disagree. I always root for these kids, even though I think the bonuses the high end prospects get is much to high for the risk reward these players present at the age they sign for.

    • The bonuses are definitely too high. The failure rate of high priced 16 year old players is ridiculous. At one point, they best player among the top 20 signings was Wily Mo Pena. I would take 20 kids at $100K every single year over one at $2M because there is a tremendous chance that kid at $2M never sees the majors, but hitting on 1-2 of 20 talented players is just playing the odds

        • Sano is a great example of why you just don’t know with these players. He was listed as a “five-tool shortstop”. He’s now a below average outfielder, who has zero speed and strikes out a lot. He reached his power potential and his arm was a plus tool before he blew out his elbow, but the position and other three tools aren’t there. If he was the top player in the class and the scouting report missed so bad, imagine how hard it is to get good reads on kids who aren’t as highly touted and it most cases 1-2 years younger when teams agree to deals with them because Sano is the rare example of a player who didn’t have a team until months after his 16th birthday (or 18th if you believe the bone density test he took to “prove” his age). If he can stay healthy he might have a good MLB career, as I’m sure his 0.0 WAR this year is more of a case of pitchers adjusting to him. The point is, he isn’t even close to the player scouting reports had him at and that’s because a lot can change between 16 and when the players fill out.

  7. As I said about 10 or more times this year which Banana prospect are the pirates going to sign this year? Hate to say but it is true that the only trainer in the DR that the pirates can deal with is Banana. Since Gay o blew the Sano signing I do not think other DR trainers trust or want to deal with the pirates. I hope this signing turns out to be as good as Polanco.

    • Trainers go where the money is, plain and simple. They have a price and whichever team meets it, they sign with them. Gayo is very highly respected down in the Dominican. The Pirates have literally signed over 100 players from the Dominican since then and only a few high priced ones have been linked to Banana. He’s one of the top trainers in the Dominican, so he’s going to have a lot of interesting players. That’s not a surprise

    • I can’t imagine a reason for the DR trainers to boycott the Pirates and Gayo because of the Sano situation. Gayo deals with businesses and businessmen. If Gayo has the money to pay for a top prospect, then the Pirates will authentically compete for that prospect. Trainers and agents will take Pirates’ money when it is in their interest to do so.

    • Lol. I thought you were making up some derogatory label for Dominican prospects. I was thinking – “Wow! That’s uncalled for!” And then I read on and realized that Banana was a person

  8. Any updates on the Mexican pitcher and outfielder you had mentioned about a month or two ago?

    • Once we got the budget figures from last year, it was clear there was nothing left to sign them, so we may hear about them on July 2nd. More on that in the Morning Report tomorrow

      • I assumed when you wrote about them earlier they woild be during the next July 2nd signing period anyway. Look forward to reading the update tomorrow. Thanks.

      • Any news on the Eusibio player who just had a birthday this week. Are the Bucs still interested in him ?

        • Nothing yet. Heredia took five days to sign and every knew he was signing with the Pirates, so it isn’t odd for it to not happen right away

  9. It says a lot that nearly all of Badler’s entry on the Pirates is about Marte, Polanco, Ramirez and Heredia, rather than about players they’re going after this year. They’re just not a player in Latin America right now.

    • Have no fear, they are well on their way to a much bigger international bonus pool next year

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