Minor Moves: Pirates Promote Two High Bonus DSL Players to the GCL

Pirates Prospects has learned that the Pittsburgh Pirates are making a couple rare in-season promotions from the Dominican Summer League to the Gulf Coast League. Both Jeremias Portorreal and Gabriel Brito have been promoted to the GCL and they should join the team tomorrow.

Portorreal has been on a hot streak recently, posting a 19-game on base streak through the entire month of July. Then the day after his streak was snapped, he went on a hitting tear, posting a 1.046 OPS in August. In his last 30 games, he has a .324/.445/.448 slash line, with 22 walks and 15 strikeouts. He has nearly cut his strikeout rate in half from last year. Portorreal received a $375,000 signing bonus on his 16th birthday, and he turned 19 earlier this month. He’s a right fielder with a strong arm.

Brito was signed for $200,000 in July of 2014. He’s a catcher with a strong arm, who is still learning behind the plate. Brito is small at 5’9″, 170 pounds, but the Pirates like his arm, the defensive potential, and the advanced approach at the plate. That has shown up with a 13:12 BB/SO ratio in 95 plate appearances, along with a .716 OPS, which is above league average. He has also thrown out 33% of base stealers, slightly up from 29% last year.

Brito was out early in the season with an injury that occurred late in Spring Training, which also happened last year. He suffered a minor hand injury during the 2015 season as well, so he has been limited to 58 games in his two seasons and only 42 behind the plate. He turns 19 in November.

I mentioned yesterday in the Prospect Watch that 1B/C Mikell Granberry suffered a broken left hand on a hit-by-pitch and he would be out 8-10 weeks. Outfielder Felix Vinicio has also been out with an ankle injury recently, leaving the GCL team with only 11 healthy position players. That number is actually ten available for games, as one of the catchers is in the bullpen during the game.

Bringing up Brito and Portorreal means that both of them will be invited to the Fall Instructional League next month. It also gives them some extra games this season, with the DSL ending a week earlier than the GCL does. The GCL Pirates are 2.5 games out of the playoffs, so there is a chance for even more games for them.

** Josh Outman has been released, six weeks after signing with the Pirates. He was signed when Indianapolis had a shortage of pitching due to some injuries and Pirates calling up a few pitchers. Outman made one start and nine relief appearances, with the start coming the day after he signed. He had a 4.95 ERA in 20 innings, with 15 strikeouts, a .308 BAA and a 1.35 WHIP.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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joe s

Just replacements to fill in for injured players. Nothing to get excited about. Both are 19 so they needed to move up to see if they have any potential. Like most international signings hitters these guys like most other bargin basement signings are not true prospects. Until the Pirates open their wallet and spend for quality players guys like these will probably fail. I hope I am wrong.


They were signed at 16. I bet you are wrong.

joe s

I guess no one will see this or care but I am here because I care about the current and future success of the Pirates and I do not think the method they are using to acquire high end international talent since MLB imposed the pool limitations is working. Other teams spend big on what is considered the best available talent while it appears the Pirates take the best player they can afford that has not signed with another team. If I am so wrong then please check out recent posting at Bucs Dugout who for some reason agrees with what I am saying and they write a similar blog to this. So who is right? Does it really matter? I wish these kids the best and hope they all succeed but I think the Pirate method of getting this type of talent is flawed and I disagree with John and Pirate Prospect when they keep saying that it is the best why to do it because you can not judge who will make it at the age they are being signed. Hell its not my money but I wish the Pirates would spend some it.


I somewhat agree with you that the Pirates are not aggressive enough in the Latin market however, it seems that they are becoming the most resourceful organization in the international market as a whole. Scouting Eastern European and Asian markets for talent as well as sending scouts to other “untapped” areas is very interesting and has payed off with Kang and may very soon with Neverauskas. Again, I wish the Pirates would be more aggressive in signing high end Latin talent and follow the MLB trend however, one of the last things you said in your post sums up perfectly why spending high may not be a good idea for a “small market” team – “you can not judge who will make it at the age they are being signed”.


Considering that your post had no facts you can stop hoping.

joe s

You want facts look at Sanchez, Contraes, Valero and other recent signings to see how they are hitting and then tell me I am wrong. Sure there is Marte, Polanco and polo looks good but I do not see much else there. John, we disagree about this. They spent money on these guys and want to give them a chance, so be it but it doesn’t make them prospects at this point


Spending money and guys not playing well are two different things. There is a Latin American cap and the pirates spend the money. They spent money and got Kang from overseas too. They haven’t made a big splash signing but there are some signees that are hitting and pitching well from the last few years despite some poor results overall from the Dominican team. If you are saying they haven’t been doing as good of a job as they were a few years ago I would probably agree. But these kids are 16,17,18 and take a little longer to develop than American High Schoolers so a lot of these kids are 7-9 years away.

J Nader

I’m not sure anyone has any idea what your taking about. Being young, athletic, highly touted when signed, and performing well at an age appropriate level is the actual definition of a prospect

joe s

They are 19 in the DSL. Most players are 17/18 in that league. They are old for it. As I said I hope I am wrong and both become all stars but I have my doubts they will be. It is great to see how invested the fans are but you have to be realistic. Only on this site are these players highly rated. Baseball America did not list either player in its top 20 international prospects in the year they were signed and the bonuses they received might seem like allot of money but in comparison to what other top players got it is chump change. A few short weeks go this site indicted Pot real looked like a bust and I wrote to give him the rest of the season before writing him off and he turned his season around


Interesting how Marte, Polanco, Polo, Garcia, etc… we’re not in that Top 20 list either. In fact, only a small portion of the top kids ever do anything.

Joe I just don’t get why you are here. Preaching to a group of people that believe in the Bucs talent aquisition and development precess, that the PBC sucks, in the face of all there success…

joe s

Not sure John but I recall seeing pirates prospects saying he was a bust and I defended port real saying give him the remainder of the year before writing him off. Check it out and if I am wrong then accept my apology. As in the past we have strongly disagreed on the approach the pirates use to acquire international talent. It is not working as well as you think. Go back 3/4 years and show which players that signed for pirate big money that are doing well. Top 11 signings by bonus only Ramiez is hitting. Please prove me wrong and I will stop writing about it. Compare baseball america top 10 bonus signings over the same time to see if the pirate way holds up. I am only talking about hitters. They can exceed the cap like it seems most teams have done to get a competitive advantage over them

J Nader

Man, you decided to go with zero facts at all, I am impressed. You simply took your opinions on the Front Office’s International approach, skipped reading the article entirely, and posted whatever you want. Bravo

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