Pittsburgh Pirates Sign Dominican Outfielder Juan Pie; Venezuelan Outfielder Angel Basabe

As expected, the Pittsburgh Pirates have signed 16-year-old Dominican outfielder Juan Pie this morning. The July 2nd international signing period begins today and we should expect to hear some more signings throughout the day. Pie agreed to a deal for $500,000 according to multiple sources. The Pirates have a $5.75M bonus pool to spend this year, which is more than they have had the last two signing periods combined.

We posted an article on Pie, with multiple videos, which I encourage you to check out. In that article, Pie got the following scouting report:

“Ben Badler describes Pie as a 6’2″, 170 pound, left-handed hitter, with a quick bat. Other sources have him slightly bigger at 6’3″, 175 pounds. He makes consistent contact and uses the entire field as a line drive hitter. His bat will be his carrying tool, as he’s limited to corner outfield due to average speed at best, an average arm and a below average instincts in the field. For what it’s worth, his Dominican Prospect League scouting report has him rated higher as both a runner and an outfielder. He turned 16 on April 1st.”

I’ll add that since then I have heard others describe his arm as below average, but as a 16-year-old with plenty of room to fill out, that’s something that can improve.

UPDATE: 2:00 PM: Pirates GM Neal Huntington was asked about Pie before today’s game and had this to say on the 16-year-old outfielder:

“We love the bat. On multiple looks, it was the bat that stood out. There’s a frame for growth and additional strength as we move forward, but primarily interested in the swing, the impact, how he goes about it. We liked a lot of the bat attributes.”

UPDATE: Jesse Sanchez from MLB.com is reporting that the Pirates have signed Venezuelan outfielder Angel Basabe for $450,000. The only information he gave on him is that he has been training/living in Panama, so he is someone we will get a better update on later.

We will have a signing tracker up later today and keep it updated throughout the year. This signing period runs until June 15th

  • Nuke Laloosh
    July 5, 2017 9:08 am

    Although I agree that signing 16 year old players is a “crap shoot”, who comes up with the rankings? The Pirates year in and year are not mentioned with any of these players. Their philosophy is what? I assume to sign as many as possible and hope a few make it up the ladder. Statistically it would be interesting to know how many of their signings make it to the Big Club compared to other teams. I’m not saying they don’t know what they are doing with the International signings. I just would like to see that it’s working.

  • Here was an opportunity for the organization to make a big splash and sign one of the better rated prospects. Hell they could have paid out 2 million in a bonus to one player and still had 3 + million to spread around. So they sign Pie and as I said so many times and been ridiculed for it, he is another half player, this time good hit and poor everything else. Usually it is the other way around, no hit and great everything else. I have to disagree with the PP writers on this. Scouts can tell talent when they see it whether it is in a 16 year old or 18 year old. To say that the players getting the larger bonuses is a joke is pathetic. So we once again agree to disagree. Funny but isn’t Pie another in a long list of Banana player signings. There was Portreal, Contrayes, (sorry for misspellings but don’t want to look them up) Sanchez and now Pie. Always one of the Pirates largest signings seems like every year goes to this trainer’s players. You have to ask yourself why does this happen year after year? Am I missing something here? Does anyone else realize this is happening and do you ever ask yourself why? If not, I think you should start to question it. Why not take a chance and spend big on one of the top rated players? Could it be that none of the players or trainers want to sign with the Pirates? Other teams seem to clean up year after year with the better rated players, the Yankees, Red Sox, Texas, Seattle, Cards and now even the Brewers. Even teams that can’t spend over $300,000 seem to me at least to get better players to sign with them then the Pirates. Why? Is management telling Gayo not to spend more then $500,000 on any player? If so, why is that? Could the Heridia signing be the cause, since he is doing poorly?
    Whether you believe it or not, I want the players they sign to succeed, even the half players and scrap heap pickups. However, the truth as far as I see it and you don’t have to agree with me, is that the Pirates are not competitive in the international market and things much change to improve that.

    • So so much complaining and armchair experts everywhere.

      Did you even read what John commented the other day? They didn’t even know they could make a ‘big splash’.

      “One of the big problems is that they got that pool in November and by that time, many of the top players have already agreed to terms with some other team. This isn’t anything like the draft. Teams agree with players on deals when they are 14-15 all the time. Without knowing they would have a bonus pool that more than doubled in size, that means they went about it as business as usual. That could change for next July 2nd because they had 20 months advance notice.”

      And here’s another link you can read:

      Not saying it’s not disappointing that they aren’t signing big names but I am sick of people arguing that they aren’t signing because they aren’t trying.

      • Bill Harvey
        July 2, 2017 12:33 pm

        A lot of the angst probably comes from the Sano fiasco. We had an agreement with Sano, but his trainer refused to let him sign with the Pirates, and held out until the Twins came in with a better offer.

      • Wait. Help me understand something. Are the pirates saying they are disadvantaged because they learned they had a big bonus pool after other teams had already recruited and committed other top talents? Do the pirates learn about their bonus pool later than other teams? Are other teams engaging in unethical practices that the Pirates refuse to copy? The international pool system was designed to help underperforming teams, just like the draft. If the Pirates are saying the strategies ignore other teams are eliminating that advantage, is that really an excuse? Obviously I’m not clear on the particulars here. Can someone educate me?

        • i assume they mean with the cba changes. the pirates made deals with players months, maybe years in advance, knowing they had a 2m budget (hypothetical, i don’t know their actual budget).

          when the cba changed, they were given a budget of 4.25m. then this spring, they gained an additional million or so of money because they were awarded a comp pick. so they basically were given a lot more money than they possibly thought. but since international deals are agreed upon before these changes were even made….the pirates essentially, have money, but no one to spend it on. next year should be a lot different.

          if i’m wrong, someone please correct me.

        • John Dreker
          July 2, 2017 1:49 pm

          The Pirates didn’t say anything. International players usually agree to contracts well in advance of when they sign. What I said is that the Pirates didn’t know they would have a $5.75M budget this year until it was announced in November. By that time, many players have already verbally agreed on deals you are seeing today.

          If the CBA rules didn’t change, the Pirates would have had about $2.7M to spend this year, so that’s a huge difference.

          The thing that changes now is their ability to go after different/more players in the future because they know they are working with a bigger budget

      • Sure I read what he said and I have a different opinion. How do you know they are trying to sign the top rated prospects? Bottom line is we nor Pirates prospects knows what the Pirates are doing. If they get a player to the majors great. However it seems to becoming more difficult to do. They are having success with pitching but not so much with hitters. Don’t you think the Pirates have agreements with these kids year’s before they sign? Has nothing to do with bonus pools being established. Let’s just hope they secured a future star with these signings. Thanks for your comment. I like to stir the pot and get people thinking.

        • Of course bonus pools matter. How else do you agree terms with top prospects who want 3.8M to sign?

          You’re like “they have agreements before bonus pools are established” and lol, that is exactly what John said. That is why the Pirates, who did not know that their pool will be increased, could not go for bigger names this year.

          I have zero clue what you want the Pirates to do. Just tell top rated prospects we’ll give you 3M if you sign with us and hope the pool will be larger than that?

    • let say the pirates spent 4 million on 8-10 players and 1.5 million on the rest. I would think they have better chance on hitting on more players than tampa bay, who spent 3.8 million on one player.

      • Daryl Restly
        July 2, 2017 3:14 pm

        I have to agree turks44. It’s all a crapshoot when you’re talking about 16 year olds. The only thing is that as a team, you do your homework and due diligence to target the most talented players and the players that project to become good to great baseball players.

      • Let’s revisit this in five year’s and then see who is right. If I was a Tampa fan I would be delighted with what they did and I think you and the others on this site would be to. Ask yourself this are you rooting for BA z to succeed or the 39 pick in this year’s draft if he signed?

    • History has shown that about 80-85 % of those Top 50 players fail to make the majors or become marginal big leaguers.

      Do some research Joe, before you complain about the Pirate methods.

      • meatygettingsaucy
        July 2, 2017 3:25 pm

        leefoo. Don’t be foolish. Spending money = success

        • Spending money WISELY = Success.

          • So no one can explain the Banana connection to the Pirates and why his players seem to always get the Pirates highest bonus? Wonder why that is. Since you are so well informed about this why not explain it for the rest of us. Not picking on you but you are last in comment line. Let’s get quality not quantity and then cry about failures and wasted money.

      • Opinions are what they are, just that. Why don’t you provide the facts that support your statement. I bet your wrong. I think the failure rate is higher then you stated. See now I have passed the work on to you, so start your analysis and print what you find so we can see who is right.

  • Believe I’ll have a slice of pie today as a good luck tribute to the young man and the Buccos.

  • hopefully, he’s better than felix

    • John Dreker
      July 2, 2017 11:44 am

      Would be nice, but the chances of signing someone better than a guy who played 425 Major League games are extremely slim

      • i’m surprised it’s that many. also, former pirates legend felix pie, eh??

  • Joseph Willis
    July 2, 2017 9:48 am

    Are there any other top prospects on mlb or ba lists not linked to anyone the pirates have a chance at?

    • John Dreker
      July 2, 2017 9:59 am

      If by chance you mean have the money available, then yes, the Pirates received the biggest bonus pool this year

      • Joseph Willis
        July 2, 2017 10:04 am

        I knew that from the site I was wondering if anyone in the top fifty on any list wasn’t already set by rumors to be signing with another club. Like any of the guys from Venezuela that aren’t going to be announced today

        • John Dreker
          July 2, 2017 10:10 am

          The top 50 from BA had about 4-5 players without teams. I can guarantee that no team in baseball is looking at that list for players to sign. A top 50 list for high school seniors changes drastically from April to June, so imagine what a list of 16 year old players does over the same short time span,especially with a much bigger group of players to choose from.

          I’m not knocking the effort they put into that list, I know it is a tremendous amount of work, but it’s really just a list of 50 names who are good now and 5+ years away from the majors if everything goes perfect. I’m sure a scout in the Dominican could give you 100 different names who they feel are much better than half of that list.

          • Joseph Willis
            July 2, 2017 10:37 am

            So I guess what you are saying is we need to get more subscribers to get Tim and international writer in about five different countries? Obviously a joke but at least it would something we could trust

            • John Dreker
              July 2, 2017 11:20 am

              Assuming that was a real possibly just for fun, you couldn’t get a great feel on players at that age and their potential upside. For one, players are still growing. We have seen many players listed as taller once they reach the states. You have to trust the Pirates scouts to find talent at a young age, follow them long enough to get a good feel, and then get them before someone else does. That’s tough to do when some players are agreeing at 14 years old. That’s a crazy age to make a verbal commitment to a player. That’s also one of the reasons why so many high-priced signings fail.

              • I do wonder how much of international signings are luck. Any idea if there are advanced metrics being used for these picks? By that I don’t mean gathering statistics for 14-15 games, but physical attributes that are most likely to succeed.

                • John Dreker
                  July 2, 2017 12:49 pm

                  I can’t speak for every team, but the Pirates look for projectable frames. Not every kid who is tall and lanky can put on weight and fill out the same, so you have to look for the right frame. Scouts down there visit with parents/family to get an idea of what a player could develop into when they eventually fill out. They look at hands, feet, stuff like that, which most people wouldn’t even consider. A pitcher with long fingers will be able to grip a ball different. If you’ve ever seen the videos from the Dominican, there isn’t anything advanced going on. International scouting is much different from the amateur draft, even though the goal is the same.