Back on July 2nd, the Pittsburgh Pirates signed a total of 20 international players. Teams don’t really announce international signings too often. They are usually announced by people like Ben Badler with Baseball America or Jesse Sanchez, who works for MLB. In fact, Sanchez announced all nine of the players the Pirates signed for at least $100,000 this year. The other way you find out players the Pirates sign is by me checking articles in Spanish daily.

I was able to get a six of the other names within a few days of the July 2nd announcement, but that still left five unknown names from that busy first day. The Pirates obviously signed at least three players shortly after July 2nd because we now know 23 names from the start of the signing period.

We announced the signings of Panamanian pitcher Jose Amaya (one of two pitchers the Pirates signed out of Panama), Colombian pitchers Yandy Vega and Andres Arrieta, center fielder Randy Romero, outfielder Cristian Navarro and left-handed pitcher Mario Garcia, all out of Mexico. We also announced the signing of Shendrik Apostel, the younger brother of prospect Sherten Apostel. He was signed well after the first group of 20 players. Navarro is currently at Pirate City for the Fall Instructional League, which is unusual for someone who was signed as an international free agent three months earlier.

Now we have seven more names to add to the list of players signed this July. Below you will find their name, age, position, height/weight and birthplace where available.

Eddy Vargas, 19-year-old (turns 20 on October 12th) left-handed pitcher from the Dominican. He’s 6’0″, 170 pounds.

Joseivin Medina, 17-year-old lefty throwing/hitting outfielder from the Dominican. He’s 6’4″, 190 pounds.

Juan Henriquez, 20-year-old (turns 21 on October 22nd) right-handed pitcher. He’s 6’3″, 185 pounds.

Bryan Mateo, 18-year-old (turns 19 on October 20th) lefty throwing/hitting outfielder from the Dominican. He’s 6’2″, 180 pounds.

Jose Maldonado, 18-year-old right-handed pitcher from the Dominican. He’s 6’2″, 169 pounds.

Robinson Ramos, 19-year-old catcher, right-handed hitter from the Dominican. He’s 5’11”, 185 pounds.

Wandi Encarnacion, 20-year-old right-handed pitcher from the Dominican. He’s 6’5″, 190 pounds.

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17 COMMENTS

  1. Once again the Pirates appear to be bottom feeders during the International signing period. If these kids were any good someone would have signed them one or two years ago. Do we spend anywhere near the limit each year? That Dominican academy has not produced much. I would have expected a ML ready catcher or middle infielder by now. Maybe teams such as Atlanta with shady dealings are hard to beat.

    • Check the link from the first day. There was an obvious reason why you didn’t hear about these players sooner, but we had nine names the first day. All nine of those players received six figure bonuses. These are the rest of the signings that took three months for someone (me) to find out.

      The part about kids signing at 16 isn’t always true. Yeudy Garcia, Edgar Santana, Junior Lopez all went to college first because their parents wanted them to get an education first before they signed. Matthew Mercedes, who signed last year, wasn’t allowed to sign until after he graduated high school. Huascar Fuentes had to basically run away from home to sign at 21 because he wasn’t allowed to be a baseball player by his parents. Not every good player signs at 16. Some of them don’t because no one meets their bonus demand.

      The other most obvious part is that plenty of college players went undrafted out of high school and then went on to become high draft picks. So saying someone great can’t develop after 16 is completely false.

      • All of what you said above John is certainly true, but it is also true that the Pirates are still essentially bottom feeders – nothing has changed, which is remarkable when you consider the little they have to show for their current strategy.

        When it comes to the top 50-100 International prospects each and every year, the Pirates are a complete non-factor. Needless to say, their lower levels of their system reflect that – precious few legitimate position player prospects.

        Until the team changes and decides it actually wants to win and compete, expect more mediocrity….

        • Elias Diaz, Jose Osuna, Starling Marte, Gregoy Polanco, Edgar Santana. Yep, the Pirates get nothing out of their Latin signings. Not to mention Edwin Espinal or Yeudy Garcia.

          You guys are sending mixed messages – you want more Latin prospects but you want the Pirates to up their average bonus money by 5x or more when they have a fixed budget. You can’t have it both ways.

  2. Typical pirate haul in this last bunch of signings. Most if not all are over 16 years old. Maybe they matured late and became viable options to sign but more likely they are just fillers to round out the DSL team next year. I hope there is a true star or two in this mix but if all teams passed on them for years in most cases I doubt the Pirates have uncovered some true prospects here. I think it is time for the Pirates to get over the Heredia signing for big money, which at this point is a failure on Gayo/the Pirates part and take a chance on a few more high cost signings in the hope that one of them turns out to be a true star and I am not talking about a Polanco star, who I still have hopes for.

  3. I assume it’s just coincidence but it’s a little weird the three you have known birthdays for are all within the next two weeks.

    • I know the birthdays for all of them, just none of the others were close to their birthday now so it wasn’t worth mentioning. If I found out the names back in July, I wouldn’t have mentioned any of those three either.

  4. But you notice that there’s not a 16 year old mentioned. The Pirates idea of signing more players that are more financially viable hasn’t worked. If I recall the article I read correctly the Pirates only have a total of 17 Latin American kids in A and high A ball. That figure is dwarfed by the number that teams who are willing to pay have at the same levels. I feel sorry for Rene Gayo,

    • Some good names there….Encarnacion, Mateo, Maldonado….oh wait. 🙂

      If we can hit on one or two of these guys each year, we’ll be fine.

      • Glad you’re back on this site. And yes, quantity has its merits. Just need a Polanco or Marte every 2-3 years.

  5. This is the stuff I love about your site, Tim, and why I’m a subscriber whether the big club wins or loses.

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