Since the July 2nd international signing period began, the Pittsburgh Pirates have signed a total of 28 players. Our international signing tracker has been posted, where you will find each player listed, along with their age on signing day, position, country and whether they bat or throw left-handed or right-handed. Where available, the chart also includes the players height, weight and signing bonus.
You will notice that we have the Pirates spending about 40% of their $5.75 M bonus pool so far. That’s because we only have the bonus totals for nine players. The other 19 players includes a large group of players who are 16 or 17 years old, so they likely got a bonus of $50,000 or more (and more could be into six figures), we just didn’t get any information on them.
The Pirates were excited about the players they signed out of Venezuela, but bonuses from that country weren’t listed for almost every player due to the ongoing turmoil in that country. That was an agreement around the industry to protect the players. You’ll notice that Venezuelan outfielder Angel Basabe has a bonus amount listed, but he currently lives and trains in Panama, so he isn’t in the same situation. Basically, the remaining bonus pool for the Pirates is much lower than the amount you see listed.
The Pirates signed a 29th player, a young, lanky right-handed pitcher from the Dominican named Jonathan Quezada. He signed on July 3rd, then shortly after, a pre-existing arm injury was discovered and his contract was voided.
The group of 28 players includes five left-handed pitchers, compared to just one signed last year. They also signed eight right-handed pitchers, seven outfielders, three catchers, two shortstops, two middle infielders and one first baseman.
The signing period runs until June 15, 2018, so this might not end up being the final list. The Pirates signed four players after October 29th during the last signing period.
The Pirates signed three players out of Colombia for the second straight year. Before last year, the previous player signed out of Colombia was Luis Escobar in 2013. They did sign a catcher named Roberto Noguera in 2014, but a vision disorder voided his contract. The Pirates also broke a four-year drought in Mexico by signing three players out of the country, including Christian Navarro, who participated in the Fall Instructional League in Bradenton last month, which is a very rare jump for an international player. They also signed players from Panama, Nicaragua and Curacao, with the latter being the younger brother of DSL star Sherten Apostel.
We previously announced 23 of these players, breaking the news on 14 of them here, while the others were announced by Jesse Sanchez from MLB.com on July 2nd. All of the bonuses you see listed were his handiwork.
That leaves five names you’ll see for the first time here. They are catcher Juan Mena and pitcher Daniel Rivero, who are the two players from Venezuela noted above as the players the Pirates were excited about signing. Also new is infielder Carlos Arroyo from Colombia, who needed to wait until his 16th birthday on July 11th before he could sign. He was drafted third overall in the Colombian winter league draft, so that’s a good sign and means that he could possibly be part of our winter leagues coverage. The other two new players are 17-year-old pitchers Arlinthon De Dios and Yoelvis Reyes from the Dominican.
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.