It was a slow Tuesday night in the winter leagues for Pittsburgh Pirates, but there were a couple of noteworthy performances.

Starling Marte has been on a hot streak recently in the Dominican, getting his numbers up to respectable levels after a slow start. On Tuesday, he went 2-for-4 with his third triple, his sixth stolen base in six attempts, and a run scored. Marte has reached base safely ten times in his last four games and he has a .325 average in his last ten games. On the winter, he is hitting .245/.301/.404 in 25 games.

Anderson Feliz went 1-for-4 with an RBI. He is hitting .267/.337/.384 through 30 games.

In Mexico, Carlos Munoz went 1-for-4 with a solo homer, his second of the winter. He is hitting .259/.355/.371 through 44 games. Both Feliz and Munoz are still on the free agent market.

The Venezuelan league held their All-Star game on Tuesday night, so there was no action to report from the league. However, Jose Osuna was one of ten participants in the home run derby on Monday night. He didn’t fare well, hitting five homers, which tied him for 7th with two other players, ahead of one lonely player who put up a zero.

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  1. Informal survey. Do you think that we will sign ANY of the Braves’ prospects that are available. Apparently, the Top 3 are already gone.

    I think NO!

    • No, I think outside of offering a huge bonus, most will go to the second or third team that was pursuing them when they initially signed.

      I am also beginning to think that the FO will just squander the extra $2.225 million that they have in the international signing fund as well. There are still some top 30 “prospects” left unsigned, but there are also a lot of teams with enough money to sign them, most with a better record of signing International prospects.

      • The Pirates spent over 30% of last year’s international budget from February on and two signing periods ago, they spent the remainder of their budget on the final day to sign two players. I honestly can’t imagine that they won’t at least trade some of that remaining money. That would be a tremendous waste of an asset. The signing period still has six months and nine days left, so it’s not like they are close to running out of time

        • Generally speaking, do they spend the entire amount?

          What’s the general hit rate of getting a true prospect out of these funds, not just for the Pirates but baseball in general?

          In other words, how do the Pirates do in Latin America relative to other teams?

          • I consider the Pirates to be about average. These international players have a huge failure rate across baseball. If you look at the league now, there were over 1,400 players in the DSL this year. Only 707 players from the Dominican Republic have made the majors since Ozzie Virgil debuted in 1956. So a large majority of those players will never even reach Low-A ball and the higher you go in the system, the less likely they will make it.

            In the only five years of the bonus pool system, the Pirates spent all, or close to all of their money each time. Their pool was always somewhere between $2 M and $2.9 M each of those years. This year, their pool was $1.6 M more than the previous two combined. Since they only found that out in December when the new CBA was ratified, it already eliminated them from most of the top players.

            The best foreign players agree to deals more than a year in advance sometimes. The Pirates I’m sure already had a set plan in action to work with a pool that would have been around $2.7 M if the rules didn’t change.

            The real test will be this July 2nd. Knowing 18 months ahead of time that they will have a $5.25 M bonus pool allows them to go after a different group of players and I’m sure they already know players they will sign on July 2nd. Whether they change up their style, that remains to be seen.

            • One thing to note is that the majority of the big bonus players end up as failures. Look back at the players who received the top 20 bonuses and few became good MLB players.

            • John, I am sorry but what about the other teams that had no idea how much money they would have in their bonus pool. They were able to sign players without that advanced knowledge. I think you are making excuses for the Pirates not spending their full pool allotment. The Pirate motto is going to be a penny not spent is a penny earned. I would be surprised if they signed anyone else and if they do it will not be for a large amount and forget about the freed Atlanta players. Why those players should get additional bonus money is just down right crazy. All that does is inflate an over inflated market. At first I thought it was Gayo and now I think its the Pirates that are engaged in quantity over quality. The pool might be 5+ million but their budget is probably 3 million and they will spend no more than that. Now you can understand why they lost out on Sano and why Heredia was an outlier.

        • Do we have any top/good prospects left for this signing period? I was under the assumption that there aren’t any left and that these ex-Braves prospects would be those top prospects?

          I guess I’m still confused about these international signing system — any articles describing the system (and how it actually operates ex. like the teams knowing who to sign ahead of the signing period) ??

            • Thanks!!! Didn’t even know they had international prospect ranking. Since the Pirates weren’t aware of their pool money, I thought they had no chance of signing top prospects for this season and so thought ex-Braves were our only chance. Hopefully we get one of those 8s…

        • Trading it away would be the only way I could see them getting through everything they have left. $2 million is a lot of money to spend when you are spending it at $80K per player. Unless they are planning on running out a third DSL team, they really don’t even have any place to have many more players.
          I do realize it would be a waste of an asset, but spending it just to spend it would be an even bigger waste IMO. Me, I would call up every team still in contention for Ohtani and see who the best player I could get would be. I would only trade for 1 player, not a bundle, just a single prospect.

          • They could do a combo of both a trade and a signing. There are plenty of international players available still who are worth looking at and last year’s biggest signing was in February, so I wouldn’t rule that out now.

            • The Pirates biggest signing was in February, not the biggest signing on the International market. If the Pirates have the money to sign an international kid in Feb, there are other teams that can as well, so it’s not like there won’t be competition.

              I would just trade it all and be done with it.

        • If trading money is in reference to the Ohtani sweepstakes, I’m starting to wonder…

          From the beginning the narrative was that his coming over had nothing to do with money, and I think most jaded folks (me, included) rolled their eyes and said, “yeah, right”.

          With the list of teams he’s excluded and that he’s coming over a year or two sooner than he could have…I’m really starting to think an extra million or so in the signing bonus really isn’t that important to him.

          I’ve gotta wonder if the Pirates…and every other team who didn’t ship money off before Ohtani shrunk his list to seven…missed the boat.

          • Bingo. No team is giving up prospects of value for IFA cap money. The most notable transaction involving IFA cap money to date has been in exchange for Thyago Vieira, who’s a lesser version of Arquimedes Caminero.

            Believing this money is better used as trade bait than to actually sign prospects requires either the belief that Huntington can pull off a heist, or an abdication of everything we’ve ever said about the value of amateur talent.

            They’re not going to spend the money, because they don’t want to spend the money.

          • My article two weeks ago said that the best thing for the Pirates to do is see what the Mariners will give up for pool money. I said that because they were going hard for him and they fit his criteria. I don’t think money is the issue right now. Four of his finalists can’t offer more than a $300K bonus, so he’s either lying about considering them or values the team much more than the bonus money.

    • I vote yes. In typical Pirates fashion they are simply waiting for the top talents to go to the rest of the league, then they will spread their risk out by signing four or five of the prospects who won’t command much money and on paper appear to be marginal talents 🙂

    • Yes I agree. I assume that the money they have been allocated will be used in the upcoming international draft and therefore they want to keep their powder dry. I believe they want the new guy to add his draft or recruiting prowess to the process.

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