The Pittsburgh Pirates signed three international players on Wednesday, making it 41 players total signed since July 2nd. That number doesn’t include two pitchers who had their contracts voided due to prior injuries. The Pirates have signed 14 of those players since they were one of 29 teams to lose out on Shohei Ohtani. All of those 14 recent signings have been since Junior Vizcaino took over for Rene Gayo as the Director of International Scouting.
As mentioned on Monday, the Pirates recently signed catching prospect Yeison Ceballo, who is still 16 years old. They inked another 16-year-old today in pitcher Joelvis Del Rosario, who is two months younger than Ceballo. They also got 17-year-old pitcher Valentin Linarez and infielder Mariano Dotel, who recently turned 18 years old.
Dotel is the interesting one at this point because we don’t have much info on these players yet. He is the son of Mariano Dotel, who played five years in the minors as a shortstop, topping out in Double-A. His father also trained him, so he at least comes from good genes and training.
We should get more info on those players soon, which we will include in our international signing tracker. That tracker has been updated since Monday with info on players recently signed. Those players include three right handed pitchers from the Dominican.
Miguel Peralta, 18 years old, 6’3″ 190 pounds
Linse Carvajal, 18 years old, 6’2″ 170 pounds
Oliver Mateo, 20 years old, 6’2″ 170 pounds
We don’t know any bonus info, but seven of the 14 players signed since December were first-time eligible to sign during this 2017-18 signing period. That likely means they got a bonus of $50,000+ and that “+” could easily be well into six figures, especially for Ceballo.
The Pirates had $2.26 M in their bonus pool in late November. They traded $500,000 to the Philadelphia Phillies for Nick Burdi, then reacquired the same amount in the Andrew McCutchen trade. They got back a little money when Wandi Encarnacion had his contract voided last month, but he signed at age 20, so his bonus was very likely less than $25,000 and may not have affected the bonus pool at all. That’s because bonuses of $10,000 or less don’t count against the pool.
With the 14 signed players, I wouldn’t be surprised if the pool is now in the $800,000 to $1,200,000 range, based strictly on what comparable players receive. I could be off if any of these players received a large six-figure bonus, but I think we could still see more signings before they are done on June 15th. If you remember, last year Jean Eusebio was signed in February and received a $550,000 bonus. That bonus was only known because we talked to Eusebio the day after he signed, otherwise it wasn’t announced anywhere. So there could be a bigger bonus without us knowing or even finding out down the line.
It’s possible some of these young players signing now had a high bonus demand going into July 2nd. It’s also very possible that they have made strides since July 2nd. Some of those young players who improve a lot at age 16, end up waiting to sign at 17 in hopes of getting larger bonuses when teams have more to spend during the new signing period. With the Pirates having a large remaining bonus pool, they would be able to convince some of those players to sign this year. If we find out anything new on these players, it will be posted in the international signing tracker, so feel free to save that link.
UPDATE Thursday 6:30 PM: Pirates signed 17-year-old Colombian shortstop Edgar Barrios on Thursday. He has an extensive amateur track record, dating back to little league. I found info from 2010 on him. He was recently the MVP of a major tournament played in Colombia and he was one of the leading hitters in the under-18 league for the best players in the country. Basically, he has been very good for a very long time. Looks like a solid pickup for the Pirates with their remaining pool money, which continues to dwindle. The signing tracker has been updated. Barrios is the 42nd player signed.