Pirates Prospects has learned that the Pittsburgh Pirates signed 16-year-old catching prospect Yeison Ceballo on Sunday. Ceballo participated in the Dominican Prospect League, which is a league specifically for the top prospects in the county. He has been eligible to sign since July 2nd and was one of the top remaining catcher unsigned in this class. He’s a right-handed hitter, listed at 5’11”, 170 pounds, though he may have grown from those numbers, which were from late 2016.
You can view a video here on Ceballo from December of 2016. His birthday is February 20th, not Feb 1st, which is listed in the video. During the game action in the middle, Ceballo is the catcher (If you pay close attention, I don’t think the pitcher Shook One sign):
Here’s the scouting report from the DPL website. I’ll note that his name has been spelled as both Ceballo and Ceballos, so I’m not sure which is correct, but I went with what I got from my source:
“Ceballo is a right-handed hitting catcher who has demonstrated the ability to be an above-average asset both at the plate and behind it. At the plate, he has quick hands and the ability to drive the ball well to all fields with some pop, which will likely improve as he continues to develop. Then behind the plate his above-average arm strength, his ability to block and receive the ball and his ability to frame pitches plus his overall feel for the position give him the makeup of a plus defender.”
The Pirates have now signed 38 international players this signing period, including 11 since early December, which could mean that they plan on running a second DSL team. The roster limit in the DSL is 35 and they already had 16 players leftover from last year’s team who didn’t get invites to the Fall Instructional League. The other option would be promoting some players to the States very early. With 54 players already, that’s about all you need for two teams, with some utility players and relievers switching between teams wherever there is a need.
The Pirates still have an unknown amount to spend (or trade) in their 2017-18 bonus pool with nearly five months left in the signing period. Ceballo likely cost six-figures and he may possibly be one of their top signings. Even if he received a decent bonus, they should have north of $1M still left in their bonus pool. An interesting note is that they have now signed five international catchers since July and had two catchers who didn’t receive FIL invites back in September, which is another sign that points to a second DSL team.
Scouting a Player From Mexico
The Pirates are one of a few teams looking into signing 19-year-old Mexican outfielder Fabricio Macias. Before I get into him, I’ll note that players in Mexico tend to sign a little older because their contract is owned by teams down there, who will put a high price on the players, so don’t let the age automatically scare you off.
Macias played in the summer league in Mexico, which is full of veterans of that league and players with Major League time. For comparison sake, it’s probably better than the Dominican winter league, which is the best off-season league. In that league this year, he hit .318/.351/.382 in 73 games, stealing 18 bases in 25 attempts. He’s a solid defensive player, who can man any three outfield spots. The league is big on offense, so those numbers are a little below average for the league, but impressive for someone his age.
Macias is going to tryouts in the Dominican now, where teams will get a look at him. The Pirates have to bonus pool money left to compete for him. Don’t expect news in the next couple of weeks, but we could hear something shortly after that.
Here’s a video, which doesn’t show much, but it’s better than nothing.