Pirates Will Add a Second Dominican Summer League Team this Year

Pirates Prospects has learned that the Pittsburgh Pirates will have a second affiliate in the Dominican Summer League this year. If you’ve been following our international signing coverage since July 2nd, you know that the Pirates have been very busy these last nine months signing international amateur free agents. We announced yesterday the signings of the 46th and 47th players since July.

A handful of those 47 players are already in Bradenton for Spring Training, but the Pirates also have 14 players from last year’s DSL team who didn’t make the jump to the United States last year for the Fall Instructional League. Add in the likelihood of at least 2-3 more players being signed before the June 15th signing deadline, and you have more than enough players for two DSL affiliates.

The cost of running a second affiliate once all of the players are signed is minimal. The Dominican complex was set up to handle two full teams when the Pirates built it in 2009. The extra cost comes from the added coaches and just basic needs for the players such as food. The added travel is minimal, since every team they place is close by and there are no overnight stays elsewhere.

Teams in the Dominican have 35-man rosters, but with two teams, you don’t need to fill each roster, since players can bounce between affiliates if needed. So I wouldn’t expect the Pirates to sign another 10-12 players (to get to 70 total) before the DSL season starts in late May or early June.

The main advantage of having two DSL clubs is the added playing time at key positions. You will have some players who are just fillers on the rosters, but you can also allow two shortstops to get full-time work at the most important defensive position. Catchers get more time behind the plate and you’re giving starter innings to ten players instead of the normal five-man rotation. Your key signings don’t need to move off of key positions just to get playing time.

The Pirates had two DSL affiliates during the 2013-14 seasons.