Pirates Prospects has learned that the Pittsburgh Pirates released eight minor league players on Wednesday morning. The Pirates cut 11 players from Major League camp yesterday, so these moves were bound to happen with Pirate City getting crowded.
The list today includes infielder Luis Perez, outfielders Matt Diorio, Ryan Nagle and Victor Fernandez, and pitchers Pasquale Mazzoccoli, Julio Eusebio, Shane Kemp and Miguel Rosario. Of this group, only Rosario made it above A-ball and he ended up back in Bradenton last year after experiencing major control issues.
The only player in this group who signed for a significant amount was Ryan Nagle, who was taken in the 27th round of the 2015 draft and signed for a $160,000 bonus. After struggling during the 2016 season in West Virginia, he found himself a level lower when the 2017 season started, though he did finish up back at West Virginia. He posted a .644 OPS in three seasons. Matt Diorio signed for $100,000 out of college in the 16th round of the 2016 draft, but never made it to full-season ball.
Mazzoccoli might be the biggest surprise of the group, though none of these players were considered for our top 50 prospects in our 2018 Prospect Guide. He was throwing mid-90s last year and posted a 1.30 ERA in 34.2 innings, with 35 strikeouts, splitting the season between Morgantown and West Virginia. He signed very late out of college and is just days shy of his 26th birthday.
Rosario has posted terrific results at times in Altoona due to deception in his delivery and a lot of movement on all of his pitches. Unfortunately for him, that movement got him in trouble last year when he couldn’t get pitches in the strike zone. Between April 8th and July 16th last year, he allowed just two earned runs over 23 appearances with the Curve. Rosario had the longest tenure with the Pirates for any of these players, signing in March, 2012.
Fernandez was once considered for our top 50 prospects due to his plus-plus speed and ability to get on base. As he got older he filled out, plus had a hamstring injury, which ended up costing him a few steps and took away his main tool. He was still fast, but nowhere near the runner we saw/heard about during his first two seasons. Injuries cost him time last year and he finished with a .608 OPS and just eight steals in 52 games with West Virginia.