Pirates Prospects has learned that the Pittsburgh Pirates have signed 18-year-old South Korean shortstop Ji-Hwan Bae. He was originally signed by the Atlanta Braves last September, but he was one of the players they lost when MLB voided the contracts of 13 of their international free agents back in November.
The Braves signed Bae to a $300,000 contract, though they had an illegal deal to pay him another $600,000 that wouldn’t count against their bonus pool. The Braves at the time had a limit of $300,000 they could spend on any one pick.
Baseball America rated Bae as the fifth best prospect in the group of 13 Braves, calling him a well-rounded middle infielder who should have no problem sticking at shortstop. They liked his plus speed, but said that the lefty-hitting Bae had limited power potential. He has the ability to make excellent contact, giving him a true four-tool potential.
The Pirates also signed another seven international free agents besides Bae. Give me some time and I’ll try to find out any information on them.
Other players added are:
20-year-old Venezuelan right-handed pitcher Wilger Camacho
16-year-old right-handed pitcher Miguel Diaz, who has only been eligible to sign since his birthday on August 19th.
19-year-old right-handed pitcher from Venezuela, Oscar Echarry
18-year-old Dominican middle infielder Yoyner Fajardo, a lefty hitter.
20-year-old left-handed pitcher Starlyn Reynoso
17-year-old Dominican outfielder Stiwatt Valerio. I’ve seen multiple videos of him and while he doesn’t look big, he has some big power from the right side.
20-year-old right-handed pitcher Jesus Valles
That brings the total to 56 (yes, 56) international players signed since July 2nd.
Also on another note, 2016 tenth round pick Matt Anderson retired earlier in the week. He put up big strikeouts numbers in his two seasons with the Pirates, but he was a senior sign ($10,000 bonus) and had trouble with his fastball command, getting by with leaving pitches up in the zone against lower level hitters. He also had minor injuries each season, which limited his work.. The 23-year-old had 132 strikeouts in 112.1 innings between Morgantown in 2016 and West Virginia last year.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.