Ben Badler from Baseball America does a terrific job each year finding out the top July 2nd targets for each of the 30 MLB clubs. He usually gets 1-2 names for the Pittsburgh Pirates and they have landed almost all of the top targets he identified. Badler posted the NL Central forecast this morning and he has four potential top targets for the Pirates.
The Pirates will have $5,504,500 to spend on international players from July 2, 2018 until June 15, 2019. That’s a small drop from their bonus pool this past signing period ($5.75M), but it’s a small increase over the original figure we heard earlier in the year ($5.25M). The Pirates spread their 2017-18 bonus pool around, signing a total of 74 players. That number should drop significantly this year, down to the normal range, which is in the 25-30 area, though we could see a bit higher than that with the extra money compared to 2012-16 when they had bonus pools between $2M and $3M yearly.
Badler listed their top target as Sergio Campana, who he described as an “athletic center fielder with plus speed”. There was also a video of Campana in the link. I added a second one here from the Dominican Prospect League, which was from last August, plus another from BA down below. Campana turned 16 in March.
We also found this BA video, which is longer than the one in the link above, so you can get a good look at the new possible (highly likely) signing.
Badler also had more names. He has left-handed outfielder Osvaldo Gavilan as a likely target who should receive a mid-to-high six figure deal. Shortstop Maikol Escotto and southpaw Adrian Mendez have been linked to the Pirates as well. Mendez is from Venezuela, while the other three are Dominican players. We may not get the bonus of Mendez since he’s from Venezuela and their bonuses weren’t released last year to protect the players.
Escotto just turned 16 and we have videos from the Pimentel Baseball Academy.