The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed right-handed pitcher Sergio Umana out of Nicaragua. The top international amateur pitcher signed by the Pirates last year was Bryan Torres, who is also from Nicaragua and was considered the top pitching prospect at the time in the country.
This is an interesting signing because I was reading about Umana just this morning while looking for information from the U18 World Cup tournament going on in Panama right now. Umana pitched in relief against Team Mexico a week ago and impressed scouts with his 87-89 MPH fastball, as well as solid control. He has a frame that still needs to fill out a lot, so there is plenty of projection left.
Umana pitched on Tuesday against Guatemala and again yesterday in a win against Venezuela. Despite the fact that Umana is now playing in the U18 (ages 18 and under) tournament, he made a nice impression during the U23 tournament earlier this winter for Team Nicaragua.
It’s just a coincidence that the Pirates signed a top pitching prospect from Nicaragua two years in a row. Torres was signed by Rene Gayo, while the Pirates under Junior Vizcaino spent big on a pitcher named Andres Mendez this year, so Umana won’t be the best overall pitcher that they sign. He impressed during tournaments that were heavily scouted, so he made the best of his time in the spotlight.
Here’s video of Umana from a year ago. By the looks of a picture taken last week, he might be a little taller, but he has not filled out any since this video:
The international signing tracker has been updated. Umana is the 30th player signed since July 2nd by the Pirates, though one of the players just had his contract voided. I’ll fill in the rest of the bio info on the chart for Umana once I get it confirmed.