The Pittsburgh Pirates made four international signings yesterday, bringing their total to 36 players signed since July 2nd. The big name from this group is outfielder Jauri Custodio, a 17-year-old from the Dominican Republic, who originally signed with the Colorado Rockies for $150,000 on July 2nd. The other three players are all right-handed pitchers.
Custodio stands 5’10”, 162 pounds and was training at the Mon Baseball Academy. He also played in the JDB Baseball League, which is set up for top prospects. His deal with the Rockies was voided last year due to an injury (failed physical), which was described as a bad bone bruise, but he is completely healthy now.
Here’s a video from a year ago. What you don’t see is that he has above average speed and strong defensive instincts. The height and weight are different, but I went with the numbers from the Rockies after he signed.
The right-handed pitchers are Argenys Dominguez, Adrian Florencio and Enmanuel Mejia. Dominguez is 17 years old, while the other two are 20 years old. They are all from the Dominican Republic. Dominguez stands 6’3″, 170 pounds, right in the middle (height-wise) of Florencio, who is 6’6″, 205 pounds and Mejia, who is 5’11”, 185 pounds.
Mejia is the most advanced of the group right now, sitting 93-95 MPH, with a curveball that has been described as a plus pitch. He’s obviously taken off late and likely doesn’t have a lot of projection left at his size/age, but if the reports are correct, then that’s a strong two-pitch mix.
Florencio has a ton of projection left. He’s got a wide frame, so at 6’6″, we could see him pack on some good weight, especially adding lower body strength. He currently throws 88-91, with a workable slider.
Dominguez is clearly the exciting one here due to his age and room to fill out his 6’3″ frame. He already sits low-90s, with a solid high-70s curve and great separation with his changeup. It’s a nice three-pitch mix already with plenty of room/time to improve.
Back in January, the Pirates had $613,500 left in their international bonus pool. They spent some of that money on two pitchers from the Dominican Republic two weeks ago. We won’t get bonus info for these players, but Custodio likely received a bonus close to what he got from the Rockies, while Dominguez may have received a six-figure bonus as well. At their age, there wouldn’t be a rush to sign for lower amounts, unlike the two older pitchers.
Whatever bonus these six latest players received, it means that the Pirates are getting closer to maxing out their entire 2018-19 bonus pool ahead of the June 15th deadline. That also includes the $500,000 in bonus pool space that they received in the Ivan Nova trade, which is the only reason that all of these signings were possible yesterday.