The Pittsburgh Pirates have made their 23rd signing since the new international signing period started back on July 2nd. Today they officially added 16-year-old shortstop Jesus Castillo from Venezuela.
The Pirates needed to wait until Castillo turned 16, which happened on Friday. That will make him one of the youngest players in the Dominican Summer League next year. He’s a switch-hitter who grew a lot this last year, now standing 5’11”, 160 pounds. He’s described as having very natural instincts on defense, with solid hand-eye coordination. Castillo is very athletic and projects to stay at shortstop.
The Pirates went for a lot of pitching on day one of the signing period. They added some interesting outfielders, but two of the more interesting players from day one were shortstops Javier Rivas and Delfin Ramirez. They also added Taiwanese shortstop Tsung-Che Cheng last week, though he’s slightly older than this trio and will begin his career in the U.S. We won’t announce Castillo’s bonus because he’s from Venezuela, but he was one of the top targets for the Pirates during this signing period, so he would rate right up there with these other shortstops.
Here’s a video
Here’s the full list of players signed, along with bonuses where available.
Here’s a photo of Castillo at his signing
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.