The Pittsburgh Pirates released 23 minor league players on Thursday. There’s also one retirement announcement. Here’s the list of players, who are mostly lower level players, plus a brief write-up on each one:
Amaya, Jose – Lefty signed out of Panama on July 2, 2017, he pitched two seasons in the DSL with mild success this year. Led the DSL with 10 wins this season despite not making a start.
Arrieta, Luis – Part of our winter league coverage until today. He pitched in Bristol this season and struggled with control during his last two seasons in the system.
Ceballo, Yeison – Catcher who was signed in 2018 and spent most of 2019 in Extended Spring Training before getting sent back to the DSL in June.
Del Orbe, Francis – Somewhat surprising release here, after pitching two years with Morgantown. In 2018, he made the jump from the DSL to Morgantown. Not really a prospect due to lack of velocity, but he was a solid pitcher.
Garcia, Yeudy – Biggest name here. He went from the DSL to West Virginia in one year and jumped onto the prospect scene with a strong season and an excellent fastball/slider combo. A shoulder injury in 2016, followed by a back injury in 2017, sidetracked his career. He regained his velocity in 2018, but the control was never there after his big season in Low-A.
Gong, Haicheng – Signed out of China, a 20-year-old right-hander who lacked velocity. He pitched at three levels in 2019, though it was more out of necessity, rather than earning a promotion from the GCL.
Jerez, Mario – Toolsy outfielder with a very athletic frame. Older brother of top DSL prospect Juan Jerez. Mario never put together any results.
Lambert, Chase – Late round draft pick in 2018, he spent most of this season in Bradenton where he had a .568 OPS.
Lockery, Dean – Another late round draft pick in 2018, he posted a .633 OPS in Morgantown as a part-time player this season.
Lopresti, Mike – Another somewhat surprising player here because he was drafted in the 18th round last year. Struggled in Greensboro this season after a strong start with Morgantown.
Mateo, Bryan – Spent two years in the DSL. Signed in July, 2017. He hit well this year, but he was an older first baseman.
Medrano, Jesse – Another somewhat surprising player only because he was a max effort guy who played multiple positions. Not a prospect, but great org. player, smart, great teammate. Wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up as a coach.
Morrow, Matt – Signed as a non-drafted free agent last year, he spent 2018 in the GCL and 2019 with Bristol.
Ngoepe, Victor – Younger brother of Gift Ngoepe, Victor showed off tremendous defensive talent this season at both middle infield spots, so I expected him to stick around. His bat lagged behind, but the glove was legit and getting better each year.
Patten, Nick – 28th round pick in 2018 out of Butler, PA, had legit plus raw power, probably hit the longest foul ball in Morgantown history this year, but didn’t make enough contact in two seasons to see any results.
Rennard, Alec – Non-drafted free agent in 2018, who pitched two seasons in the lower levels, had a 4.40 ERA in 45 innings.
Reynoso, Starlyn – This is surprising because I got strong reports about him late this summer. Results didn’t match the arm, legit power pitcher, the type that usually gets plenty of chances.
Rosario, Julio – Had a 5.73 ERA in three seasons, two in the DSL and one in the GCL.
Santos, Yeison – Surprise here is 18-year-old lefty who got a six-figure bonus, plus he had strong results in two seasons, but the scouting reports were not glowing.
Siri, Raul – Siri was around for six years and would have reached free agency after 2020. He was an organizational filler at the end, but had a strong debut in the DSL in 2014, then not much else.
Stoelke, Logan – Pictured above, Stoelke had great stuff and results to match in 2018, then struggled through most of 2019 at Greensboro and Bradenton. He was injured late and he retired, which may have been injury related. He would not have been released because he had solid pitches despite 2019 results.
Torres, Bryan – Maybe the most surprising one here because he was their top pitcher signed during the 2017 international signing period. Torres did not put up strong results this year in the GCL and the scouting report wasn’t great either, but he is 18 years old and had a big frame, plus the bonus should have kept him around longer.
Valerio, Stiwatt – Raw power bat who was injured for most of 2019 and didn’t make enough contact when he was healthy. Signed in early 2018.
Vega, Yandy – Colombian pitched who struggled for two seasons in the lower levels and he’s already 20 years old. Did not have a great scouting report either, but wasn’t a big signing.
There were no top 50 prospects in this group or even guys considered for the top 50, so keep that in mind when you see “surprising”. That’s in regard to their youth in most cases, sometimes the bonuses, or with Jesse Medrano, he is the type of player who sets good examples for others and can fill multiple roles, so I figured he would stick around.