International Signing Deadline Passes Quietly, As Pirates Spend Their Entire Bonus Pool

The 2020-21 International Signing period began in January this year instead of July of 2020, due to the shutdown around baseball. The Pittsburgh Pirates went into the period with a $5,899,600 bonus pool, which was a hard cap this year. There were no trades allowed to acquire more bonus pool money. The deadline to sign players was on Wednesday (December 15th) and it passed quietly, as the Pirates have been at their bonus pool max since their final two signings in mid-June. They were actually close to that max with the initial group of signings, which included 15 players who officially signed on day one, and another four players who agreed to deals, but had to wait to sign due to travel restrictions.

After that initial group of 19 players, the Pirates had bonus pool space to add just four more players, and most of that went towards pitcher Alessandro Ercolani in early April. The final three signings were all low-priced additions with the little remaining pool.

Here are the reports on the players signed. We had a signing tracker set up, but somehow the page got lost. However, this is an easy year to follow with the players all being announced in a total of five links, which I’ve included below.

1/15: First group of 15 players to officially sign

1/15: Four players who agreed to deals for 1/15, but couldn’t travel to take their physicals

4/9: Alessandro Ercolani

4/15: Kevison Hernandez

6/19ish: Final two signings from June 17th and 19th

Back in late August, I did an early look at the signing class and how they were performing in 2021. Nothing has changed with the players listed, so this article covers everyone.

The main signing was outfielder Shalin Polanco, who took up nearly 40% of the bonus pool alone. He hit just .204/.284/.338 in 47 games for the DSL Pirates in 2021. The player regarded as the second best prospect in this class was shortstop John Zorrilla, but he batted just twice all season due to an injury.

The class included 11 right-handed pitchers, six outfielders, three middle infielders, two catchers and one left-handed pitcher.

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