Live Discussion: The International Signing Period Begins Today

Today marks the start of the 2021-22 international signing period, which runs until December 15th. Most of the money spent during this 11-month signing period will be spent today/tomorrow by all 30 teams in baseball. The Pittsburgh Pirates are one of a handful of teams with a bonus pool worth $6,262,600, which is the highest amount this year. That’s a hard cap, with no chance to acquire more bonus pool space through trades like they did in some previous signing periods.

We will start hearing bonus numbers being announced on Twitter (not by teams) around 9 AM today. Those will come out before players officially sign, but they will use terms like “an agreed to bonus”. It’s usually just a formality to be safe. Yes, the players still have to pass a physical, and yes some of them fail them and don’t sign, but that doesn’t happen often. Teams will have the players come to their Dominican academy days in advance and then they will have a set up like a press conference, where one-by-one, players will sign, take some photos for the team, then the next player will do the same. It’s not a quick process, so don’t expect the Pirates to announce official signings until later this afternoon. I’m told that about 18 players are set to sign today, but there might be some delays that push back a few due to travel restrictions. Whatever happens, we will have scouting reports on everyone who signs this signing period, but we won’t post any* before they are official.

The asterisk there by the word “any” is for shortstop Yordany De Los Santos and outfielder Tony Blanco Jr, who are both highly ranked prospects this year and they are known commodities. Their scouting reports have been out there for some time. With the bonus pool restrictions, it’s tough to land the #11 (Blanco) and #12 (De Los Santos) prospects in the same class and still sign some other really interesting players, but I can guarantee that you will like some of the other players we hear about later today.

There might be information going in other posts today, but I will put every update here as well, linking to any items that might get their own article. Basically, save this page and check back often. We will have everything you need to know here today.

UPDATE: Our first of many updates today has the bonus info for the top two signings courtesy of Jesse Sanchez. Yordany De Los Santos will receive $1.2M, while Tony Blanco will get $900,000. Neither player has officially signed yet, but expect it soon. Here’s a quick article.

UPDATE #2: Sanchez is now reporting that Taiwanese pitcher Hung-Leng Chang will receive a $500,000 bonus from the Pirates. We will have more of the 20-year-old, 6’3″ right-hander later. He is one of the top two pitchers expected to sign with the Pirates. Chang is going to sign tomorrow, so we will have more then.

UPDATE #3: Since Ben Badler announced it, here’s the Venezuelan catcher you’ve been waiting for since whenever I first heard about him (it feels like more than a year ago, but it’s not). He’s already a strong defensive catcher, with plus potential to that side of his game. He’s very athletic behind the plate with an above average arm. He also has present strength at a young age and drives the ball well, with potential for more power in the future. There’s a chance for strong value here on offense and defense, with the defense currently well advanced for his age.

UPDATE #4: Another signing announced as official by Ben Badler, so we can look at the scouting report of pitcher Pitterson (might be Piterson) Rosa. He’s a RHP with a very projectable frame, strong arm speed and great athleticism. He profiles as a starter due to his arm strength and secondary pitches, which have developed well quickly. Rosa is a converted outfielder, so he is very new to the mound, but he already shows polish to his game and he’s had his fastball up to 94 MPH recently. After the top two signings, this might be their best pickup. Along with the previous mentioned Hung-Leng Chang, they are the top two pitchers for the Pirates this signing period and probably 3-4 for best pickups for the whole group (the catcher you just read about and a Venezuelan shortstop to be named soon have a chance to be right there with them).

UPDATE #5: Blanco has signed his deal. More on him in the link above

UPDATE #6: Pirates are done for the day at 18 signings. Chang will be tomorrow. Not sure of anything after that, but it sounds like that might be the whole “first day” group. I’ll have updates soon on everyone. For now, here’s the report on Venezuelan shortstop Ronny Aguiar. He’s a speed player, top of the order hitter. High energy player with great athleticism. He’s going to stick at middle infield, might be second base, and the base running is off the charts. His bat has a little pop, but he’s small. Still, he’s strong for his size and age.

Richard Ramirez – Venezuelan catcher with above average defense. Strong player with good athleticism. Could be a glove-only player, but the bat has some potential and there’s room for development.

Dermis Ordonez – right-handed pitcher from Venezuela, projectable pitcher, good frame, athletic and above average arm speed (a lot of pitchers will fit that mold). He throws a four-seam fastball with riding movement, a slider that’s showing progress and a changeup with potential as his third pitch. He’s 6’1″, 170 pounds.

Carlos Tirado – Power hitting first baseman from Mexico who has already played pro ball in the U.S., seeing action in the Pioneer League in 2021, playing against players who average eight years older than him. He’s still 16 years old for two more months. Held his own in the league, hitting .253/.320/.429 in 33 games, with four homers. He’s aggressive at the plate, power to all fields, strong kid with the bat as his carrying tool. He’s 6’1″, 187 pounds.

Angel Camacho – Lefty pitcher from Mexico, who played with Tirado in the Pioneer League. He just turned 18 two days ago. He goes after hitters with a low-90s fastball, and solid off-speed pitches (curve and change). Already has a solid feel for pitching. He struggled in pro ball, but he also struck out 21 batters in 23 innings at 17 years old. He’s 5’11”, 150 pounds, so there is room to fill out.

Cristopher Orelin – Shortstop, still 16 years old, stands 5’11”, 157 pounds. His bat is a little ahead of the rest. Has a feel to barrel the ball and works the middle of the field. Not over the fence power yet, but he could develop it. He has a chance to stick at shortstop, but not the tools of the others we have here. His speed is average. Not your typical shortstop we see here.

Alberto Saba – right-handed pitcher, 6’2″, 160, turns 17 on Tuesday. He has a lanky frame, but still room to add a little. He throws strikes with a sinking fastball in the 86-88 MPH range with plenty of movement. He has great spin on his curveball and he’s been developing his changeup recently. Very competitive pitcher.

Angel Rodriguez – outfielder from Panama, signed for $60,000, could be the steal of day one (day one steals rarely happen, so that’s not saying much). Gifted outfielder with tools, he’s basically a raw version of the next player…

Eduardo Oviedo – 17-year-old outfielder from the Dominican, 5’11”, 152 pounds. He’s a center fielder with projectable tools and ease on both sides of the ball, plus athleticism and a large frame that will fill out a lot as he adds strength. He’s basically an advanced version of Angel Rodriguez right now.

Jarlen De la Paz – lefty pitcher, turns 17 in June, stands 6’4″, 180 pounds. He has a good feel for three pitches already. Fastball currently sits 85-87 MPH, and he mixes it with a sharp breaking curve and a changeup that shows good fade. Still has a ton of room to grow and there’s a ton of projection here to add a lot of velocity.

Alexis Torres – right-handed pitcher, 6’0″, 153 pounds. Old man of this crew, late signing at 18 years old. Teams passed over him in previous years, but he has developed a lot lately. Now sits 89-91 MPH with his fastball, and mixes it with a curve that has plus potential. He gets high marks for his bulldog mentality on the mound

Daje Morales – Dominican shortstop, 5’10”, 155 pounds, 16 years old. He’s a natural right-handed hitter, who has recently started hitting lefty as well, and has taken well to  the move to switch-hitting. He’s got a small frame, so there won’t be power here, but he has the tools to stick at shortstop, with quick hands and solid instincts sticking out among those traits. Gets a lot of praise for how hard/smart he plays the game.

Isaac Paulino – 16-year-old shortstop, 5’11”. 160 pounds, right-handed bat. Pirates went after athletic shortstops and he fits the trait. Projects to stay at shortstop with all of the tools you want to see. Needs to add more power to his hitting game, but he makes solid contact and he’s a plus runner.

Hader Blanco – lefty pitcher, 5’11”, 150, 16 years old. Projectable pitcher from Colombia, who has a TON of room to fill out and needs to add some weight. He’s an athletic kid, who throws an upper 80s fastball and has a feel for his breaking ball. There’s mostly projection here and likely reliever future for now.

Much more to come on these last names, just getting them out there.

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