Pittsburgh Pirates: A Young Dominican Prospect To Watch

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

Over the last few seasons, the Pittsburgh Pirates have seen a steady stream of prospects enter the major leagues.  However, as of late, they have not seen many Latin hitting prospects make a legitimate impact in the minors.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are known for producing a lot of quality young prospects in their minor leagues.  They have done this mainly through the MLB Amateur Draft.  In Baseball America’s 2017 top ten list, eight of the Pittsburgh Pirates prospects were drafted by them.  The other two are international signing Elias Diaz and trade acquisition Steven Brault.  One place the Pittsburgh Pirates have seemed to struggle lately is producing Latin America hitters.  Yes, there are stand out players like Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco, but outside of those two, there has not been many standout hitters from Latin America.

Recently, here at Rum Bunter, we have started to prepare our top 30 prospect list.  In doing so, we have taken every prospect and have dove deep into their career stats thus far.  When taking a deeper look into the prospects analytics a few players in the lower minor have stood out, specifically a few, young Latin players who have flown under the radar.  If these players continue to post the numbers they have so far, they could find themselves climbing to be notable prospects in a few years.  Here is one of the three prospects in the lower minors to keep an eye on this season.

Eddy Vizcaino

This first is an outfielder who tore up the Dominican Summer League in 2016.  Eddy Vizcaino signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2014 for a relatively small bonus.  When he signed he was known more for his defense than his offense.  He was given a plus rating for his arm, as well as his range in the outfield.  As a hitter, he was noted to have line drive power with the ability to hit to all fields, and that came with a chance to develop some power.  The athletic outfielder, who now plays mainly left field, stands at 5’11” and 170 pounds.

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Vizcaino has played in the Dominican Summer League over his two-year Pittsburgh Pirates career. He had a decent year in 2015, but really posted interesting numbers in 2016.  When first looking at his numbers they do not really jump off the page at you.  He hit for a solid .277 batting average while posting eleven extra base hits, no home runs, and only 17 RBI in 43 games.  All around, pretty bland numbers when looking for a future legitimate prospect.

Vizcaino’s Analytics

However, when taking a deeper look at his analytics, there is a lot to like in the young Dominican outfielder.  For one, Vizcaino posted an impressive on-base percentage of .385, over 100 hundred points higher than his batting average.  What led to this strong on-base percentage?  Vizcaino has shown a rare trait that a lot of young Latin players typically do not possess.  The outfielder has shown really good discipline at the plate.  A lot of young prospects struggle early in their careers because of their lack of discipline.  They often swing freely to0 much, and therefore strikeout at a very high rate.  In just his second season, Vizcaino posted a strikeout percentage of just 7.5 percent.

Compared to Proven Players

How impressive is this?  You can compare Vizcaino’s strikeout rate to some of the more recent Latin top prospects who saw action at the DSL level.  Starling Marte, who is now an all-star caliber player, struck out 20 percent of the time at the DSL level.  Also, Gregory Polanco posted a strikeout rate of 22 percent in a similar amount of games played at the DSL.  Now, this is not to say that Vizcaino is going to turn into the caliber of players the Pittsburgh Pirates have in their current outfielder, but it is intriguing.

Power Increase

As stated earlier, young players often struggled with their discipline, and it can really hold them back.  The fact that Vizcaino shows the ability to walk and get on-base suggests that he is a very advanced hitter for his age.  As he matures, he likely will see his power numbers increase. He actually saw his power take a significant jump, as his ISO (slugging minus average) went from .064 in 2015 to .134 in 2016.  If you are not sure what that means, take a look at his slugging percentage, which went from .325 to .412 in just one year.

Next: Baseball Prospectus Top 10 Pirate Prospects


If he continues to show a strong and patient approach, continues to grow physically, and combines it with his athletic ability, Vizcaino could definitely be the next Latin outfield prospect to watch in the Pittsburgh Pirates system.  Expect Vizcaino to make the jump to Low-A West Virginia this season. He has proven that he can handle Rookie Level pitching and should be ready to face more competitive competition against more legitimate prospects.

Check back later for another intriguing Latin prospect to watch in 2017.