The Pittsburgh Pirates have opened their 2018 International Signing period aggressively. They have already handed out a large bonus to one talented player.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are a small market team and therefore depend big time on finding value in amateur markets. This comes via the draft and, of course, in the International Market. The Pittsburgh Pirates have found a lot of their current talent in the International Market; players such as Gregory Polanco, Starling Marte, Elias Diaz, Edgar Santana, and Jose Osuna. However, that was all under former head of international scouting Rene Gayo, who has since been fired for violating MLB rules. So a new wave has taken over and has started this year’s signing period off strong.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have already signed four players according to Baseball America. The top signing thus far is Dominican outfielder Sergio Campana. Campana was considered one of the top International outfielders available and one of the top overall prospects. He was ranked as the number 35 overall prospect by Baseball America. In terms of outfielders, he comes in as the 12th best available. Campana received a bonus of $500,000 from the Pittsburgh Pirates, which is quite big for the team.
Campana is listed at 6’1” with a weight of 175 pounds. He is considered to be an all-around type outfielder with good athleticism and a frame that should develop power. The team seems to add these types of outfielders every year when the international market opens. Here is more of a scouting report from Baseball America on Campana:
"“He has a prototype build for a center fielder, with a lean, angular frame with plenty of space to hold good weight and strength. Campana has quick-burst actions with plus speed and a good gait in center field, where he fields his position well with a below-average arm. Campana has quick hands, fast bat speed and a compact swing, with gap power now and the potential to develop average or better power down the road.”"
When the Pittsburgh Pirates give out bonuses they normally try to spread their money out. They aim for quantity and not perceived quality. Still, giving Campana $500K shows that the team thinks a lot of the player he could develop into down the road. The team has also signed three other players, including another Dominican outfielder. They signed a projectable power lefty outfielder by the name of Osvaldo Gavilan. To go along with the two outfielders they also added a left-handed pitcher named Adrian Mendez and a right-handed pitcher named Antonio Gonzalez, both who are from Venezuela. There will be another update as more information becomes available about them.
* Baseball America predicted Campana, Gavilan, and Mendez to sign last month