The Pittsburgh Pirates made their first move of the Winter Meetings today. They sent out a pitcher in return for a prospect and international money.
Today, the Pittsburgh Pirates made their first move of the Winter Meetings and it was notable. The team dealt away veteran pitcher Ivan Nova to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for a prospect and International money. Yes, it was a salary dump. The Pittsburgh Pirates currently have four pitchers in their rotation who are all ahead of Nova. Yet, Nova was slated to make more money than the rest of them at around $9 million for next season. It was the right move to clear his salary especially if they reinvest it into the team.
So it is what it is, the Pittsburgh Pirates dumped his salary. However, coming back the team received a big chunk of International Bonus money at $500K. Meanwhile, they also got a very intriguing pitching prospect back in the deal as well.
Coming back in the deal is a 19-year-old pitching prospect by the name of Yordi Rosario. Rosario was not ranked in MLB Pipeline’s top 30 prospect list but did slide in on FanGraphs list at number 30 overall for the Sox. Meanwhile, Chicago has a better-ranked farm system than the Pittsburgh Pirates so he very well could end up in the Pittsburgh Pirates top 30.
Rosario, a native of the Dominican Republic, signed with the White Sox in February of 2016. His fastball sits in the low 90s and likely will reach into the mid 90s by the time he is MLB ready. He started that year in the Dominican Summer League as a 16-year-old and struggled through his first season of professional ball. The righty made nine starts and threw 35 total innings and had an ERA of 7.20. A big issue was his command, which is not surprising for a young power arm. He walked over sox batters per nine innings pitched, and walked 13.5 percent of hitters he faced.
However, he has taken big steps forward each of the last few years. In 2017, he once again pitched in the DSL making 14 starts and throwing 71.2 innings. He saw his strikeout percentage jump from 14.6 percent in the previous year to 22.1 percent in 2017. Furthermore, he reduced his walks from 13.5 percent to 9.0 percent. His ERA also was much better posting a 2.26 ERA in those innings.
Last year the White Sox decided to keep Rosario in the DSL again. He ended up making seven starts and eight total appearances before he was promoted. In those games, he struck out an astounding 39 batters in 29.2 innings while only walking four. His overall ERA was 1.82 for those 29.2 innings. He then was promoted to the Arizona League, which is equivalent to the Gulf Coast League in the East. He saw his ERA bump up to 3.42 in six games (four starts) and 26.1 innings. He had his strikeout pitch still going, as he struck out 31 batters, although he walked eight. Still, his walk rate was only at 7.1 percent, which is solid.
All in all, Rosario seems to be an intriguing prospect. He stands at 6’2” and weighs 185 pounds. He has power stuff and uses it to strikeout a lot of hitters. Meanwhile, he has shown improved command each season since he was signed in 2016. The 19-year-old will not turn 20 until April and most likely will join one of the Pittsburgh Pirates Single-A affiliates.