The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed numerous prospects over the last 24 hours. The team has brought in multiple international prospects.
Yesterday, the 2019-2020 International signing period opened up. Every year on July 2nd, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the 29 other Major League teams can officially sign 16-year-old international prospects to their organization. This is the other the process of how teams acquire amateur talent, along with the annual MLB Draft.
This year, the Pittsburgh Pirates fell into the highest bracket in terms of international budget allotment. Like the MLB Draft, teams are only allowed to spend so much money on amateur free agents. For the 2019-2020 period, the Pittsburgh Pirates were given $6,481,200 as their international pool. They were one of eight teams to be given this top tier.
One thing that has been noted is that the Pittsburgh Pirates are trying to invest more into their international scouting. The team has been able to find a lot of key players through the international market, but they hope to find more. The team has actually signed the most international players over the last two years.
The Bucs picked up where they left off and signed one of the top international players available. The Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Cristopher Cruz. This was actually reported a few weeks ago that the expectation was for Cruz to sign with the Bucs. According to MLB Pipeline, the team is paying Cruz $800,000.
Cruz ranked as MLB Pipeline’s 20th best prospect available. He is 6’3” and still filling out, weighing just 170 pounds. This is the prototypical frame that the Pittsburgh Pirates look for in their pitching prospects. Here is a scouting report from MLB Pipeline on the Dominican Republic prospect:
"He shows a loose and easy arm action along with a solid repeatable delivery. His fastball hovers in the low 90s with movement and occasional sink. The pitch has reached 94 mph and he’s been able to command it in the strike zone. There’s some depth to his curveball and his changeup continues to improve and projects to be another average pitch."
Also, according to Baseball America, the Pittsburgh Pirates have signed a bunch of other prospects as well. According to the site, the Pirates has signed two other players from the Dominican Republic, including another starting pitcher and an outfielder. Furthermore, they have brought on three amateur players from Venezuela.
The pitcher they signed from the Dominican is named Luis Faringthon. He is a right-handed pitcher, and there is not really any public information on him and no bonus has been reported. The Bucs also brought in Dominican outfield prospect Ewry Espinal. Espinal has a smooth left-handed swing that generates easy power.
For the Venezuelan signings, the Bucs brought in a pitcher, a catcher, and a shortstop. The pitcher’s name is Gilberto Alcala, who ranks as the 69th best prospect on Perfect Games’ Top 100 International Prospect List. It seems the Bucs have added two promising arms already. The Bucs apparently are very high on Alcala, he and Cruz could make an intriguing duo to watch.
The catcher the Bucs signed is Eyberth Escalona, a right-handed hitter, and thrower. Escalona ranks as Perfect Games’ 121st best prospect available. Only one catcher ranked inside the Top 30 prospects, so the Bucs may have gotten one of the better catching prospects available. The last player is middle infielder Javier Rivas. Rivas is listed as a shortstop and is ranked as the 60th best player by Perfect Game.
Unfortunately, there is not a ton of information for prospects ranked outside the Top 30. However, it seems the Bucs are being very aggressive in signing some of the top talent available. Also, keep in mind that it is likely that the team has signed more players, it’s just a matter of it being reported.