The Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to terms with a top international prospect today. The club was officially able to ink outfielder Shalin Polanco.
Since the Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Junior Vizcaino, the team’s international scouting staff have put together a couple of really good international signing classes together. Hired in December 2017, Vizcaino’s first J2 class featured outfielders Sergio Campana (who stood out in instructs) and Rodolfo Nolasco (an underrated prospects), third baseman Alexander Mojica, and four additional 35+ prospects on FanGraphs The Board.
The 2019-20 class, the team signed pitcher Christopher Cruz and then additionally added pitcher Po-Yu Chen and outfielder Solomon Maguire. Vizcaino has really helped the Pirates sign more talented international players than the club previously did over the last few years.
With COVID-19 pushing back the start of international free agency from July 2nd to today (January 15), the Pittsburgh Pirates have now officially signed outfielder Shalin Polanco to a deal around $2.35 million according to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:
Polanco’s bonus is only short of Luis Heredia, who the Pirates signed back in 2010 for $2.6 million. Polanco, an outfielder, is a big get for the club as he is ranked the eighth best international free agent by Baseball America, a 40 FV by FanGraphs (not ranked but in their top 41), and number 11 by MLB Pipeline.
The 16 year old stands at 6’0″ and 170 pounds with room to add to the frame. He bats and throws from the left side and has a chance to stay in center field with his current speed as MLB Pipeline writes,
"“Add his ability to make the proper reads and take good routes and his entire defensive package has above-average potential at center field. He’s a solid-to-average runner now with plus potential and a chance to be a base stealer in the future.”"
Baseball America further adds, regarding Polanco’s bat, “Scouts highest on Polanco liked his short, fluid lefthanded swing and power potential once he adds strength to his projectable frame.” The Pirates are adding a player who should likely go into their top 30 prospects and be a name to continuously watch as he progresses throughout the system.
This is a big sign by the Pittsburgh Pirates and one that shows how well Junior Vizcaino and his staff are really putting together a string of solid international free agent classes. Polanco is the biggest get, but the club is expected to add at least nine other players today with a total bonus pool amount of $5,899,600. Make sure to keep up on the site for any news.