Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Best Players Added Via International Free Agency

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 11: Rodolfo Castro #64 of the Pittsburgh Pirates gestures after he hit a home run against the New York Mets during the fifth inning of a game at Citi Field on July 11, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 11: Rodolfo Castro #64 of the Pittsburgh Pirates gestures after he hit a home run against the New York Mets during the fifth inning of a game at Citi Field on July 11, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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BRADENTON, FLORIDA – MARCH 22: A detail of the 2021 MLB Grapefruit league logo during a spring training game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles on March 22, 2021 at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

Number 2 – outfielder Shalin Polanco

One of the most notable international prospects during the 2020-2021 offseason the Pittsburgh Pirates landed outfielder Shalin Polanco on January 15th, 2021. He’s the youngest player in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ system at just 17-years-old. He has a ways to go before he’s even close to being considered major league ready, but he has a ton of talent.

Polanco received his first 176 plate appearances of his professional career at the Florida Complex League. While he only hit .204/.284/.338 with a .307 wOBA, and 77 wRC+, he drew walks at a solid 10.4% mark while having a 39.8% flyball rate. He was the youngest player with the Pirates’ Complex League teams and it was just 176 plate appearances, so I wouldn’t worry too much about his overall performance.

Polanco’s 5’11″, 168 frame is very projectable. Many experts see a good amount of power potential within Polanco. Not only does he have plus bat speed, but he’s able to hit to all fields with authority. But he’s athletic enough to handle centerfield with a good enough glove and arm to remain there.

There is some swing-and-miss in his game. His mechanics need some polishing, which is one of the reasons he has some swing-and-miss. But once he gets everything set, he could be one of the Pirates’ future long-term outfielders, one who can provide some pop and plus defense in the outfield.

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