Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: All-International Free Agent Team

1 of 9
Pittsburgh Pirates
PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 28: Manager Derek Shelton of the Pittsburgh Pirates looks on during the game against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on September 28, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates have many talented prospects they signed from the international market. So what would a team of these prospects look like?

The Pittsburgh Pirates have built a robust farm system consisting of high-end talent from the drafting and trades. They’ve selected talents like Quinn Priester, Nick Gonzales, and Henry Davis from the first round of their last three drafts. Trade has acquired Roansy Contreras, Liover Peguero, and Endy Rodriguez. These six are just scratching the surface of the prospects the team has acquired through these two methods.

However, they’ve also added a ton of talent through the international pipeline. Many of baseball’s best prospects signed as teenagers out of foreign countries. The likes of Seattle Mariners’ Julio Rodriguez and Nolevi Marte, New York Mets’ Francisco Alvarez, New York Yankees’ Oswaldo Peraza, and the Pirates’ very own Oneil Cruz signed as international amateur free agents.

So if the Pittsburgh Pirates have that much international talent, what does a team consisting of those players look like? I’m strictly only looking at players the Pirates signed themselves. So honorable mentions to Cruz, Peguero, Contreras, Ji-Hwan Bae, Miguel Yajure, Diego Castillo, and Maikol Escotto, but they were all acquired in trades or, in Bae’s case, signed after a scandal.

Catcher – Axial Plaz

Axial Plaz was one of the most recent international signings by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He received a $350,000 signing bonus, which was tied for the 5th most received by all international signings made by the Bucs. Perez brings another talented backstop to the Pirates, who have a truckload of new catching prospects over the past year.

Plaz is a highly regarded defender. He’s been praised for his catching ability given his age, as he’s only 16-years-old. Plaz uses his plus athleticism to move well behind the dish. He’s also been given plus grades for his arm. However, he doesn’t look like an all-defense backstop.

The young backstop has plus offensive upside as well. Plaz has a projectable 5’11″, 165-pound frame. He’s shown an ability to drive the ball to all fields with the potential to grow for more pop. While defense might be his strong suit, there’s a lot of upside than a glove-first catcher in Plaz.

Plaz is still very young and won’t turn 17-years-old until August. He’s still very far away from seeing any MLB action, however, he adds another dynamic backstop prospect to the deep Pirate farm system.