Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Ben Cherington's International Free Agent Signings

Aug 25, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Ben Cherington
Aug 25, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Ben Cherington / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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2020-2021

Breakout candidate Shalin Polanco was the Pirates’ big signing from the 2020-2021 international class. Considered the 10th-best international prospect per MLB Pipeline, Polanco has shown some talent in his minor league career but is still a very raw player. Last season, Polanco had a .250/.324/.371 slashline, .337 wOBA, and 97 wRC+. Those weren’t impressive numbers, but only slightly below the league average. Polanco had a solid 8.1% walk rate, albeit with a 27% strikeout rate. It’s also worth noting Polanco had a 118 wRC+ from mid-July through the end of the season.

Polanco is a well-rounded prospect, with FanGraphs projecting his hit tool, raw power, and game power, as well as his fielding, to come out to a 50-grade. Speed isn’t his strong suit, though MLB Pipeline grades him as an above-average runner. Again, he’s a very raw and projectable talent as he stands at just 5’11”, 168 pounds. Next year is only his age-19 campaign, 

The Pirates signed more than just Polanco. Other notable names the Pittsburgh Pirates snagged from the international market in 2020-2021 included Miguel Sosa, Alessandro Ercolani, Eddy Rodriguez, Esmerlyn Valdez, Darlin Diaz, Antwone Kelly, and Andres Silvera. Sosa produced the most at the plate in a catcher/corner outfield role, but Ercolani has posted great numbers in two minor league seasons. 

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