Three Pirates international prospects to remember

The Pirates have some underrated international talent to keep an eye on.

Cleveland Indians v Pittsburgh Pirates
Cleveland Indians v Pittsburgh Pirates / Jared Wickerham/GettyImages
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David Matoma

The Pirates are known for finding baseball talent from unique parts of the world. In 2017, they debuted the first Lithuanian-born MLB player, Dovydas Neverauskas, and the first South African-born MLB player, Gift Ngoepe. They could once again make history in the near future, as they signed David Matoma last off-season. Matoma is just the third Ugandan-born baseball player to play in affiliated baseball.

Matoma has already pitched professionally, logging 16.2 innings for the Pirates’ Dominican Summer League affiliates. He did not allow a single earned run but walked seven batters with 14 K’s. He also allowed a dozen hits in the small sample size. Matoma was used as a multi-inning arm, pitching that many innings in only nine games and one start. Of course, at that low of a level, pitching roles are not nearly as defined and specialized as they are in MLB.

The 18-year-old is a lanky six-foot, 155-lb. However, despite the thin frame and young age, Matoma is already topping out at 100 MPH. Matoma also throws a slider and a change-up. Baseball America describes his arm motion as quick, although there are some moving parts in his delivery that could hinder his command later on down the line.

Matoma is already an interesting guy to watch simply because he is one of the few Ugandan-born baseball players in the United States. Add on to the fact he’s already topping out at 100 MPH and he becomes an extremely intriguing prospect to keep tabs on in 2024 and beyond. You have to imagine with that thin of a frame at his age, he’ll add a few pounds of muscle over the next few years. If he can do that, it might help him maintain a higher velocity. We shall see how he develops, but he’ll be an interesting prospect to keep an eye on.