For the past month, it seems like I get asked this question at least once a day: who are the Pirates targeting on the international market? Prior to the draft we didn’t hear much news, mostly because outlets like Baseball America were focused on the draft. Ben Badler of Baseball America has been releasing his July 2nd previews, and has an interesting note for Pirates fans in today’s preview of outfielders and catchers.
Badler mentions outfielder Harold Ramirez as a guy who could be in line for a bonus of around $1 M, and that the Pirates are the team most closely tied to Ramirez at that price. Ramirez is 16 years old, from Columbia, and has a thick 5′ 11″, 175 pound frame. Despite the frame, he’s a plus-plus runner, although he doesn’t really have the arm for center field, and there might not be any power projection left in his frame.
The Pirates spent the 4th most in the international market last year, mostly due to the $2.6 M given to Luis Heredia. In Badler’s preview of the top options on the market, he mentioned that the Pirates would be a team that is active this year, although not to the extent that they were last year. We’ve already heard that the Pirates don’t envision a Heredia or Miguel Sano this year. If they do end up spending $1 M on Ramirez, it would be a significant splash, ranking as the second biggest international bonus given out by the Pirates.