According to Baseball America, the Pittsburgh Pirates rank third among all teams in baseball for international players signed since 2006. Baseball America ranked the Pirates farm system first overall at the beginning of the year and the team’s top 30 prospects list has 12 players that were signed as international free agents. That is tied for the fourth highest total among all 30 teams.
As for the success of the Pirates since 2006, the keys to the list are Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco, who they say is now possibly one of the top five prospects in baseball. BA also points to the signings of Harold Ramirez, who was the top ranked player in the New York-Penn League last year and Michael de la Cruz, who was named as one of the best DSL/VSL prospects and a top international breakout candidate. They were both signings that were questioned by some scouts, but both players have performed beyond expectations so far.
The system also has Alen Hanson and Luis Heredia ranked in the top ten, Joely Rodriguez just outside that group and plenty of potential sleeper prospects such as Elvis Escobar and Edwin Espinal, who are both playing for West Virginia. There are also players such as Tito Polo, who should start in the GCL this season. He is a potential five-tool player, who saw plenty of time in the Colombian Winter League this off-season against mostly older competition and held his own. Polo won’t show up in any prospect rankings now, but he could change all of that by the end of the season.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.
John…from that article, did we ever sign Yulieski Gourriel,a 29-year-old third baseman from Cuba?
He has not been allowed to leave Cuba yet, so no one has signed him
John do you know of any top prospects in the international market that the Pirates are interested in?
Pitcher Alonso Garcia, who is now 6’0″ and hits 91 MPH, he became the youngest player ever to play in the Mexican Pacific League this year. Here is an article from February on him http://18.104.22.168/2014/02/international-links-two-players-pirates-have-scouted.html
I wonder if Tito Polo is afraid to go into swimming pools.
You’ll love this. Tito Polo read this thread and told me(in Spanish) his favorite thing to do in the off-season is swimming. No lie, there is your answer.
Geez, that’s hilarious!
It’s good to know.
Wonder no more, he has no fear of the water. The water fears him