Today is the start of the International Signing Period, which means that teams can sign recently turned 16-year-old international players for the first time. The Pirates typically don’t spend big on any individual players, usually staying in the six figures for their biggest signings. They have made their first move, according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, agreeing to a deal with outfielder Larry Alcime Jr. for $350,000.
— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) July 2, 2015
Alcime is 6′ 2″, 200 pounds and is 16 years old. I couldn’t find much information on him in an initial search, other than the fact that he tried out in a Bahamas showcase for the Pirates. Putting his bonus in perspective, the Pirates gave their biggest bonus last year to outfielder Yondry Contreras, who signed for $400,000. In 2013, the top bonuses went to shortstop Adrian Valerio ($400,000) and outfielder Jeremias Portorreal ($375,000). Alcime has a similar build to Contreras. The fact that his bonus is in line with these other guys shows that he will be one of the top signings for the Pirates this year.
UPDATE 10:17 AM: Here is a video that features Alcime, via Imokemp on Twitter. The interesting stuff starts around the 5:20 mark. Alcime has a quick bat, and turned on a few to show a little more power to his pull side. The overall batting practice wasn’t great, and despite the name of the event including “power”, there wasn’t much power to be seen. That’s to be expected, since he was 14-15 when this was taken. In these cases, you’re not going to be seeing an MLB batting practice. Instead, you’re hoping to see glimpses of what he can do, with the hope that he can do a lot more of that in the future. He’s got a good build for his age, and there were a few swings in there that were impressive, with a quick bat. It’s a limited look, but gives a glimpse of where he’s at right now. I’ve reached out to his coach in the Bahamas for more information.
UPDATE 11:44 AM: The Pirates have been busy in the Bahamas, also signing 18-year-old shortstop Kyle Simmons. He has a good arm and can run, plus he has pitched(and pitched well) so it wouldn’t be strange if the Pirates put him right on the mound. He has played in a lot of international tournaments and was a member of the Bahamas National team. We will have more info on him later if possible. No bonus has been announced.
UPDATE 3:30 PM: Just got some added info on Simmons. He gave up pitching, so he will stick to shortstop, but he said he can also play second base. The arm and speed are plus tools. He is 6’0″, 170 pounds and I confirmed he is 18 years old. He used to be a switch-hitter, but gave it up and now only bats from the right side. Simmons will go to the Dominican academy tomorrow to start the process, although he has already been there visiting/practicing. He sounds like a great kid, especially while talking about the academy, his plans were “to work hard and not get comfortable there”. He also said that his hitting is further along than his fielding, but he has to “get better at both everyday”.