Morning Report: Signing Players from Obscure Baseball Countries

On Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Pirates released 19-year-old outfielder Larry Alcime, exactly three years after he signed for a $350,000 bonus. Just over a week ago, they also released infielder Kyle Simmons, who signed at the same time as Alcime for a much smaller bonus. Those two were linked because they are both from the Bahamas, a country that has not produced much Major League talent over the years.

Around the same time the Pirates signed Alcime and Simmons, they also signed Sherten Apostel. Then this past international signing period, they signed Apostel’s younger brother Shendrik and infielder Tilsaimy Melfor. They are all associated because they are from Curacao. The Bahamas has produced six MLB players, while Curacao has 15 to their credit.

I bring all of this up to point out one other thing from this year, which we might see with this particular international signing class. The Pirates hired Venezuelan scout Emilio Carrasquel, who has a tremendous reputation in his home country. Not as well known of a fact is that he also has a great reputation in Brazil, which is a lot like the Bahamas and Curacao as far as MLB track records go. Just five players have made it from the country to the big leagues.

If you looked at the failure from the Bahamas, you might think it’s a waste for a scout with a huge reputation in a country like Venezuela, to venture outside his country. It’s a hotbed for baseball, with 388 players from the country in the big leagues over the years and many more on the way. There is plenty for him to scout in his own country year round.

If you look at Curacao though, you see Sherten Apostel, who has one of the best power bats in the system and he skipped over the GCL this year due to his performance in Extended Spring Training. His younger brother is 6’5″ and very strong. He’s been getting pitched around all season in the DSL due to his power display during their version of Spring Training. Melfor was hitting the ball as well as anyone for the DSL Pirates before he got injured. They are all lower level players and nothing is guaranteed, but all of them look better now than Alcime or Simmons did at any point.

Brazil might end up being a new country for talent for the Pirates. At the very least, it won’t go ignored like it has in the past.

** If you missed our Pay-It-Forward article yesterday, which got knocked off of the top of the front page rather quickly with all of the news, here’s the link again. Please pass it along to anyone who qualifies for a free account and is interested in the Pirates or one of their minor league teams. There are plenty of remaining PIF’s left and every profession/student is still available due to the people who selected the “other” category.

** Austin Meadows lost his prospect status last night with his first at-bat, meaning we have a new #2 prospect in the system and I have extra work to do on the Prospect Watch today to adjust it. The new second place spot goes to Cole Tucker, but we will have our mid-season prospect update in about two weeks. Full list and article will be available to subscribers, while anyone who orders our eBook will get full reports on the top 50 players. More details on the mid-season eBook at a later time.

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 8-3 to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. The Pirates will announce a starter today after Joe Musgrove was placed on the disabled list last night. (UPDATE: Clay Holmes was named starter for tonight early this morning. It will be his first MLB start) The scheduled Dodgers starter is left-hander Rich Hill, who has a 4.69 ERA in 42.1 innings, with 46 strikeouts and a 1.42 WHIP. He allowed one run over 6.2 innings against the Colorado Rockies in his last outing.

The minor league schedule includes 20-year-old southpaw Domingo Robles starting for West Virginia. He had a 2.39 ERA and an 0.99 WHIP in 26.1 innings last month. Altoona starter Eduardo Vera had 11 straight outings of at least six innings before failing to go six in each of his last three starts. Brandon Waddell makes his second start after four straight appearances out of the bullpen. Mike Wallace is on the schedule for Bradenton today and Colin Selby is due to start for Bristol in their early afternoon game. Selby has two starts without allowing a run or walk.

MLB: Pittsburgh (40-45) @ Dodgers (46-39) 8:10 PM
Probable starter: TBD (0.00 ERA, 0:0 SO/BB, 0.0 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (44-38) @ Louisville (32-47) 6:15 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Brandon Waddell (7.84 ERA, 14:11 SO/BB, 20.2 IP)

AA: Altoona (42-37) vs Trenton (47-36) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Eduardo Vera (5.45 ERA, 21:7 SO/BB, 34.2 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (39-38) @ St Lucie (32-46) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Mike Wallace (5.26 ERA, 42:10 SO/BB, 53.0 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (45-33) vs Lexington (41-39) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Domingo Robles (3.20 ERA, 63:16 SO/BB, 78.2 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (7-11) vs Williamsport (7-10) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD (0.00 ERA, 0:0 SO/BB, 0.0 IP)

Rookie: Bristol (7-7) vs Johnson City (6-7) 12:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Colin Selby (0.00 ERA, 8:0 SO/BB, 6.2 IP)

GCL: Pirates (4-8) vs Phillies West 10:00 AM (season preview)

DSL: Pirates1 (11-16) vs Dodgers Guerrero 10:30 AM (season preview)

DSL: Pirates2 (12-15) vs Royals2 10:30 AM (season preview)

HIGHLIGHTS

From Altoona on Monday night, Will Craig hammers a line drive over the fence in left-center field.

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

7/3: Pirates released Larry Alcime.

7/3: Pirates sign Michael Burrows.

7/3: Pirates recall Dovydas Neverauskas. Tanner Anderson optioned to Indianapolis.

7/3: Montana DuRapau promoted to Indianapolis. Erich Weiss placed on disabled list.

7/3: Travis MacGregor activated from West Virginia disabled list. Gavin Wallace promoted to Bradenton.

7/2: Pirates signed a lot of international players.

7/2: Pirates signed even more international players.

7/2: Pirates sign Grant Koch and Mike Gretler.

7/2: Nick Kingham recalled. Jose Osuna optioned to Indianapolis.

7/2: Enny Romero designated for assignment.

7/2: Sean Rodriguez assigned to Indianapolis on rehab

7/1: Calvin Mitchell activated from West Virginia disabled list.

6/30: Ryan Haug assigned to Bradenton.

6/30: Pirates sign Alec Rennard.

6/29: Chad Kuhl placed on disabled list. Max Moroff recalled from Indianapolis.

6/29: Brett Pope promoted to Bradenton. Matt Eckelman promoted to Altoona.

6/29: Evan Piechota activated from Bradenton disabled list.

6/28: Mitch Keller and Jason Martin promoted to Indianapolis. Alfredo Reyes promoted to Bradenton.

6/28: Eddie Muhl retired.

6/27: Sean Rodriguez placed on disabled list. Tanner Anderson called up to Pirates.

6/27: Jung Ho Kang and Christopher Bostick placed on disabled list. Eric Wood activated from Indianapolis DL.

6/27: Raul Siri promoted to West Virginia.

6/27: Pirates sign John O’Reilly.

6/26: Pirates sign Allen Montgomery.

6/26: Jason Delay placed on disabled list.

6/26: Ryan Haug assigned to GCL Pirates. Will Reed assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.

6/25: Jackson Williams added to Indianapolis roster. Arden Pabst assigned to Bradenton.

6/25: Eric Wood assigned to Morgantown on rehab.

6/25: Pirates release Johnny Hellweg.

6/24: Pirates place Michael Feliz on disabled list. Clay Holmes recalled from Indianapolis

6/24: Jerrick Suiter activated from Indianapolis disabled list.

6/24: Pirates released Kyle Simmons and Cristopher Perez.

THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY

Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date , plus a famous manager was born on this date as well. Going quickly through the players, as bios of each can be found in the link. Starting with the most recent first we have 2010 relief pitcher Brendan Donnelly, left fielder Wayne Nordhagen, who played for the Pirates on June 19, 1982. We also have pitcher Jim Minshall (1974-75), pitcher Jim Nelson, who was a member of the 1971 world champs, 1929 pinch-runner Mel Ingram, 1912 right fielder Stump Edington, and 1906 pitcher Lou Manske. Ingram was a four-sport star at Gonzaga and was signed to a unique contract, one that started on June 18th and guaranteed he would be released by September 1st so he could return home to his job.

Chuck Tanner was born on this date in 1928. He managed the Pirates from 1977 until 1985, leading them to their fifth World Series title. Tanner was a Major League outfielder for eight years, but he is better known for his work as a manager. He was managing the Oakland A’s when the Pirates traded Manny Sanguillen and cash to Oakland for Tanner. In his nine seasons in Pittsburgh, which included the dreadful 1985 season, he had a 711-685 record. He led the Pirates to one title and three second place finishes. Tanner finished with 1,352 career wins.

The link above also contains a noteworthy trade from 1905, plus a recap of a doubleheader from the 1902 season, when the Pirates were the most dominant team in baseball. In that 1905 trade, the Pirates sent shortstop George McBride to the St Louis Cardinals in exchange for infielder Dave Brain. The significant part of the deal is that Brain was soon traded to Boston as part of the deal to acquire Vic Willis, who would go on to have four straight 20-win seasons with the Pirates, including the 1909 World Series winning season.

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