Information and Videos for the Pirates Latest International Signing

We mentioned on Tuesday night that the Pittsburgh Pirates signed two international players, but we needed to do some digging to get information. We added some of that information in our international signing tracker on Wednesday, but got some great detail on catcher Rafael Escalante last night. Below you can see a picture of him signing his contract.

Escalante is a 17-year-old from Venezuela, who bats and throws right-handed. He stands 5’11”, 160 pounds. He was playing in the Kander Prospect League in Venezuela when the Pirates scouted him. His main position is shortstop according to a person in charge of the league, but he’s very athletic and can play anywhere. The Pirates liked what they saw from him behind the plate, so they signed him as a catcher. He has the arm to play shortstop, to go along with 1.7-1.8 pop times behind the plate. He also runs 6.5-6.7 in the 60.

While his position could be an experiment at this stage, that athleticism will allow him to play almost anywhere if the bat carries him. According to the league, the bat is his best tool. Below you’ll find two brief videos so you can see some of the bat and his speed for yourself. He will be in the DSL next year, but could join the instructional league going on in the Dominican right now.

The other player signed on Tuesday is still a little bit of a mystery. Ronny Sanchez was signed as a third baseman. He’s 5’11”, 191 pounds and he’s one of the youngest players in this current signing class. He turned 16 on July 22nd, which means he wasn’t available to sign until 20 days after the signing period began. He is from the Dominican and bats and throws right-handed.




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