Pirates Sign Two International Players, Including the First Player from Mexico Since MLB Rules Change

The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed two international players over the last two days. On Wednesday afternoon, the signed 16-year-old right-handed pitcher Jorge Ramos. On Thursday, they signed 17-year-old catcher Geovanny Planchart.

Planchart has been training at the Jackson Melian Baseball Academy in Venezuela. They recently posted a video of him taking batting practice. Melian played pro ball for 20 years before opening his academy.


The signing of Ramos is significant because it’s the first signing out of Mexico by the Pirates since MLB lifted the ban on signings out of the country until they could work out a better deal for the players. Previously, the players only received 25% of the bonus handed out. Now the players get 100% and the teams get paid a “finders fee” of 35% to release the players. Ramos has been pitching at the Mexican League Baseball Academy (La Academia de la Liga Mexicana de Beisbol), which trains young players who aren’t ready for the summer league in Mexico. Ramos signed with Sultanes de Monterrey at the age of 15 in late 2017.

A bit of bad news for those who have been asking every so often….

The Cardinals were attached to Diaz before the ban was put in place, so it’s no surprise he ended up there after it was lifted. Even if the Pirates wanted him, their bonus pool was running dry.

Our international signing tracker has been updated. The Pirates have signed 39 players since July 2nd. While we don’t have all of the bonus amounts, we knew back in December that they had just $613,500 remaining in their bonus pool and they have signed nine players since then. The current signing period runs through June 15th. After a 16-day period where international signings aren’t allowed by any teams, the July 2nd signing period begins, with the Pirates having just north of $6M to spend (actual figure has yet to be released).

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.

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