The Pittsburgh Pirates added to their July 2nd signing class on Wednesday by bringing in right-handed pitchers Lewys Guzman and Juan Santos, and left-handed pitcher Jose Vasquez. Guzman turned 17 in February, while the other two are 16 years old. They also signed 16-year-old switch-hitting shortstop Pedro Figuereo on Friday. The Pirates have now signed 27 international players since July 2nd and 15 of them are pitchers.
Guzman is a little bit of a late signing since he was eligible last July 2nd, but he used to be a middle infielder. You can see his video here, where he’s at shortstop and doing some hitting.
Guzman is still very early in his pitching days, but he throws 86-89 MPH, with a 76-80 MPH slider and a mid-80s changeup. Good arm speed with feel for spin on the breaking ball already. He’s extremely athletic and the Pirates hope that translates well on the mound. He’s listed at 6’1″, 180 pounds.
Vasquez is small for a pitcher at 5’10”, 180 pounds, but he is already very strong at a young age. He throws 87-91 MPH, with a slow curve (69-72 MPH) that gets great spin. His changeup is 79-82 MPH. He has a loose easy arm, with a solid, repeatable delivery.
Santos is from Brazil, a territory that hasn’t produced many MLB players but it’s one of the up and coming places to find talent. He currently throws 82-87 MPH, with a 78-80 MPH slider and a 78-81 MPH changeup. Santos has tightened up the slider recently, which was more in the 75-78 MPH range previously. He has average arm speed and shows good spin. Pirates feel he can really improve all of those pitches. He has a 6’3″, 190 frame that has plenty of projection. Here is a very short video. That glove pop is music to baseball ears
Figuereo is described as a solid athlete with solid defensive skills, and he projects to stay at shortstop. Right now he has average bat-to-ball skills, but he has a lot of projection in his 5’10, 150 pound frame. He’s the sixth shortstop signed by the Pirates, so some of them will have to play elsewhere, but all are athletic types who can move to other positions without any problem.
You can find all of the signings, along with links to scouting reports on all 27 players, in our 2019 international signing tracker.
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.