The Pittsburgh Pirates added two more players to their international signing class on Monday afternoon, picking up Venezuelan catcher Omar Alfonzo and right-handed pitcher Juan Fuentes from Colombia. The Pirates have now signed 29 players since July 2nd. Here’s our signing tracker.
Alfonzo is the son of former big league catcher Eliezer Alfonzo, who played six seasons split between four teams from 2006-2011. The younger Alfonzo turned 16 on Saturday, so the Pirates had to wait to sign him until now. He’s an offensive-minded catcher, though his defense is also solid for his age. The bat is advanced though, with power potential from the left side. It’s considered raw power now, but the Pirates like the swing and his ability to get to that power. He was one of their top offensive targets of this signing period. Alfonzo stands in at 5’11”, 170 pounds.
Here’s a short clip. Alfonzo is the batter.
Fuentes is a little bit older and still has plenty of projection. He turns 18 at the end of September. He’s from Colombia, but has been training in the Dominican. Right now he throws 84-88 MPH, with a feel for a changeup that sits 78-80 MPH and a 74-76 MPH curve. He’s very athletic and has a nice frame, standing 6’3″, with plenty of room to fill out at 160 pounds now. He has a good, clean delivery and projects as a starter down the line. He’s obviously all about projection at this point, but he’s got the frame/delivery/athleticism that you look for in projectable players.
The Pirates have just north of $750,000 left in their international bonus pool. When I mentioned that number the other day in the Corey Dickerson trade article, it already included the money set aside for Alonzo. He’s from Venezuela, so we won’t announce his bonus due to the troubles players can run into in the country.