The Pittsburgh Pirates added two more international signings this week, bringing in two pitchers from the Dominican Republic. They are 17-year-old lefty Yoldin De La Paz and 21-year-old right-hander Yunior Thibo.
De La Paz is 6’0″, 176 pounds and comes from Bani, DR. He turned 17 in May. De La Paz currently sits 85-89 MPH with his fastball, mixing it with a 69-74 MPH curve, a 72-75 MPH slider and a 78-81 MPH changeup. He’s very athletic, with good arm speed and arm action, along with the stamina to be a starting pitcher.
Thibo is obviously old for an international signing, but he has a chance to move quickly through the system, so he won’t be on the same schedule as your average international signing. He stands in at 6’4″, 185 pounds, with a strong frame, good arm and room to still add muscle. He already sits 91-95 MPH with the fastball and mixes it with a 77-83 MPH curve. He’s going to be developed as a bullpen arm because he has two strong pitches now and there is potential for plus velocity as he fills out. He’s already fairly advanced, with the ability to throw strikes, repeating his delivery well.
The international class now sits at 38 players signed since July 2nd, with 22 of them being pitchers.
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.