Baseball America’s International Signing Review for the Pirates

Baseball America posted their international signing review for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday morning. Ben Badler has reports on 13 of the players signed during this class. I’ll hit some quick points from the article.

Badler mentions that 20 players received six-figure bonuses from the Pirates in 2019, but only mentions 13 in the article. He added some of the bonuses we were missing on our signing tracker, which covers all 41 players signed since July 2nd, along with scouting reports on 40 of them (I’ll get to #41 below). This article from BA covers the entire year, so when you see “more than 50 international players signed”, it’s also including the later players in the 2018-19 class. By my count, they are at exactly 50 players signed in 2019.

Outfielder Ewry Espinal received a $225,000 bonus. I was told he received approximately $200,000, so this is one we sort of knew already, but now we have an exact number.

Diego Chiquillo, a lefty from Colombia, received $200,000. That’s a bit higher than I would have guessed based on the scouting report we got back in July.

Luis Faringthon got a $160,000 bonus. Badler notes that he has added a tick to his fastball, which sat 86-90 back in July.

Outfielder Robert DePaula was handed a $180,000 bonus. He’s a potential power bat.

Shortstop Jeral Toledo got $155,000 to sign. He’s a raw player, with the ability to stick at shortstop, but he could take some time to develop.

We have 12 six-figure bonuses listed in our international signing tracker, along with some lesser ones. Two of the players we don’t have, who Badler mentions in the article, are shortstop Javier Rivas and catcher Omar Alfonzo. They are both from Venezuela, where the bonus info is being kept secret to help protect the players. They got six-figure deals, but that’s as much as we will get from them anytime soon.

Our signing tracker only shows the numbers we have available, so the remaining bonus pool you see is much higher than what the Pirates actually have left. I was told back in late October that they had slightly less than $400,000 remaining in their bonus pool. Since that point, they have signed two players who likely received mid five-figure bonuses. So they still have money remaining, but it’s not much considering that the signing period runs until June 15th. Obviously you want to see them spend their allotted money, so that’s not an issue. It just limits what they can do over the rest of the signing period, unless they acquire more bonus pool space in a trade.

The article from BA has one strong development from a young pitcher worth mentioning. Badler notes that Roelmy Garcia has been up to 95 MPH already. That’s up about five MPH since signing, which is a significant number, but not a surprise. Garcia’s scouting report from July read:

“His velocity is currently in the same range as the other players here, but he has some of the best arm speed, and could easily end up being the hardest thrower in this class. Very athletic player. Big upside.”

** I mentioned that we had scouting reports for 40 of the 41 players signed since July 2nd. The other player is left-handed pitcher Luis Brito from the Dominican, who I didn’t get enough on for an article. He signed at 17 years old in October, but turned 18 two weeks ago. He’s 6’1″, 164 pounds and the only description I got was that he had a nice frame with a ton of room to fill out (described as “skinny”). Sounds like a projection signing, who likely received a small bonus.