With the Dominican Summer League season starting in just over three weeks, the Pittsburgh Pirates added three players to their 2021-22 international signing class. They agreed to deals with catchers July Vittini and Lennyn Nunez, as well as right-handed pitcher Luis Angel Rodriguez. They have now signed 23 players during this current international signing period, which runs through December 15, 2022.
Nunez is an 18-year-old switch-hitter from Venezuela, who stands in at 5’10”, with plenty of filling out to do, currently at 150 pounds. He is very athletic, with good bat speed and above average running. He gets high marks for his hard play on the field.
Vittini is also 18 years old (from the Dominican), with good size at 6’2″, 190 pounds, and a large frame that will allow him to continue to add muscle/weight. He’s a right-handed hitter with some nice raw power. The Pirates signed two catchers on the first day of this current signing period four months ago, but these are the first two added since then. All three players here will be playing during this current season.
Rodriguez is 17 years old and stands 6’0″, 185 pounds. He’s from the Dominican. He’s a projectable pitcher, with a decent fastball already, with a chance to be a power pitcher in the future. He throws a slider that is his go to pitch now, with a chance to be a plus pitch. His changeup is his third pitch now, and a work in progress, though he has a feel for the pitch already.
Our signing tracker has been updated, and it includes Yoerys Hernandez, who we didn’t announce here yet because I was waiting on the report, but I gave a Twitter teaser.
Pirates recently made their 1st international signing of the 2021-22 international signing period since January 17th. They inked 18-year-old 6'2" lefty pitcher Yoerys Hernandez from the Dominican, who was originally trying to get signed as a power-hitting lefty outfielder
— John Dreker (@JohnDreker) April 15, 2022
Yoerys Hernandez was a lefty power bat going into the previous signing period, but he started to develop better on the mound recently, showing some great improvements with his fastball and control. Since he was a position player for so long, he is still a bit raw as a pitcher, but there is a lot of projection. As an outfielder with power, he was getting some notice, but the bonus money wasn’t there.
If you missed it from earlier, we got some info on two players who the Pirates are front runners to sign in an upcoming international signing period.
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.
Any word on whether they will be fielding one rather than two DR teams given the smaller class of international players signed during the last two signing periods?
Two teams. They have a lot of players in the Dominican right now because only about 20 have come over for the FCL this year
Thanks for the info. Has to be last year for two teams unless they increase the amount of players they are signing or draft, if it goes that way.
They have said that they will take it year-by-year. It’s not hard to have a second team and it can pay off if you have a lot of pitchers or something like 3-4 shortstops who you want getting work at the position. It’s no trouble filling out a roster if needed
July Vittini HAS to make it. This is not optional.
This august assembly agrees with you, Wilbur.