Pirates Prospects Daily: Pirates Favored to Sign Three Notable International Prospects

Starting today, teams will be allowed to sign international players for the 2023 international signing period.

Newly eligible to sign are players who turned 16 before September 1, 2022. A majority of the players signing today will be first-time eligible players, most 16-17 years old.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been connected to some big names, but don’t expect today to be the busiest/best day of their signing class.

The Pirates signed a total of 28 players last year in a signing period that ran from January 15th through December 15th. More than half of those players (18) signed on January 15th, and another first-day player signed on the 17th.

This year will be something similar, though today won’t be the only signing day.

There will be three signing groups across the next three days, with the Pirates expected to sign 22 players total among those groups if all goes well. Some of the agreements or bonus amounts you might hear today won’t be official until those signings take place.

There have been three notable players who have been connected to the Pirates. According to reports, the Pirates are the favorites to sign Dominican outfielder Raymond Mola, Korean pitcher Jun-Seok Shim, and Cuban outfielder Cristian Jauregui.

Shim and Mola were rated as top 30 prospects by Jesse Sanchez on MLB Pipeline. Jauregui has only recently been cleared to sign.

The Pirates have spent all of their international bonus pool money every year for quite some time, so expect them to at least spend their $5,825,500 bonus pool, but the opportunity will be there to add more.

Teams were able to acquire 60% more before the ability to trade bonus pool space was stopped two years ago. That 60% number is probably back into effect, but I will update this if I hear otherwise.

In summary, today will be a busy day, but not everything you will hear from various sources will be official. I will sort through that as it comes in.

A large majority of the news with this signing class will happen between today and Tuesday, but there will also be news later this month.

Then we can watch for players (and possibly bonus pool money) being added throughout the other ten months of the signing period.

Pirates Prospects Daily

By Tim Williams

Highlight of the Day

Daily Links

**The 2023 international signing period begins today. John wrapped up the 2022 international class on Saturday evening with scouting reports on the final two signings.

**In the latest Pirates Winter Report, John wrote about the experience that Jase Bowen is getting in Australia.

**The Pirates and Ji-Man Choi exchanged arbitration figures.

**Ernny Ordonez and Chavez Young homered in the latest Pirates winter league update.

**Missed yesterday? Anthony Murphy broke down the signing of Andrew McCutchen, and what he brings to the Pirates lineup, beyond nostalgia.

Song of the Day

Pirates Prospects Weekly – Saturday

In the latest Pirates Winter Report, John Dreker looks at the experience that Jase Bowen is adding in Australia.

Pirates Winter Report: Jase Bowen is Gaining Some Nice Experience in Australia

Ethan Hullihen takes a look at the Domestic Reserve List in his latest Pirates Business article on Sunday at noon.

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.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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I just did a little research on the Dominican Academy. It opened in 2019. It looks great. The instigators were Nutting and Huntington.


Previously the Bucs had a big advantage in LA due to Branch Rickey’s scout Howie Haak. But after he left in 1988, the operation became pedestrian. Subsequent GMs didn’t fix it.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Maybe they’ll start trading some of their 500 OFs for slot money?


All that International money spent and what do the Pirates have to show for it?


Lots of minor league depth plus Bae and Castro.


I went back and looked at some Top 30 signing groups. Pretty motley crew with most never reaching the majors. Hopefully OUR Top 30 signings do.

Check out this list from 2015. Couple of big names, but not much else that jumps out at me.


Last edited 12 days ago by leefieux

Thanks. Swings and misses seem to be the norm, with exciting exceptions.


DR, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Colombia,and Panama.


dominican republic. cuba. korea. venezuela. bahamas.


go me!

Wilbur Miller

Is the fun one today?


Do you think it is possible for teams to exceed their bonus pool by up to 60% without penalty? For the Pirates that would mean almost an additional $3.5 mil bringing them to a little more than $9 mil. Sounds like a lot, but with the first few picks in the Amateur Draft costing more than $8 mil to sign, it very well could be the biggest bargain available for a team like the Pirates.

With guys like Oneil Cruz, Rodolfo Castro, Endy Rodriguez, Roansy Contreras, and Johan Oviedo set to work at the MLB level in 2023, the system works. Sad though that only one of those guys mentioned was originally signed by the Pirates (Castro).

Wilbur Miller

Thing is, you could let a team spend $10M, $15M, whatever, but what would they do with it? Throwing $800K at a $100K prospect doesn’t make him an $800K prospect. And a Luis Ortiz is still going to fly under the radar.
They’re committing most of this money when these kids are 14. The system is insane from every conceivable standpoint, for teams, players and local communities. But MLB and the union can’t drop their insistence that there has to be a big payoff for even the most trivial CBA provisions, so heaven forbid they just do the right thing.

Last edited 12 days ago by Wilbur Miller

Thanks for the info. Can’t wait to hear that the signings are official 😁


Hi Drek, Shim sounds like a beast for 18, Korean built like a Cuban
So he’s a little on the wild side, when was last time you DIDN’T hear of 18 yr old flame thrower have issues with the zone. Easy fix
find a very good translater and drop them both with
Dewey Robinson for a week. Speaking of workouts Is the few chances to stroll thru PC evaporating in front of our very eyes. i mean is this it?
Please if you can forward any additional info a i’m heading to Bradenton for a couple weeks in early march
Thx and enjoy your Sunday and the G.O.A.T.tonight


Thanks for the 2nd paragraph – last time down, PC was locked down to a very small area where only the two fields closest to the entry could be partially viewed. I was told it had to do with pandemic precautions recommended/ordered by MLB. Will the restricted access continue in ST 2023?

Wilbur Miller

I’ll check when things start in Feb, but I’m expecting it to be the same way. The pandemic just gave them an excuse to heighten the level of secrecy. I’ve been to half a dozen facilities around here and no other team behaves like they do.

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