The Pittsburgh Pirates officially signed eight players from the Dominican Republic on Tuesday afternoon, as well as one highly touted prospect from Cuba. You can see photos of all of these players from yesterday’s event here.
We posted the scouting reports for the 12 players signed on day one, as well as Jun-Seok Shim and Raymond Mola (pictured up top), the two top 30 prospects signed by the Pirates. The Mola report was from online sources, so I added a scouting report I received below.
For a full list of signings, check out our international signing tracker.
Raymond Mola – The original scouting report for Mola above rated him as a 50 grade for all five tools, with the bat being the carrying tool. The report I received agreed on the ranking for the defense and arm, while the speed would probably be a 55 instead of a 50, which is a subjective difference. He’s going to be a corner bat as well, but I’m told there is potential for plus impact with the bat, especially once he grows into more power. He has an advanced approach at the plate, and has hit well since a young age. He currently uses the entire field well, hitting the ball with authority to all parts. He has been able to handle strong velocity fastballs for quite some time. His growth (filling out) will dictate his future.
Carlos Mateo – Mateo received a bigger bonus ($800,000) because he’s a big frame pitcher who was already touching mid-90s at 16 years old. He routinely tops out at 95-96 MPH. His listed height is 6’2″, though he’s had a late spurt and is “at least 6’3” now. He not only throws hard already, but he throws a lot of strikes already with that velocity. He has all of the ingredients you want to see for someone to end up as a power-pitcher in a durable starter role. His other pitches are a bit raw now, as he has shown a feel for his breaking ball and changeup, but there’s work being done to adjust his grips and get more out of the pitches. Huge potential upside here.
Bladimir Pichardo – He’s described as a Mateo-lite, because they have all of the same traits but his velocity is about four MPH behind, though it’s believe he has plenty of untapped velocity. He was sitting 86-88 MPH not long ago, but is current up to 92 MPH. He has shown signs of an advanced slider, with a good feel for spin, but it can be inconsistent. He throws all three of his pitches for strikes. It’s basically the same report as Mateo, frame/tools/age/power starter traits, just knock a few MPH off right now, while adding that Pichardo can be aggressive on the mound and really attack hitters with his pitches.
Keuri Almonte – He’s a 17-year-old left-handed pitcher, who projects as a future starter. He needs to work on his changeup, but right now he’s a deceptive lefty who hits 91 MPH, with a chance to add more as he fills out his 6’2″ frame. His slider is already a strong pitch that has been getting his great results against both left-handed and right-handed batters. The deception in his delivery makes his current two-pitch arsenal tough for anyone, but there’s potential for more velocity, as well as the work being done to get him a third pitch, so he can remain as a starter.
Dariel Francia – He’s a 16-year-old right-handed pitcher, standing in at 6’2″, 165 pounds, with room to fill out his medium frame as he gets older. He shows good arm speed, with an easy clean delivery and a fastball with tailing action, which should add velocity as he fills out. The repeatable delivery leads to good control. He’s a lower profile signing among this group, but has the body/athleticism/pitchability to be intriguing.
Dioris Martinez – He’s a 16-year-old, who stands 6’2″ 185 pounds, with current strength already, and room to add more. He is likely going to end up as a reliever. He has three pitches now, though his changeup is a clear third pitch and below average. The fastball and slider work for his potential role. The upside is that he’s a power arm, who has already shown the ability to spin the ball well.
Antonio Pimentel – He has been training as a shortstop, but he’s more likely to end up at second base. He’s 5’10”, 161 pounds, with some room to fill out, though he currently has some good strength. He’s an average runner, whose bat is his carrying tool. He already has a solid ability to square up the ball. He can get a little pull happy from the left side. There is mid-range power potential (15-20 if all goes well), which plays as a second baseman.
Angel Aquino – He’s 6’5″, 207 pounds with the potential for three plus tools. His raw power is tremendous, giving him the upside of a middle of the order bat. He’s an above average runner, plus strong defense as a corner outfielder, along with a plus arm. He’s still growing into that big frame, which might take away a little of that speed as he gets older. He makes consistent contact now, with good bat-to-ball skills and solid bat speed, but he doesn’t get to his power enough yet. He needs to solidify his approach at the plate. Potential impact bat.
Cristian Jauregui – A real sleeper prospect, and the first Cuban position player signed by the Pirates in more than ten years. The last Cuban player signed was pitcher Danny Hernandez in 2017, and he was a low-risk signing, who was already 25 years old.
Jauregui is a very athletic 16-year-old, who plays all three outfield spots, but his future is likely as a corner outfielder. He stands 5’11”, 180 pounds. He’s a fast runner, with 6.7 times in the 60. His arm is a plus tool, and he has a chance to be an impact defensive player. He was a switch-hitter, who has shown an impact bat from the left side, so he stopped switch-hitting for now. He currently drives the ball well to all fields, but he has room to grow and add power. He has shown the ability to plays well under pressure.
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.