Shortly before the December 15th deadline last month to sign international amateur players, the Pittsburgh Pirates signed two 18-year-old players from the Dominican Republic to round out their 2022 international signing class. The 2023 signing period starts on Sunday, and we will have all of the news of the day here. I wanted to wrap up the 2022 class before that started.
You can find info on all 28 signings from the 2022 class in our tracker. Basic information on shortstop Edwarli Brioso and right-handed pitcher Jonawel Valdez has been on the chart since December 7th, but we didn’t get the scouting reports until today.
Valdez is a three-pitch guy with a loose arm and athleticism in his 6’1″, 185 pound frame. When he first signed with the Pirates, he had an 84-86 MPH, which is now up to 88 MPH, with the projection to add more velocity. He has a good feel for the strike zone with his fastball and his changeup, which is 81-82. The slider is a work in progress, and it sits 77-79 MPH. There’s potential high upside here, as he is still developing.
Brioso is 5’11, 161 pounds, with a chance to stay at shortstop. He has all of the tools, including a strong arm, athleticism and great instincts. He runs well, with a chance to be a plus runner. There’s no power yet, but he has a chance to add as he fills out. He’s a lefty hitter now after originally switch-hitting, which he will likely return to in the future.
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.