JOHAN DE JESUS, THIRD BASEMAN
|Born: October 27, 1995
Signed: Int’l Free Agent, 2012, Tampa Bay Rays
How Acquired: Minor league free agent
Country: Dominican Republic
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|The Pirates gave De Jesus a moderately large bonus when they signed him on his 16th birthday. Since then, he’s struggled to hit, then missed a year due to a PED suspension. Originally a shortstop, he had problems at the position in his first year, then moved to third when the Pirates signed Adrian Valerio. By 2016 he had clearly outgrown the middle infield.
As MLB has introduced rules intended to reduce bonuses for international signees, the Pirates have increasingly gone to lower bonuses while many other teams have flouted the rules and handed out higher and higher bonuses. As a result, the Pirates have increasingly fallen out of the competition for the better Latin American prospects and been left with more moderately priced players like De Jesus, few of whom seem to be working out.
De Jesus struggled badly at the plate, showing no power and striking out a lot. He also had problems in the field, committing 24 errors in just 49 games at short, leading to an unsightly .888 fielding percentage.
The Pirates moved De Jesus to third in deference to Adrian Valerio. He made no progress on offense beyond drawing a lot of walks. In fact, his K rate got even worse.
De Jesus was hit with a PED suspension and missed the entire season.
Initially, the Pirates sent De Jesus back to the DSL, where he played first and third. Shortly into the season, though, they brought him to the US when another infielder suffered a possibly season-ending injury. He split his time between first and third in the GCL. He struggled there, hitting poorly with a low walk rate and very high K rate.
The Pirates moved De Jesus up to Bristol, where he split his time between first and third, mostly the former. His hitting improved a little, with a bit more power and a better walk rate, but he continued to strike out at almost exactly the same rate. He also had defensive problems.
De Jesus didn’t help himself with the suspension, but he appears to be overmatched anyway. Despite not having gotten above advanced rookie ball, he’s eligible for the Rule 5 draft.
|2018: Minor League Contract|
|Signing Bonus: $200,000
MiLB Debut: 2013
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2019
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2017
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|August 1, 2012: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an international free agent.