Pittsburgh Pirates 2020-21 International Signing Preview
This is part of Ben Badler's 2020-21 international signing day preview. You can find the Pirates 2019 International Signing Class here. You can also find his international big board of 2020 prospects here.
The Pirates signed more than 20 players for six-figure bonuses in 2019, adding a high volume of players while spreading their bonus pool money around to fill out two rosters in the Dominican Summer League. Their biggest bonus ($850,000) in 2019 went to Dominican righthander Cristopher Cruz, but they're expected to give pay one of the top 10 bonuses for a player in the 2020-21 class once the signing period opens on Jan. 15.
The top player the Pirates are expected to sign is Shalin Polanco, an outfielder from the Dominican Republic who looks to be in line for a bonus of around $2.5 million. Polanco is a lefty with a loose, compact swing and a chance to grow into power once he fills out his lean 6-foot, 170-pound frame.
Ruben Vizcaya is an athletic outfielder from Venezuela the Pirates are expected to sign. He has shown strong tools, with above-average speed, a strong arm and over-the-fence power from the right side.
Dominican righthander Darlin Diaz should be one of the top pitchers in the Pirates' class. He trains in the same program and is projected to sign for around $500,000, with speedy Dominican center fielder John Zorilla also likely to sign for a similar price. Outfielders Esmerlyn Valdez, Rodolfo de la Cruz and Eddy Rodriguez from the Dominican Republic and Gustavo Armas from Venezuela are also linked to the Pirates. So are a pair of pitchers from the Dominican Republic, lefthander Ruben Lebron and righthander Luigi Hernandez.
Rodolfo de la Cruz: