The Houston Astros agreed to terms on contracts with two more international free agents today: shortstop Juan Pineda and shortstop Ozziel Sanchez, both 16 years old. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed. The announcement was made by Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow.
Pineda (5-10, 145) is from Veraguas, Panama and Sanchez (5-11, 160) is from Panama City, Panama. Both players will report to the Astros complex in the Dominican Republic.
Both players were scouted and signed by Astros Director of International Oz Ocampo.
"Pineda's best tool is his bat," said Ocampo. "He has a quiet approach and a short, quick stroke with good rhythm and balance. He has a knack for centering balls and hitting line drives to all fields. In the 2014 Panama National 15U tournament, Pineda led his team in hitting with a .338 batting average and was second in the tournament in hits."
Ocampo also commented on Sanchez: "His best tool is his defense. Sanchez has quick actions, soft hands, and an average to solid average arm presently. He projects to play at shortstop. Offensively, he shows gap power and uses all fields. He is a high-energy player who likes to play the game."
During last year's international signing period (2013-14), the Astros led all 30 Major League clubs with five signings from Panama. Those players were C Ihan Bernal, RHP Abdiel Saldana, RHP Edgardo Sandoval, RHP Jose Ramos and RHP Gabriel Valdez, who are all currently playing in the Dominican Summer League.
The Astros have now signed five international free agents this season. Yesterday, the club signed RHP Franklin Perez, SS Miguelangel Sierra and C Brandon Benavente, all 16-year-old free agents from Venezuela.