Pirates land 2 of top 12 int'l prospects

January 18th, 2022

The Pirates are going big on the international market this year -- literally.

The club on Tuesday announced deals with 6-foot-5 outfielder Tony Blanco Jr. (No. 11 on MLB.com’s Top 50 International Prospects list) and 6-foot-1 shortstop Yordany De Los Santos (No. 12). Pittsburgh also signed Puerto Rican-born outfielder Pitterson Rosa and right-hander Hung-Leng Chang of Chinese Taipei among 19 total international signings.

Terms of the deals were not disclosed, but according to industry sources, Blanco signed for $900,000, De Los Santos signed for $1.2 million and Chang for $500,000. The Pirates have a bonus pool of $6,262,600.

Blanco projects as a corner outfielder and a middle-of-the-order bat. He shows good bat speed and tons of raw power with 40-plus home run potential in his future. He exhibits advanced strike zone awareness and pitch recognition beyond his years.

On defense, he has solid-to-average arm strength that projects to be a plus tool. He moves well for a prospect his size and will likely start his professional career in right field, with left field, first base and designated hitter as secondary options. The son of former Major Leaguer Tony Blanco Sr., who played for the Nationals as well as in the Dominican Republic and Japan, the teenager grew up around the game.

As for De Los Santos, the right-handed hitter has a large frame and shows a solid offensive package at a premium position. He consistently makes solid contact and could hit in the middle of the lineup in the big leagues one day.

On defense, he moves well around the diamond and displays solid actions with plus arm potential. There’s a chance he could outgrow the position and move to third base because of his size, but he’s expected to stay at shortstop as long as he can.

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association finalized a deal in March 2020 that addressed the international signing period during the pandemic. The 2022 international signing period runs through Dec. 15, the second year in a row the period -- which previously began July 2 -- started in January.

The current rules also state that teams are not allowed to trade any of their international pool money. Signing bonuses of $10,000 or less do not count toward a club's bonus pool, and foreign professional players who are at least 25 years old and have played in a foreign league for at least six seasons are also exempt.

Here are the prospects who have agreed to deals with the Pirates in the 2022 international signing period:

Yordany De Los Santos, SS, Dominican Republic -- $1,200,000
Tony Blanco, OF, United States -- $900,000
Pitterson Rosa, RHS, Puerto Rico -- $700,000
Hung-Leng Chang, RHS, Taiwan -- $500,000
Eduardo Oviedo, OF, Dominican Republic -- $450,000
Carlos Tirado, 1B, Mexico -- $350,000
Axiel Plaz, C, Venezuela -- $350,000
Roinny Aguiar, SS, Venezuela -- $315,000
Christopher Orelin, SS, Dominican Republic -- $240,000
Isaac Paulino, SS, Dominican Republic -- $200,000
Angel Camacho, LHS, Mexico -- $190,000
Jarlen De La Paz, LHS, Dominican Republic -- $160,000
Richard Ramirez, C, Venezuela -- $120,000
Alberto Saba, RHS, Dominican Republic -- $76,000
Angel Rodriguez, CF, Panama -- $60,000
Daje Morales, SS, Dominican Republic -- $60,000
Dermis Ordonez, RHS, Venezuela -- $50,000
Alexis Torres, RHS, Dominican Republic -- $30,000
Hader Blanco, LHS, Colombia -- $10,000