Pirates sign two of MLB Pipeline's top 12 international free agents

Team Also Signs Pitcher Hung-Leng Chang From Taiwan

January 18th, 2022

The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced the signings of two of the top 12 rated prospects for the 2021-22 international signing period according to MLB Pipeline.

Tony Blanco Jr., who is rated by MLB Pipeline as the No. 11 prospect among international free agents, is a 6’6’’ outfielder from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He is also the son of former big leaguer Tony Blanco, who played 56 games for the Washington Nationals in 2005.

“Tony is a big and strong corner outfielder with the ability to drive the baseball with power from line to line,” said Pirates Director of International Scouting Junior Vizcaino. “We see Tony as a middle-of-the-lineup type hitter who will drive the baseball with power. Defensively, Tony has a true right fielder’s arm and is athletic enough to close the outfield gaps defensively.”

The Pirates also signed 16-year-old shortstop Yordany De Los Santos, who is rated by MLB Pipeline as the No. 12 prospect among international free agents.

“Yordany is an athletic, physical shortstop with the tools to be a plus defender and hit in the middle of the lineup,” said Vizcaino. “He comes from a baseball family. His two younger brothers are following in his footsteps and his dad is a softball player. He has the makeup to be a leader on the field and in the clubhouse.”

Additionally, 17-year-old right-handed pitcher Pitterson Rosa, who was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, but resides in Hato Mayor, Dominican Republic, was also signed as an international free agent.

“Pitterson is a strong, athletic right-handed pitcher with a very clean delivery and feel for pitching,” said Vizcaino. “He has shown us the ability to command his secondary pitches and has touched 94 miles per hour with the fastball already. Pitterson’s parents are from the Dominican Republic, but he was born in Puerto Rico. We see him as having qualities to be a successful Major League starter.”

The Pirates also signed 20-year-old right-handed pitcher Hung-Leng Chang from Taichung, Taiwan. It is now the second time in the last three international signing periods that the Pirates have signed a player from Taiwan. Pitcher Po-Yu Chen was the last player from Taiwan to sign with the Pirates as an international free agent prior to Chang.

“We are very excited with the opportunity to bring Hung-Leng Chang into our organization,” said Pirates Assistant Director, Player Personnel Max Kwan. “Over the last few years, he has continued to improve in all facets of his game. Hung-Leng possesses a lot of the characteristics we value, including his body movement, ability to spin the baseball and his competitiveness. Credit to Fu-Chun Chiang, our Pacific Rim team, and our international scouting department for identifying, evaluating and building a relationship with Hung-Leng.”

The Pirates have now signed a total of 19 players for the current 2021-22 international signing period.