The Pirates have made a big splash on the first day of the International signing period
According to reports, the Bucs have agreed to a $2.3 million deal with 16-year-old left-hander Shalin Polanco, (name sound familiar?) He is not related to Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco.
The $2.35 million bonus is one of the biggest ever for the Pirates for an international signing.
The 6-foot, 170-pound outfielder is from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic and is ranked #11 by the MLB Pipeline, but Post-Gazette’s Jason Mackey says Baseball America has Polanco ranked at #8.
MLB Pipeline describes Polanco as, “Lanky and lean, Polanco is a well-built teenage outfielder with a projectable body. He shows good bat speed with loose and free hands, and it results in a balanced swing with some snap. He has an aggressive approach, but he still remains calm in the batter’s box without any unnecessary movements. He consistently shows a good feel for the strike zone and makes hard contact when he swings. Polanco hits line drives to all fields with some power potential in the future, especially to his pull side.”
On the defensive side of the ball, “the ball jumps out of Polanco’s hand with carry.” He has average arm strength and MLB.com says his accuracy will continue to improve as he continues to receive instruction from the Pirates academy.
The International Signing period was set to begin in July 2020 but was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
General Manager Ben Cherington said that the Pirates need to be more aggressive in the international market, and Friday’s signing continue to prove that it wasn’t just lip service.