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Pirates Mexican Signees: One 1B, One LHP, One RHP

Updating a story from yesterday, some more information has been released about the Pirates' new Mexican signees. Pirates Prospects found this (Spanish-language) article from Notimex, a Mexican wire service, which includes the names and basic info of the players. There's a photo of all three players and their newly-signed contracts here. All three were signed by Jesus "Chino" Smith, the Pirates' top scout in Mexico, who has been following them "since last December." For details and some questionable analysis, look below the cut ...

The first player, Julio Alberto Pérez Toledo, is a first baseman and third baseman who appeared in 19 games for the Leones last year as a 19-year-old. He's listed at 6'2", 216 lbs., and in 42 PAs, he put up a .297/.381/.486 batting line, including a home run in his first trip to the plate. The LMB tends to be a fairly robust offensive environment (the batting line for the league as a whole in 2011 was .299/.374/.454), but Estadio Kukulkán is one of the less crazy parks due to its low elevation, so that mostly cancels out. It's dangerous to extrapolate too much from such a small sample size, but it certainly isn't a bad sign that Perez was able to hold his own against reasonably advanced competition (the Leones' were one of the weaker teams in the league last year, and their top hitters were former MLB players Hiram Bocachica, D'Angelo Jimenez, and Luis Garcia, perpetually injured AAAA vet Sandy Madera, and Fernando Valenzuela's son Fernando Valenzuela, Jr.). According to this article, Pérez's father is Roberto Pérez Aguilar, the Leones director of player development and a longtime MLB scout, and also the man who signed ex-Buc Oliver Perez (no relation) to his first ML contract. That same article indicates that Julio Pérez's maternal grandfather was a former Cuban pro named Julio Toledo who played in the Liga Peninsula in the '40s and '50s. As such, it would appear that he's got pretty good baseball bloodlines. In the photo of the three players, he's the one in the middle, wearing the blue shirt. He looks like he's got a thick and relatively mature body, but isn't fat or sloppy - just built like a corner infielder.

There's some game film of Pérez below. It's from 2011, but before he signed with the Leones. He's batting cleanup for Pacabtún (the team in the green uniforms), wearing #24, and playing first base. Notable moments come at 2:02 (good defense - fields a tough Baltimore chop), 3:41 (bad defense - dives for a ball but can't glove it, goes for an infield hit), 4:55 (batting, grounder to short), 9:04 (batting, fly to shallow left center), 9:41 (bad defense - doesn't call a popup, then misses the catch after a desperate effort), 11:10 (good defense - tough catch on a throw that sailed a bit), 11:19 (ordinary defense - catches a popup), 11:39 (good defense - strong, decisive throw on a rundown following a pickoff), 12:22 (strange play - throws a shoulder/elbow into a runner who was out of the baseline, lucky the ump didn't object), 12:28 (good defense, fields another Baltimore chop with a quick flip for the out), 15:50 (batting, fly to left).

My takeaway from the game, for whatever it's worth: Reasonably quick bat, some power/power potential, very pull-heavy. On defense, solid arm and a decent receiver around the bag, but doesn't seem to read balls well or react to them quickly. Subjectively, he kind of reminds me of a right-handed Pedro Alvarez, which is a little bit disconcerting, but not a bad thing.

The second player, Omar Basulto Germón, is a left-handed pitcher. Basulto pitched in two games for the Leones last year as a 17-year-old, allowing a walk and a home run in a total of four innings pitched. He's listed at 6'3" and 190 lbs., and looks to have some physical projection on his frame. According to this piece, he was used as a starter prior to signing with the Leones. The Rangers, Brewers, Twins, and Yankees were also interested in him to one degree or another, and he apparently pitched for Mexico at the World Junior Championships, earning a bronze medal and winning some type of Yucatan-specific award for best individual athlete in a team sport. In the photo of the three players, I believe that he's the one on the left, in the white-and-maroon striped shirt.

There's some film of him warming up below.

From that clip, Basulto looks like he has kind of a slingy delivery out of a 3/4 arm slot. Maybe a tiny bit of armside run (see 4:24, for example). He also overthrew a couple of pitches, probably because he was trying to reach back for a little more velocity than he actually had. Nothing jumped out as an obvious mechanical flaw to me, but I'm not a scout, so caveat emptor. With those little pipestem legs, he looks like a kid who's going to add some more speed once he gets on a serious lifting program.

The third and final player, Eduardo Vera Hernández, has never played for the Leones. He's a right-handed pitcher, he's currently seventeen years old, and he has been on the national radar for quite some time: this piece talks about him being a part of the Mexican national team for 11-12 year olds. A scout for the Twins made some favorable comments about him in August of 2011, after watching him at a showcase. I can't find much other info on him, other than that he apparently worked as a reliever last year, which doesn't necessarily mean much given his age. In the photo, I believe that he's the one in the plain white shirt, though it's possible that I have the two pitchers reversed - both seem to write with their right hands, and Basulto has gotten a fairly drastic haircut since all the other photos of him I can find were taken.

Best of luck to all three - I hope I get the chance to see them in Pittsburgh some day.