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Pirates make minor Cuban signing

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MLB: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pirates Prospects is reporting (sub. req’d) that the Pirates have signed 29-year-old Cuban right-hander Yoandy Fernandez to a minor league contract. Fernandez pitched as a reliever in the Cuban National Series from 2007-13, then defected to Mexico in 2014. MLB.com states that he was declared eligible for the MLB draft in 2015, but was not selected. According to P2, this was because he was looking for a multiyear contract rather than a minor league deal. He threw a dozen innings in the Frontier League in 2015 with an ERA of 8.25. According to the MLB.com article, Fernandez throws a fastball at 89-92 mph, with a slider and a curve.

This is the second recent signing of a Cuban right-hander for the Pirates. The other was 25-year-old Dany Hernandez. Like Fernandez, Hernandez appears to be a marginal prospect at best. Prior to these two signings, no Cuban player signed under Neal Huntington has made it past class A, although the two recent signees seem likely to open at least at AA.