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Report: Pirates favorites to sign Tony Blanco Jr.

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Ben Cherington making more moves.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

According to MLB Pipeline, the Pittsburgh Pirates have moved to the front of the line for international player Tony Blanco Jr. — currently rated their number 11 prospect — when the international signing day takes place on January 15.

The outfielder, who stands at a hulking 6’5”, 230-pounds, has a 55-power grade along with a 55-overall grade, making him a potential big-time home run guy. He’s typically a right fielder but also plays left field and first base.

Blanco was originally expected to go to the Tampa Bay Rays, but it appears he’s be heading into the Pittsburgh farm system, making it a formidable one, especially now that they’re the favorites to sign two top players, with number 12 prospect shortstop Yordany De Los Santos also expected to sign with Pittsburgh.

With the Pirates slated to sign these two, it’ll be a boon to their already third-ranked Minor League group, further illustrating GM Ben Cherington’s plan for returning the team to prominence. So while nothing is guaranteed, and the team needs to actually develop all these players, the talent is going to be there for the Pirates to be relevant again.