Ben Badler of Baseball America has been projecting the Brewers to be much more active on the international market than they have been in recent seasons. He’s had the Brewers connected to Dominican outfielder Nicolas Pierre throughout the month of June.
That prognostication proved true today, as Milwaukee and Pierre agreed to a $800,000 signing bonus. If my memory serves me correctly, that marks the largest international signing by the club since they signed right-hander Rolando Pascual to a $710,000 bonus in 2005.
Baseball America ranked Pierre as the 20th-best international prospect this year, MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo ranked him at #28. Here’s a short scouting report:
Pierre, 16, has an athletic 6-foot-3, 170-pound frame and made an impression with some scouts for his bat-to-ball ability from the right side of the plate and overall improvement as July 2 approached. He has good instincts in the outfield and has a chance to play center field. Pierre played in the International Prospect League and trains with Nelson Montes de Oca.
International prospects are too young and too raw to be “sure things” at the professional level. In fact, Nicolas Pierre may never make it out of the Dominican Summer League, but after a season in which the Brewers restructured their international scouting department, it seems the organization has recommitted themselves to the region and is expected to sign multiple players in Latin America this summer.
That’s wonderful news for the farm system. Without an international draft on the horizon, the Brewers must be willing to spend the money to acquire international talent. Their minor-league system cannot keep pace by only acquiring talent through the draft and through trades, while the others are aggressively adding talent through those avenues as well as the international market. And as a small-market team, the farm system is the lifeblood of the organization’s future.
If absolutely nothing else, Pierre is a positive harbinger for future involvement in the international scene, and that’s a win in itself.