Pirates sign Dominican OF Michael De La Cruz

#Pirates sign CF Michael DeLaCruz of the Dominican to $700K. Good chance to be 5-tool guy, per scout. One of their bigger deals this year.

— Dejan Kovacevic (@Dejan_Kovacevic) July 11, 2012


This is the second big international signing this year after they inked Julio De La Cruz to the same $700,000 bonus earlier this month.

Here’s what Ben Badler from Baseball America has to say on De La Cruz:

The bonus came as a surprise to some teams. De la Cruz, who turned 16 yesterday, is a lefty with a lean, medium frame at 6 feet, 175 pounds. De la Cruz ran average times in the 60-yard dash earlier in the year but he cut his time down to 6.7 seconds in recent months (though not showing that well home to first) for other teams and ran close to 6.5 seconds for the Pirates. Scouts have said de la Cruz gets good jumps off the bat and shows good instincts in center field. The Pirates have called his arm above-average, though other teams before July 2 graded his arm out at a 45-50 on the 20-80 scale with a long, slow release.

At the plate, de la Cruz has a wide setup and a quick, handsy swing, though he doesn’t have much power right now. He is from Santo Domingo and trained with Raul Valera, who is known in the Dominican Republic as “Banana.” Last year Valera’s shortstop, Eliezer Alvarez, signed with the Cardinals for $425,000 when Pirates Latin American supervisor Juan Mercado was with St. Louis.

With him just turning 16 yesterday, it seems like this is someone the Pirates have liked for a while now, especially since they are giving him this amount of money.