PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates on Tuesday announced the signing of Dominican third baseman Julio Delacruz, who was No. 15 on MLB.com's rankings of International prospects and had reportedly agreed to a $700,000 deal on Monday, when the International signing period opened. The 16-year-old native of Santiago has been called by one international scout as "the best pure Latin American hitter out there." "Julio is a hitter with great rhythm and contact ability, with the knack for staying back and hitting the breaking ball along with using the whole field," said Pirates Director of Latin American Scouting Rene Gayo. "He is a great addition to the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and I want to publicly congratulate our new Scouting Supervisor Juan Mercado and our entire staff for identifying and delivering this type of talent."
A member of the Dominican Republic team in the MLB prospect showcase, De La Cruz was also part of Dominican Prospect League's All-Star travel squad that played games and put on showcases at big league sites during Spring Training in Arizona and Florida.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.