While it won’t come with the fanfare that surrounded the pursuit and eventual signing of Japanese pitching sensation Masahiro Tanaka, the New York Yankees seem to be living up to their word of spending some cash in the international prospect market. The Yankees have signed 17-year-old pitcher Juan Escorcia out of Colombia.
The 5’10″ youngster is a project in the making. Escorcia was the only one signed out of a group of dozens of players who worked out in front of scout Sierra Llamas in Cartagena and Barranquilla. The Yankees hope to add some weight and polish to the young man who touched 90 mph on the radar gun. Before heading to the United States to begin his Yankees minor league career however, he will spend the 2014 season playing in the Dominican Summer League. What the Yankees noticed for such a young player, was his arm strength and consistency on the mound. They hope with some seasoning and instruction in their system, Escorcia can develop the repertoire needed to compete at the big league level. Escorcia’s older brother Kevin, now pitches in the Chicago White Sox organization.
The Yankees claimed they were going to delve deep into the international player market this year, prior to any type of international draft being implemented. International players are one way for the Yankees to strengthen an extremely thin minor league system. Over the past few days, the Yankees were believed to be the front-runner to sign Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz. There were reports that an offer was on the table, but late Sunday evening, Yanks Go Yard’s own Jacob Winters reported that the Yankees will not be offering Diaz a contract due to what some have termed “physical problems” with the young shortstop. The St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves are now believed to be the most interested teams in Diaz’s services. The signing of Escorcia will most likely be the first of many international signings for Brian Cashman and company as the 2014 season unfolds.