Pirates cut 23 minor-leaguers


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Yeudy Garcia. -- DKPS

The Pirates released 23 minor leaguers Thursday, most of whom were in the lower levels of the organization.

Minor league releases are common this time of year, but this batch is larger than what the Pirates have done recently. Last year, they released 17 players at this stage of the offseason.

The most highly touted of the departures was right-handed pitcher Yeudy Garcia. Garcia was signed out of the Dominican Republic in February 2013, and carved up batters during his first three years in Rookie and A-level ball. That performance made most outlets consider him a fringe top-10 prospect within the organization, including being ranked No. 12 by MLB Pipeline in 2016.

However, Garcia plateaued in Double-A Altoona, where he posted 5.00+ ERAs in each of the past three seasons. He was also suspended for the final week of the 2018 season for a violation of team rules.

Two other notable international free-agent releases were infielder Victor Ngoepe, brother of former Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, and right-handed pitcher Haicheng Gong. Gong was the second Chinese player to sign with a major league club in May 2017. Gong briefly reached low-A West Virginia and Ngoepe played six games for A-level Greensboro.

Three players from the 2018 amateur draft were let go: RHP Mike LoPresti (18th round), UTL Chase Lambert (31st round) and Butler native, 1B Nick Patten (28th round). 9th round pick RHP Logan Stoelke retired.

The other cuts were: LHP Jose Amaya, RHP Luis Arrieta, C Yeison Ceballo, RHP Francis Del Orbe, OF Maio Jerez, OF Bryan Mateo, INF Jesse Medrano, INF Matt Morrow, RHP Alec Rennard, LHP Starlyn Reynoso, RHP Julio Rosario, LHP Yeison Santos, INF Raul Siri, RHP Bryan Torres, OF Stiwatt Valerio and RHP Yandy Vega.

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