Some people look at the Pittsburgh Pirates and don’t necessarily see a hopeful situation.
The Pirates ended up in fourth place in the five-team National League Central last season after four consecutiuv3e finishes in the division’s basement. The franchise has not been to the postseason since 2015, won a division title since 1992 or been to the World Series since 1979.
However, Bralyn Brazoban looked at the Pirates’ situation and saw an organization that provides plenty of opportunities for young players. And that is why the 18-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic agreed to join the organization last month when he agreed to a contract that included a $2 million signing bonus.
Baseball America ranked Brazoban as the 12th-best player available during this international signing period.
“I feel super fortunate to take this next step in my career, I look forward to continuing to grow as part of an incredible organization like the Pirates,” Brazoban said. “I signed with the Pirates because I felt there was a great role for me on their team, and they would put me in a good spot to help develop my game even further.
“For me personally, I believe that nothing in life is difficult if you work hard to achieve what you want. This was the natural decision to help me achieve my goals.”
Brazoban conducted an email interview with PittsburghBaseballNow.com, which was facilitated by his representatives at Klutch Sports.
The left-handed-hitting Brazoban is considered an advanced prospect for his age and has intriguing size as he stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 180 pounds. He has a mix and power and speed with an ability to drive the ball from the left side and good baserunning instincts.
The speed along with his strong arm have the Pirates hopeful he can remain a center fielder even when his body fully matures.
While Brazoban certainly looks the part of a top prospect, he is also considered to have good instincts for the game despite being a teenager.
“My concentration is the part of my game I think separates me from others,” Brazoban said. “Baseball is very much about situational awareness, and over time I think I will continue to improve in specific situations.”
Brazoban is an above-average student. If not for being such a talented baseball player, he likely would have gone on to college and studied industrial engineering.
“Academics are very important to me, not only because your brain is just as important as your body in baseball, but because when my baseball career is finished, they will help me to find a career after baseball as well,” Brazoban said.
Engineering can wait, though. Brazoban is in the beginning stages of his professional career and concentrating on baseball for now.
And he already knows what he wants to accomplish.
“My goal is to use my preparation and gameplay to rise fast and reach the big leagues where I can help the team win a lot of baseball games,” Brazoban said.
He seemingly has the brawn – and the brain – to do that down the road.