Alessandro Ercolani has signed a professional contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Italian Baseball and Softball Federation (FIBS) has reported on its homepage. The soon-to-be 17-year-old (he celebrates his birthday on April 20) had drawn interest from a number of Major League organizations, but the Pirates’ Europe & Africa supervisor Tom Gillespie managed to get Ercolani’s signature on a contract.
“We liked his motivation, his stubbornness, his way of facing and overcoming challenges,” Gillespie told FIBS. “The next step is to mentally grow and improve his throwing repertoire.”
Ercolani drew attention to himself in after a strong performance at the 2019 U15 European championship on home soil. In the semi-final against the Netherlands, a 5-3 Italian victory, the right-hander struck out seven and allowed just two earned runs on six hits. On offense, he contributed two hits, one of which was a a double, driving in one.
The San Marino native followed up the tournament by participating in the MLB College Showcase in Arizona in the fall of 2019, where he raised eyebrows after striking out future 2020 first overall draft pick Spencer Torkelson on three pitches.
Ercolani, who throws 90-91 miles per hour, is expected to report to the Pirates’ complex in Bradenton, Fla., in May.
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