Pirates invite eight players to camp

The Pirates have agreed to terms with RHP Wilfredo Boscan and LHP Charlie Leesman on minor league contracts, which includes an invitation to Major League spring training camp.

The 25-year-old Boscan spent the entire 2014 season in the Boston farm system and posted a 3.66 ERA in 22 combined appearances (five starts) between Triple-A Pawtucket and Double-A Portland. Originally signed by Texas as a non-drafted free agent on 7/10/06, the Venezuelan native has split time between the starting rotation and bullpen during his eight seasons in the minor leagues.

Leesman, 27, has spent his entire seven-year professional career in the White Sox organization after being selected by Chicago in the 11th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. A two-time minor league All-Star (2011 and 2012), Leesman made his Major League debut with the White Sox in 2013 and went on to make eight appearances with Chicago in 2013 and one start in 2014.

The Pirates have also invited the following six minor league players to big league camp:

Stetson Allie (INF) – Pittsburgh’s second round selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft finished second among all farmhands in home runs (21) in 2014 while spending the entire season with Double-A Altoona. His 42 home runs hit over the last two seasons rank second among all Pittsburgh minor league players behind Andrew Lambo (44).

Keon Broxton (OF) - Spent entire 2014 campaign with Altoona after being acquired from Arizona on 3/27. He finished third among Pirates minor leaguers in stolen bases (25), fourth in home runs (15) and fifth in games played (127) while ranking seventh in the Eastern League in OPS (.853). Broxton was ranked by Baseball America as the “Best Athlete” in the Arizona farm system following the 2012 season.

Tyler Glasnow, pronounced “glass-NOW” (RHP) – Pittsburgh’s fifth round selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft has been named the organization’s Minor League Pitcher-of-the-Year each of the last two seasons. He went 12-5 and led the Florida State League in ERA (1.74) while making 23 starts with Bradenton in 2014 after going 9-3 with a 2.18 ERA in a career-high 24 starts with West Virginia in 2013. Glasnow has recorded the second-most strikeouts (321) among all minor league pitchers over the last two seasons, trailing only Boston farmhand Henry Owens (339).

Gift Ngoepe, pronounced “en-WE-pay” (INF) - Entered the 2014 season rated by Baseball America as the “Best Defensive Infielder” in Pittsburgh’s minor league system and went on to commit just 11 errors in a career-high 131 games, which included 86 at second base and 44 at shortstop. He spent the entire season with Altoona and led Eastern League second basemen in total chances (459). South African native was signed by Pittsburgh as a non-drafted free agent on 9/29/08.

Mel Rojas Jr. (OF) – Pittsburgh’s third round selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft set career highs in hits (126), home runs (10) and RBI (66) in 2014 while splitting the season between Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis. He led the Florida State League in triples (12) in 2012 and ranked third in the Eastern League in that department in 2013 (9). Mel is the son of former big league pitcher Mel Rojas, who pitched from 1990-1999.

Adrian Sampson (RHP) – Pittsburgh’s fifth round selection in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft went 11-6 with two complete games and a 2.96 ERA in 28 combined starts between Altoona and Indianapolis in 2014. He was selected to the Eastern League’s mid- and post-season All-Star teams as well as being named Altoona’s Pitcher-of-the-Year. Sampson also posted a 2.25 ERA in 10 relief appearances with Scottsdale during the Arizona Fall League and was named to the league’s Rising Stars team following the season.

The Pirates currently have 40 players on their 40-man roster and 21 non-roster players expected to participate in big league camp, which is scheduled to begin February 19 with the first official workout for pitchers and catchers.


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