PITTSBURGH, W.Va. – The Pittsburgh Pirates organization released nearly 40 players on Tuesday ahead of this year’s MLB Draft.
Among the 39 players released were 13 former West Virginia Black Bears players, seven of which played in Monongalia County Ballpark in 2019.
Four of the players released were also part of the inaugural Black Bears team in 2015, including Luis Escobar, who also pitched in two games for the big league club in 2019.
Escobar’s release is said to be surprising by those that cover the Pirates closely, given his talent and the fact that he’s just 24 years old.
A list of former Black Bears players to be let go is below, along with the year(s) they played for West Virginia.
Matt Eardensohn (19) ; Nicholas Economos (17, 18) ; Luis Escobar (15, 16) ; Ryan Haug (19) ; Logan Hill (15) ; Sean Keselica (15) ; Brett Kinneman (18, 19) ; Luke Mangieri (18, 19) ; Kyle Mottice (19) ; Juan Pie (19) ; Brett Pope (17) ; Lucas Tancas (17) ; Mitchell Tolman (15).
Pie was also a surprising release given that he’s been one of the organization’s highest rated international players over the last few seasons, along with the fact that he boasted good stats in both the Gulf Coast League and in the New York-Penn League (.357 AVG).
Kinneman drove in the second-most runs for the Black Bears in 2019.
Economos went 3-2 with a 2.52 ERA with the club in 2018.
Tancas was second on the team in batting average, and tied for third in home runs in 2017.
Hill led the Black Bears in home runs (7) and RBI (45) in 2015, while teammate Tolman was a doubles machine and hit for a .304 average.
For a complete list of players that were released by the club, click here.