BLUF: Highly projectable and extremely risky prospect with any number of possibilities.
The Player: Luis Heredia (RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates) – Signed for a massive $2.6 million bonus in 2010, he debuted as a 16-year old in the GCL the following year. In 30.1 innings he allowed 28 hits and 19 walks while striking out 23 batters, finishing with a 4.75 ERA. Pitching most of the 2012 season as a 17-year old in the college-heavy NYPL, he posted a 2.71 ERA in 14 starts while showing improved stuff across the board.
Basis of Report: Compilation – Personal Observation (Instructs 2011, NYPL 2012), Industry Contacts
Body (6-6, 205): Massive, extra-large frame. Still physically under-developed from a strength perspective. Couldn’t do a pushup when signed out of Mexico and has added some strength. Still room to fill out. Could be an enormous, workhorse type. Body type could become elite or could get out of control. Modest athlete.
Delivery/Mechanics: Relatively simple delivery for his size. Good tempo with deliberate actions. Stays on balance well and uses lower half to drive toward the plate. Has a slight wrist-wrap at the back of his delivery, but nothing concerning. Follows through with good extension toward the plate. Finishes in a position to field his position.
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Wind-up): High – 96, Low – 89, Average 91-92, Grade – 50/60
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Stretch): High – 95, Low 88, Average 91-92, Grade – 50/60
Fastball (FB) Movement: No significant natural movement at this time. Shows some feel for imparting movement on FB but relies most heavily on good FB leverage to the plate thanks to extra-large frame. Feel for pitching should lead to ability to cut or sink ball at will. Grade – 40/50
Overall Fastball: Average velo present while still adding strength to frame and ironing out mechanical inconsistencies. Has velocity projection due to size and anticipated strength gains. Easy projection for plus velo. Movement could come but little is shown at present. Overall potential plus FB. Grade – 50/60
Curveball (CB): 12-6 breaker with tight spin and good depth. Shows occasional true plus CB right now and consistently flashes average. Typically throws pitch in the strike zone and must learn to utilize as a chase pitch. Pitch has swing-and-miss potential with consistency and improved feel for using it to his advantage. Really like the potential of pitch and believe it comes along well with more experience. I saw a potential plus-plus hammer down the line. Grade – 40/70
Change-up (CH): Infrequent feel for pitch. Often comes in too firm and when he tries to soften it, slows his arm speed, telegraphing the pitch. When he trusts the grip and lets it go, CH shows solid sink and some potential. Well below-average at present but has a chance to be average down the line after additional feel is developed and experience gained. Grade – 30/50
Control: Throws strikes with FB and CB regularly. Improved tempo and physical coordination has allowed him to pound zone with some frequency. Still battles control of FB at times but has demonstrated ability to recover quickly. Average control now with good projection for improvement to at least plus level. Grade – 50/60
Command: Command projection exists. Lacks present command and only shows intermittent ability to move FB in and out. Should develop average command assuming body remains in check. Delivery is repeatable with good pace and solid athleticism. Command could come quickly with more game experience. Grade – 30/50
Summation: Incredible size that is both intriguing and terrifying. Has to demonstrate control of body over the long term. Potential exists for him to get too big to be effective on the mound. Right now, conditioning and body development have looked good. Additional strength should lead to additional FB velo and potential plus pitch. Can’t project better than plus right now but it’s certainly possible more velo exists. CB has tremendous potential. Love the projection on the pitch. CH lags behind but some feel exists and could be third at least average pitch. Command profile is present and should evolve over time. Huge range of potential overall outcomes. Really projectable and the sky is the limit. Most likely projection entails workhorse number three starter with a small chance to be even better than that.
Relative Risk: High. Incredibly risky player that is light years away from the big leagues.
Future: The Pirate have been very cautious with Heredia to date and that trend should continue with Low-A West Virginia in 2013. The club could take the reins off at High-A in 2014 and he could move quickly from there. Big league ETA is a ways away but he could begin to surface in 2016.