Published on September 5th, 2012 | by John Friend0
Pittsburgh Arms Race: Luis Heredia Completes Pirates’ Power Trio
This is the final initial installment of The Pittsburgh Arms Race, but we will be periodically updating the progress all three pitchers on their way to the majors. If you missed any of the other three features, the links are directly below. Thanks for reading!
International free agent signing, 2010
6′ 7″ 220 lbs
18 Years Old
The Pirates signed Luis Heredia to a $2.6 million deal out of Mexico at the age of 16. Judging by the praise coming from Latin American scouts who have worked with Heredia since his signing with the Pirates, there’s little reason to believe he will not be a quick learner and set new standards.
“The other part is that this is a young man who’s passionate about baseball. He enjoys people, enjoys learning, and wants so badly to succeed. That’s a good person to bet on to get the most of their abilities.”
- Kyle Stark, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Luis Heredia Poised to Pitch as 16 Year Old Pro
“I’m three years older, but I’ve actually learned a lot from him,” Taillon said. “I’m a power guy, but I kind of drop in my arm slot and drive with my legs, so the coaches are trying to get me to use my 6-6 height better. Luis does it better than anybody here.”
- Jameson Taillon, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Luis Heredia Poised to Pitch as 16 Year Old Pro
When Heredia signed with the Pirates, it was reported by Dejan Kovacevic that his fastball was registering around 92 mph. Just a year later, it was reported the Heredia was hitting 96 mph on the radar gun with his fastball.
Since pitching with the Pirates, Heredia has focused on fastball command, curveball and changeup. While playing in Mexico, Heredia had an arsenal of six different pitches.
Comparable International Signings
SP Adonys Cardona, Toronto Blue Jays
Cardona, from Venezuela signed with the Blue Jays for $2.8 million at the age of 16. Over the last two seasons, Cardona has made nine starts in the Rookie Gulf Coast League. Cardona has a 6.31 ERA to go along with 55 strikeouts in 47.1 innings pitched.
Cardona is still years away from breaking into the majors and has much work to do before moving up the system.
Do not expect Cardona to reach Toronto until 2014 at the earliest.
3B Renato Nunez, Oakland Athletics
Nunez signed for $2.2 million and is from Venezuela. According to many publications, Nunez was ranked the best hitter available among the international players in 2010.
In 2011, Nunez’s professional career got off to a slow start, as he batted .268 with five home runs and 28 rbi through 53 games. In 2012, Nunez has been much better, batting .325 with four home runs and 42 rbi through only 42 games so far.
Nunez is not expected to make it to the show for another couple seasons, making his due date around 2014.
OF, Vicmal De La Cruz, Oakland Athletics
The Athletics had a busy 2010 offseason, as they made a bunch of moves, including the sign of De La Cruz for $800,000. De La Cruz had a great start to his career in 2011, when he batted .318 with 28 rbi and 10 stolen bases to go along with a .438 OBP.
In 2012, De La Cruz has struggled with a .230 average, .291 OBP and only two stolen bases through 35 games.
De La Cruz is still far away from reaching the majors and should not be expected until around 2014.
On the Farm
Heredia started the 2011 season in the Gulf Coast League, making 11 starts and throwing 30.1 innings, registering a 4.75 ERA. In 2012, Heredia started the season in State College and has pitched 66.1 innings through 14 starts. His k/9 rate is down from 6.8 to 5.4 in 2012, but his bb/9 is also down in 2012 from 5.6 to 2.7. Also improving is Heredia’s ERA, which is at 2.71 to this point in 2012.
It is an understatement to say Heredia is mature beyond his years and it should surprise nobody to see Heredia start to move through the Pirates system at a rapid rate after the 2012 season.
Arrival Date in Pittsburgh- September call-up in 2014, Heredia will only be 19 in 2014.
Pittsburgh Arms Race
Image lakelandlocal @ flickr