Luis Heredia: A Multi-Million Dollar Mistake?
Pittsburgh Pirates pitching prospect Luis Heredia has hit a development wall. After a stellar 2012 season, Heredia ranked as a top-100 prospect. Then, the youngster disappeared. Expected to debut in full season West Virginia at the start of 2013, the youngster was held back for fitness reasons in extended Spring Training. Debuting in June, Heredia struggled with control and doubled his walk rate, earning a return trip to the South Atlantic League. With the right-hander’s value at an all-time low, is a rebound possible?
Signed as a 16-year-old out of Mexico, the Pirates hoped a $2.6-million dollar investment equated to future front line starter. Heredia broke camp with West Virginia, but was removed from his second start after one pitch due to shoulder tenderness. He didn’t return until June 5th. Now healthy, the results have been lackluster. While the walk rate has improved, Heredia’s strikeout rate has fallen under 4.0 per nine innings. For Luis Heredia, this is a recipe for disaster.
At six-feet-six inches, Heredia towers over hitters on the mound. Officially tipping the scales at 270 per West Virginia roster, he presented as 20-30 pounds lighter in person. Heredia’s lower half is wide and projects to handle a substantial workload. Unfortunately, his upper half is soft, forcing questions about his work ethic and physical fitness. Having already had conditioning issues, Heredia’s build is a perpetual concern.
Similar to other taller pitchers, Heredia struggles with mechanics. His leg lift is uneven and unsteady. The delivery is rushed with no pause at the balance point. Heredia’s upper body works to catch up with his lower half. Perceived stress on the shoulder is obvious as his arm pushes to the target. For a player who’s experienced shoulder tenderness this season. revamping his delivery with a focus on balance will save unwarranted wear on his pitching shoulder. From a scouting standpoint, Heredia is an extreme injury risk.
The right-handed hurler throws three pitches, led by a 91-93 mph fastball. With heavy sinking action, Heredia’s two-seam fastball is his best pitch. Thrown downhill, the pitch features late sink and a touch of arm side run. When kept down, the pitch presents as a worm burner. Heredia’s command is lacking and hitters go to town when the pitch is left flat and at the letters. Revamping his delivery would improve his command by helping with consistency.
Showing potential, a 77-79 MPH curveball is the Mexican’s best secondary pitch. His 3/4 arm angle causes the pitch to present as more of a slurve. When able to stay on top of the pitch, it flashes sharp, downward action. This rarely happened though with Heredia casting the pitch. His inability to finish the pitch resulted in hanger-after-hanger, forcing a downgrade.
Heredia change-up has regressed from 2012. According to ROTOscouting’s Jeff Reese who scouted a 2012 start, Heredia’s change-up featured late fade, drop and presented with significant velocity differential. Now an 84-86 mph offering, Heredia has traded pitch effectiveness for a more deceptive delivery. While able to throw the pitch with identical arm action to the fastball, other aspects of the pitch leave it short of a legitimate MLB projection for now.
A big signing bonus and extraordinary debut left Luis Heredia with lofty expectations. Expected to form a three-headed monster alongside Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon at the front of the Pirates rotation, Heredia has since been passed on the depth chart by pitchers including Nick Kingham (Scouting Report) and Tyler Glasnow.Heredia’s has the size and arm speed to rebound, but the Mexican pitcher is more project than prospect at this point.
Tool Present Future Projected Role Fringe MLB Starter, Up-And-Down Guy Fastball 50 60 Curveball 30 45 Changeup 30 40 Control 35 45 Command 30 40
Owning Luis Heredia
In deep dynasty fantasy baseball leagues, one can do worse than taking a flyer in a former top-100 prospect who’s hit rock bottom. At some point, Heredia presented with enough potential to garner a multi-million dollar signing bonus and talent doesn’t generally crash and burn like this. Remember, Luis Heredia is 20, or the same age as a college sophomore. To some extent, struggles were expected, only not to this degree. Add Heredia as a throw in at the trade deadline, or off-season acquisition to fill one’s final roster spot. Expect nothing in return and nothing is lost if he doesn’t regain form. – Mike Newman
13 Aug 2014 / Chris Blessing /
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