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Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Top Prospects: #9 – Luis Heredia

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The Pirates Prospects 2014 Prospect Guide is now on sale. The book features prospect reports on everyone in the system, the 2014 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find.  While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top 20 prospects over the next few weeks.  Be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site.

To recap the countdown so far:

20. Michael De La Cruz, OF
19. JaCoby Jones, OF
18. Barrett Barnes, OF
17. Cody Dickson, LHP
16. Blake Taylor, LHP
15. Joely Rodriguez, LHP
14. Andrew Lambo, OF
13. Stolmy Pimentel, RHP
12. Clay Holmes, RHP
11. Tony Sanchez, C
10. Harold Ramirez, OF

We continue the countdown with the number 9 prospect, Luis Heredia.

Luis Heredia had a rough year in 2013, after showing up in camp out of shape. (Photo Credit: Nick Scala)
Luis Heredia had a rough year in 2013, after showing up in camp out of shape. (Photo Credit: Nick Scala)

9. Luis Heredia, RHP

The 2013 season was supposed to be the year where Luis Heredia made the jump to full-season ball, increasing his workload as a young starter. The expected plan was that he would join West Virginia at the end of April, missing out on the cold weather early in the season while also limiting his innings. That didn’t work as planned, with Heredia coming into Spring Training out of shape. His velocity was down in the 80s during his brief time in camp, and the lack of conditioning delayed his West Virginia debut until late June.

Heredia did get into better shape when he arrived in West Virginia. He also got his velocity back, sitting 90-92 MPH and touching 93. In the past, Heredia has gotten his fastball up to the mid-to-upper 90s. However, he lacks control at those speeds, and the Pirates have him focusing more on command. He paired that with a new slider which he switched to at the end of the 2012 season. The slider was meant to increase strikeouts, and Heredia ended up posting his best rates of his career.

He finished the 2013 season with one less inning than he threw in 2012, although Heredia did throw more innings during extended Spring Training. Still, the lack of conditioning caused him to miss out on a big innings increase, which could have put him in full season ball the following season. The bigger impact came with his lack of control. West Virginia saw Tyler Glasnow and Clay Holmes struggle with their fastball control in the first half of the season, only to show big improvements in the second half. Heredia only had half a season, and had the same control problems. With more time at the level focused on fastball command, it’s possible that Heredia could have seen the same improvements.

The thing to remember about Heredia is that he has been aggressively pushed throughout his career. He was a year younger than Glasnow, who had an aggressive placement in West Virginia. There is still plenty of time for him to develop, and the ceiling is very high. While you can project guys like Glasnow or Jameson Taillon to be an ace, you can’t make that projection with Heredia at this point. He’s still very raw, and is several years away from the majors. He could make the jump to Bradenton in 2014, although with his lost time in 2013 it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him back in West Virginia next year, trying again to get a full season’s worth of innings.

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Tim Williams
Tim Williams
Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.

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