In Mexico on Wednesday night, Luis Heredia made his winter debut in Mexico, coming on in relief in the eighth inning. He came in with his team trailing 3-2 and walked the first batter he faced. Heredia threw a wild pitch to advance the runner to second base, then got a ground out to first base on a 3-2 pitch, which sent the runner to third base. Heredia threw another wild pitch, which scored the run. He issued a second walk, then got some help from a batter who swung on a 2-0 pitch when Heredia was having trouble throwing strikes. It ended up as a double play grounder, getting him out of the inning with just the one run. Heredia threw 19 pitches total, just six for strikes.
Harold Ramirez was dropped to ninth in the batting order after going 2-for-14 in his first three games while batting third. He went 1-for-3 with a single, though he was thrown out attempting to steal after his hit.
Carlos Munoz went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, before being pinch-hit for in the ninth inning. He had a homer and a double on Tuesday, and has been taken out early in the other three games, going a combined 0-for-6 with three strikeouts.
Sebastian Valle went 1-for-4 with an RBI double. He’s 3-for-16 with two doubles in his first four games.
In Venezuela, Gorkys Hernandez went 2-for-3 on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, he declared free agency, making him available to sign elsewhere now. He was able to do that because he’s been outrighted to the minors twice in his career. Other minor league free agents have to wait until after the postseason to become free agents. Wilfredo Boscan also declared free agency on Wednesday.
Jose Osuna started in left field, going 0-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch. He’s played left field twice this year and first base twice.
Francisco Diaz made his winter debut as a defensive replacement, spending the last inning behind the plate. He didn’t get a chance to bat.
The Dominican winter league opens up tonight with one game on the schedule.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.
John – would you say Harold Ramirez gets decent reads in the outfield and/or makes good decisions on the bases?
Trying to figure out if he’s just simply awful at stealing bases or if it’s more of a general “baseball IQ” problem. He’s got an awful sketchy profile if the speed isn’t actually usable, like he’s currently showing.
I’ve heard good things about his outfield defense, specifically range. I’ve also seen him make strong, yet inaccurate throws and supposedly he improved on that area this year, so I think he defense overall is considered average at worst.
He has good speed, so it could just be inexperience. He’s not a blazer, so he’s going to need to read pitchers better and get better jumps. The problem in the minors is that they run more on coaches decisions rather than instinct, so if you’re fast, they want you trying to steal. Someone like Elvis Escobar is at least an average runner, but he’s not a base stealer yet, so his numbers look bad. They want him getting better though, so he runs a lot despite the poor success rate. I think Ramirez is basically in the same group, keep running and hope he gets the hang of it
Well said, many thanks.
He sounds like Jose Tabata 2.0.
People say that due to his build too, but you have to remember, Jose Tabata was supposed to be much better, so just because he didn’t become a star, doesn’t mean someone similar to him in the minors won’t pan out.
Very true. I should talk after most of my comments would leave one to believe I think Josh Bell will be a star immediately.
John’s right, but Tabata still is a good lesson on how fragile this prospect profile is.
They *are* very similar when you compare them at similar ages, and Tabata did turn out to be a high contact hitter like he was projected. He ultimately failed because the power never came and the speed regressed to the point of liability.
Now there are obvious makeup issues at play with Tabata that Ramirez hopefully doesn’t have, but as a stocky guy with a couple leg injuries on record and poor base running I think it at least calls into question some of the same issues Tabata ran into, especially if Ramirez doesn’t turn out to be a 10-15 HR hitter.
Every article ive read on this guy, he’s either having trouble with baseball control or appetite control. Just a shame. Wonder what they saw in him to begin with? Maybe as simple as he sprouted up before other guys his age? Then once they caught up, he no longer had the physical edge?
He was 6’6″ and could hit 95 as a 15-year-old. That’s about all you need to see to think a player has big upside. People think they made a mistake signing him, but you don’t have a time machine to see how a 15-year-old matures as a person. In 2012 at State College, scouts absolutely loved him. I had three scouts, without me asking, come up and talk to me about how good Heredia was going to be. I was covering WV Power games at the time, so it’s not like I was there to see him, they just found out(one by me telling them) that I covered the Pirates system and they had to tell me about Heredia unsolicited. I don’t think many players peak at age 18, but it sure looks like he did.
That last line sums it up so well.
I imagine its not the first time you’ve seen that either. Sucks. Sizable investment.
Darn! We lose Sano and sign Heredia. 0-2!
Man, too bad about Heredia. It looks like this one won’t work out. I remember the scouts saying that he had the potential to be the best Pirates pitcher ever.
Luis Heredia has got to almost be done as a Pirate.
Probably two more years I’d say, likely won’t be around after he hits minor league free agency unless he turns things around. No reason to get rid of him before that, he’s still young and doesn’t cost anything other than a minor league salary, which is what you’d be paying whoever replaced him anyway. You do have to remember though that the league in Mexico is better than what he faced in Bradenton this year, so there was definitely a good chance for him to perform poorly, but you’d like to at least see him throw strikes while doing it.
Wish we had Sano instead.
Do you see those two years as a starter or reliever?
Likely as a starter. He’s a reliever in winter ball, because he’s an A-Ball pitcher in a league filled with veterans and some Major League players, so there really isn’t a starting spot for a player like that unless the team is real bad