Sergio Umana: Secondary Pitches Key To Progress In Bradenton Return

Development isn’t always a linear path, and players have to sometimes repeat the level they played in the year before. Sergio Umana spent the majority of 2021 with Bradenton, and after struggling, found himself back with the Marauders this season.

Umana was signed out of Nicaragua back in 2018 and pitched in the Dominican Summer League the following year. After COVID shutdown the minors in 2020, the righty made the jump to Bradenton last year.

He made 25 total appearances in 2021, two in Greensboro and the rest in Bradenton, all out of the bullpen.

Back with the Marauders this season, Umana has looked like a completely different pitcher. While he still doesn’t have an overpowering fastball, which has led to low strikeout totals, he has used his secondary pitches to be one of the better pitchers out the bullpen for Bradenton.

In nine appearances this season, Umana has an 0.90 ERA, allowing just two runs on 11 hits and five walks in 20 innings pitched. He’s also gotten a chance to start for the first time since his time in the DSL back in 2019.

His most recent start saw him pitch five shutout innings against Tampa this past Wednesday. He allowed four hits and struck out three without walking a batter.

Umana mixes in five different pitches, with a fastball, sinker, slider, curve, and changeup, according to Baseball Savant. Based on statcast, he uses his changeup 45.9% of the time, slowly increasing his usage of the pitch as the season has progressed. Of his 58 pitches thrown in his last appearance, 37 of them were registered as changeups.

Fastball Sinker Changeup Slider Curveball
Usage 11.28% 21.7% 45.9% 10.5% 10.5%
Whiff% 7.7% 13.7% 31.03% 33.3% 31.2%
Velocity 88.35 mph 88.56 mph 83.32 mph 78.86 mph 76.81 mph
Spin Rate 2307.4 rpm 2244.17 rpm 2033.22 rpm 2182.67 rpm 2213.67 rpm
VBreak 19.58 inches 23.34 inches 31.67 inches 37.96 inches 44.8 inches
HBreak 10.72 inches 14.96 inches 15.15 inches 4.74 inches 5.37 inches

As the season has gone on, Umana has focused more on the sinker as opposed to the regular fastball. It has been a far more effective pitch, generating more spin and a higher whiff rate.

It also plays well off the changeup, the pitch he uses the most. The two pitches don’t have much separation between them when it comes to velocity and spin rate, which could be an issue.

Regardless, for as much as he uses the off-speed pitch, it has remained his most effective offering.

The first part of the above clip is an entire at-bat from Umana. Here, he works off the changeup, throwing it to set up his fastball up in the zone that the batter popped up for the out.

The rest of the video shows his changeup at work generating plenty of swings and misses.

In the other video, we see Umana throwing his breaking balls. While he mainly throws it against righties, he does sprinkle them in against lefties. There are some times that the pitches show some good bite, and break but they are still clearly a work in progress.

Umana has a ways to go before he is considered a legitimate prospect, but regardless, he is off to an amazing start this season for the Marauders and has stepped up as of late as they have been in a need for starting pitching.


Williams: The Pirates Are Slowly Building in the Right Direction

Prospect Roundtable: Who Has Made the Biggest Jump in the First Half?

Prospect Roundtable: Which First Half Performance Gives You Most Concern?

Mason Martin Working on Adjustments to Shorten Swing

Tyler Samaniego: Lefty Among Top Performers From 2021 Draft Class

Sergio Umana: Secondary Pitches Key To Progress In Bradenton Return

+ posts

Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

Support Pirates Prospects

Related articles

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Wow, I think that’s our first Devin Williams airbender-style changeup in the system? Such a cool pitch.


Shame on me for forgetting about that Jimenez breakdown!

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I wonder if they could get him to bend his knee a little more, to try and drive off his back leg and generate a couple more ticks. He gets nasty movement.

Pirates Prospects Daily


Latest articles

Latest comments