The Pirates Prospects 2012 Prospect Guide is now available, featuring over 250 prospect reports, the 2012 top 50 prospects, a feature on the top four pitching prospects in the system, 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 ten prospects over the next week. Be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site.
To recap the countdown so far:
10. Nick Kingham
7. Tony Sanchez
We continue the countdown with the number five prospect, Luis Heredia.
5. Luis Heredia, RHP
Heredia is ranked behind Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon as the number three pitching prospect in the system. He’s not as polished as either pitcher, with his skills and background being on the raw side. His upside might be higher than either pitcher, with the possibility of eventually being the number one prospect in the system.
He was the top prospect out of Mexico in 2010, and signed with the Pirates for a franchise record $2.6 M. He was a top prospect for good reason. At the age of 16 he already could throw in the low-to-mid 90s with his fastball. He was sitting around 92-94 MPH in Spring Training, and touched 96. His velocity was mostly in the low 90s throughout the year.
Aside from his fastball, Heredia has the makings of two other plus pitches: a curveball and a changeup. His changeup is already above-average, which is better than most of the older pitchers in the farm system. He showed promise with his curveball this year, with good spin on the pitch.
Heredia had some control issues this year, which can be worked out as spends more time repeating his delivery. His push to the GCL was very aggressive for a 16 year old, and considering his age and experience, his results were very impressive. He should move up to State College next year, once again focusing on his fastball command and repeating his delivery.
Heredia already has a big frame for a 16 year old, and he could eventually add more velocity, to the point where he could throw his fastball in the upper 90s. He’s got the potential for three plus pitches, and has the build to be a future work horse starter. A lot of comparisons are made to Felix Hernandez if he realizes his full potential. He’s very raw, and has several years before he could potentially be in the majors, but he might have the most upside of any pitching prospect in the system.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.