Looking at What Went Wrong in Luis Heredia’s 2015 Debut

Luis Heredia made his 2015 debut last night with the Bradenton Marauders, although the debut was very short-lived. Heredia did well against the leadoff hitter, but struggled with his control after that, especially when he went to the stretch. He ended up lasting just two outs, and being pulled due to a single inning pitch limit after throwing 36 pitches. He gave up five runs on two walks and three hits, with three of those runs scoring off Felipe Gonzalez.

As I noted last week, Heredia switched back to an overhand delivery, from a three-quarters arm slot that he had moved to last year. The new arm slot wasn’t a big factor in his control problems last night. Instead, it was the emergence of two issues during his delivery that he has had in the past.

The first issue was pointed out by a scout who was watching the game. Heredia has a hook behind his back in the early part of the delivery, which gives the elbow an extra twist, and can also throw off his mechanics. This is also something a different scout pointed out to John Dreker in 2013 when he saw Heredia pitch for West Virginia. Here is a picture of what I am talking about.

Heredia Hook

You can see the hook clearly in this picture, and can imagine the rotation of the arm from this point. You can see a full speed version in the video below.

As you can see in the video below, Heredia did a good job of getting the ball down in the zone at times, creating good angle on the ball. He was pretty consistent in this approach throughout the start, especially aiming for the bottom left corner (on the right-handed side of the box). However, there were a lot of times where he was missing high, or missing way inside to right-handers, or outside to left-handers, due to not following through with his delivery at times. He was also going too far in his delivery early in the start, tucking his head into his armpit, so maybe he’s trying to find a perfect ground between the two extremes. The latter issue was another thing we’ve heard about in the past, but seemed to be resolved after the first few batters.

I don’t want to base too much on one start, good or bad. There are some mechanical issues here with Heredia, and we’ll see if he gets them developed this year. The scout in attendance also agreed that seeing him another time would be best, but agreed with my assessment that he’s pretty much a project at this point, similar to your typical mid-round projectable prep pitcher.

Heredia is still very young, and doesn’t turn 21 until mid-August. He’s Rule 5 eligible this off-season, but I don’t see anyone taking him at this point. The Pirates could keep him in A-ball for a few years to work on his mechanics and he’d still be age appropriate for the level. For now, we’ll see how things improve in his next outing. Here is the video of his start, which doesn’t include the first few batters.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLRoTVK78Nc

  • So why hasn’t that hook been fixed? Is it Heredia being stubborn?

    • It’s possible that the Pirates don’t see this as a critical issue.

      If you watched the Pirate game yesterday you saw a starting pitcher that’s done pretty well for himself despite having a move that’s awfully similar.

  • with that much money at a very young age and not much “work” to account for it, it is easy to just get lazy!

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    May 18, 2015 8:27 am

    I don’t have any reason to believe that this kid is going to amount to anything – unless he starts showing he is serious about his baseball career. He has gone backwards….in all respects. Maybe too much money at too young an age? Who knows….if he doesn’t improve by 8/1, maybe its time to move on.

    • If I remember correctly, didn’t his Mexican club keep something like an 80% cut of his bonus? I know the $2m+ didn’t all go to him, or even close to half of it.

      • John Dreker
        May 18, 2015 1:10 pm

        Players from Mexico have to sign with a Mexican League team before they sign with a Major League team, it isn’t an option(technically it is, but lets just say you don’t want to do it). For someone like Heredia, he probably had multiple suitors, so he likely got a bonus from them and he also got paid a salary until the Pirates signed him. He got 25% of his $3M bonus from the Pirates, which is the same % everyone gets from Mexico, whether they sign for $100K or $3M. The 75% went to his team. What it does is guarantee him he can pitch in Mexico during the winter anytime and during the summer after his career is over in the States.

  • frank baloh
    May 18, 2015 8:10 am

    He seems to have no interest in being great. I know he’s young, but how many times can you come to camp out of shape? He seems to have been blessed with size and an arm. The rest, not so much. I don’t think it helps the Pitetes message to other young players to keep giving this kid a chance. Either trade him or bury him somewhere that he doesn’t want to be until he figures himself out.

  • The cold hard facts are these: the Pirates appropriately took a flyer on Luis, giving him a lot of money on what was always going to be a bit of a long shot, despite his teen age promise! But he’s regressed from his original projections and now is just another guy trying to make it to the majors. He’s got time on his side for the moment, but if he bombs out, it was still a good gamble by the Pirates. For every millionaire Luis there’s a $600,000 Tyler Glasnow who is more likely to make it BIG!

  • Somebody gets his spot and their career launches. Supply and demand. You hate to see anybody with so much talent struggle so mightily but somewhere a 20 year old young man is warming up to see his dream come true. That’s baseball.

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