Winter Leagues: Report From Luis Heredia’s Extended Relief Outing

Two days worth of action from around the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Venezuela. Report today includes a scouting report of the extended outing from Luis Heredia on Tuesday night.


Monday was a very light day on the schedule, with three games total and only one of those games included players from the Pirates. In the Dominican, Kelvin Marte made his season debut and allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and no walks, with five strikeouts in five innings. Marte pitched twice for the Pirates late in the season before being designated for assignment. He cleared waivers and was assigned to Indianapolis, but he will be a free agent shortly if the Pirates don’t re-sign him.

Miguel Rosario pitched his second game and threw 1.2 scoreless innings, striking out two batters. He gave up two hits and a walk. I wrote about Rosario on Monday and how he has transformed into an interesting reliever for the Pirates.


In the Dominican, Edwin Espinal went 0-for-3 with two walks and a run scored. He is 1-for-14 in his first four games.

Willy Garcia went 1-for-3 with a single and a strikeout in his first start of the season. He was pinch-hit for in the tenth inning. Garcia played one other game, walking as a pinch-hitter in his debut.

Julio Eusebio made his debut in winter ball and retired all four batters he faced. He got three ground outs and a strikeout. Eusebio was taken 108th overall in this year’s Dominican league draft.

In Venezuela, Elvis Escobar went 1-for-2 before leaving for a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning. He is hitting .353/.365/.529 in 51 at-bats. At the bottom, I’ve included video of a nice double play from Escobar out in center field.

Jose Osuna went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts, before leaving for a defensive replacement late in the game. He is batting .275/.387/.412 in 51 at-bats.

In Mexico, Luis Heredia pitched three innings and allowed four runs on three hits and three walks, striking out two batters. He threw 49 pitches, which topped his regular season high of 47 in 2016. His pitching line sounds worse than it looked in person according to someone I talked to who was tracking pitches (they have a lot of former Pirates on that team). Heredia was sitting 93-96 MPH for his first 2.2 innings, after coming into the game with one out in the second inning.

He came back out in the fifth inning and his velocity was down to 89-91 MPH, plus the control was off. That led to two walks, an infield single, and a grounder up the middle that found a hole. All four runs came around to score. If they didn’t try to stretch him out, then he would have finished with a nice line on this night. Heredia went 2.2 hitless/scoreless innings in his previous outing, striking out five batters, so he was on a nice little run until that last inning.

Carlos Munoz went 0-for-5, dropping him down to a .154 average through 11 games.

**The league in Puerto Rico starts tomorrow night. Rosters haven’t been posted yet.

  • Please remind us again about the comparative levels
    of competition for the various winter leagues.

    • The Dominican is the best, and it starts out around AAA talent, and then gets better as the season goes along. I’ve seen lineups there with nine players who had recent MLB experience. Most of the players have at least AAA time.

      Venezuela is basically strong AA, and some teams would be like facing AAA squads. Mexico is the same as Venezuela.

      Puerto Rico is like a weak AA league. You’ll get occasional MLB players, but it’s mostly AA/AAA guys, with some lower level players mixed in.

      Colombia and Australia are like High-A ball, with Australia being the better of the two leagues as far as talent, but Colombia is more offense, while Australia is usually low scoring games.

      Then there are leagues in Nicaragua, Panama and another in Mexico called the Veracruz league. Those would be like rookie ball, something like the Appalachian League

  • I recall Goya saying Hereidia was the best young pitcher he had ever seen and I think he was good his first year in the organization but since then he seems to have been on a steady downward spiral. What happened? Sure it was reported he was out of shape; is that still the case? How could he be better at 15 years of age then he is now? He seems like a monumental bust. Is there any hope that he can at least become a middle inning reliever or is he so puzzling that he is not going to be taken in the rule 5 draft secondary stage?

    • wonder if there was some mechanical change that he didn’t adapt to or refused to adapt to..

    • Probably the only saving grace is his youth. But, he has been disappointing to say the least.

    • I always thought he was signed on the rebound from the Sano debacle. Not a good strategy. Was the PBC trying to prove it could id and sign top talent after years of neglect in L.A.?