Luis Escobar was the lone representative of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2017 MLB Futures Game and he did something the first four pitchers for the World Team couldn’t do. Coming into the fifth inning, Team USA scored in each of the first four frames to run up a 7-1 score. Escobar kept them off the board, allowing just a walk in his inning of work.
If you read my Morning Report paragraph on Escobar today, you basically knew what was coming. I said he could be amped up with the adrenaline going and he clearly was, overthrowing a lot of his fastballs, with just seven of his 16 pitches going for strikes. Most of his misses were up out of the zone, while he usually misses down in the zone, keeping his catcher busy blocking pitches. I mentioned that we could see him throw harder than normal and he was sitting 94-97, hitting 98 a couple times. He’s usually 93-95, touching 97 MPH. I even got the pitch selection right, with 13 fastballs and three curves, but he didn’t break out his changeup.
If you didn’t read the report from Abigail Miskowiec earlier this week, but saw Escobar pitch today, now would be a good time to check that out. It talks about how great his stuff can be, but he’s his own worst enemy due to an inconsistent delivery. Basically, what you saw today, which is why it was easy for me to call his outing ahead of time. I’ve seen him pitch 10+ times since last year and he has days like today, and days when the other team can’t do anything with any of his three offerings. That’s been his issue since signing back in 2013, but he has also improved each year, giving him high upside that the Pirates need to be patient with as he continues to progress.