EDUARDO VERA, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: July 3, 1994
Signed: Int’l Free Agent, 2012, Pittsburgh Pirates
How Acquired: International Free Agent
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|The Pirates signed Vera out of Mexico at age 17. He originally threw about 90-91, with a slow curve and a change. He missed 2015 and part of 2016 due to Tommy John surgery, then came to camp in 2017 throwing 93-95, reaching 97, with an improved curve.
After signing, Vera got into 16 games, including four starts. He put up solid numbers, including decent walk and K rates.
Vera had a very good season as a starter, throwing strikes and getting groundballs.
Vera pitched in relief in the GCL. He didn’t allow as many baserunners as you’d think from the ERA, but he didn’t miss a lot of bats, either.
Vera probably would have opened the season in the GCL, but the Pirates put him on the minor league 60-day disabled list following Tommy John surgery in June.
Vera appeared in a game in early July, then didn’t pitch again for a month before finishing August with six more relief appearances.
Vera impressed the Pirates in spring training with improved secondary stuff and velocity, and they moved him up to West Virginia. He started off in the bullpen, sometimes as closer, but in mid-May he moved to the rotation. Despite operating on limited pitch counts — his high was 90, reached just once — he was able to go fairly deep into games as he threw strikes and had a lot of quick innings. He went seven innings in each of his last three games, averaging only 83 pitches per start. In one of those games, he came within one out of a seven-inning perfect game (in a doubleheader). His xFIP (3.50) was almost the same as his ERA and he had a minimal platoon split.
Vera opened with Bradenton, but moved up to Altoona after just nine starts. He got very good results in high A despite an extremely low K rate. In Altoona, Vera started off well, going seven innings in each of his first three starts, but in the next two he gave up 13 runs in just 8.2 IP. He pitched much better after that, finishing the season by allowing just a run and nine hits in 20.2 IP over his last three starts. He also fanned 22 over those starts; up until then his K rate in AA hadn’t been much higher than it was in high A. He gave up home runs at slightly high rates at both levels. Advanced metrics didn’t buy his success; between the low K rates and batting averages on balls in play of .239 (Bradenton) and .252 (Altoona), he had an xFIP of 4.31 at Bradenton and 4.35 at Altoona.
Vera would have been eligible for minor league free agency after the season, but he signed a minor league deal with the Pirates for 2019 before that came about. He was still eligible for the Rule 5 draft. With the low K rates and a possible risk of gopher ball problems as he moves up, it’s not clear how much upside he has. Still, he throws strikes and has shown an ability to go deep into games, an ability that he’s repeated at the AA level.
|2019: Minor League Contract|
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2012
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2019
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|March 5, 2012: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an international free agent.