With the signings of top draft picks Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie out of the way, the Pirates now turn their attention to young Mexican pitcher Luis Heredia, who looks to command a multi-million dollar bonus. The best source of information on Heredia right now is the Post-Gazette's Dejan Kovacevic, who recently traveled to Mexico to have a look. Here is some of what he came back with:â†µ
When I saw him last Thursday in Mazatlan, his fastball sat consistently at 92, a few times reaching 93, and this with an effortless delivery. (More impressive than anything.) He also has a sinker and another variation of his fastball that tails in on righties, which he insisted happens at command. There is a change, a curve -- not a very good one at all when I saw him -- and a slider in progress.â†µ
Teams can begin making offers to Heredia on Thursday, and the Pirates are the favorites to land him, according to Kovacevic. The Pirates' Mexican scouting supervisor, Jesus Valdez, has a strong relationship with Heredia that goes back many years, and the Bucs also have strong ties to Veracruz, the Mexican team that controls Heredia's rights.â†µ
Heredia is only 16, and pitchers that young are risky indeed. But I heartily endorse attempts to attract impact talent from Latin America, particularly since it's been an extremely long time since the Pirates have done so. Last year, they almost landed Miguel Sano, the 17-year-old Dominican infielder who ended up with the Twins, but negotiations with Sano's agent went south. The addition of Heredia along with Taillon and Allie would give the Pirates' farm system a huge boost.