Heralded pitching prospect Luis Heredia found the going tough in his first season of pro ball in the Pittsburgh Pirates system.
The 6’6” 17-year-old righthander struggled his way to one win in eleven starts for the Pirates’ Gulf Coast League rookie team in 2011, going 1-2 with a 4.75 ERA in 30.1 innings. He had a fair strikeout total of 23 (a rate of 6.8 whiffs per nine innings), but his early control problems never completely went away. Heredia dished up 19 walks and hit four batsmen, also a rate of 6.8 per nine frames for free passes.
The campaign ended on an upswing for the Mazatlan native, however. Heredia pitched scoreless ball over nine innings in three appearances (two starts) between August 8 and 19 before getting racked up for three runs on four hits in three entradas against the Phillies in his last start of the season on August 25.
Heredia's lone win against the Tigers on September 8 began his scoreless stretch, but even that was somewhat flawed. While Heredia did toss three shutout innings with two strikeouts, he gave up two hits and two walks in his only relief outing in ten appearances for the Pirates under manager Tom Prince.
Given his $3 million bonus and mid-90’s fastball, Heredia remains one of Pittsburgh’s top prospects and should develop once the Pirates let him throw more than just heaters as he matures.