Monday, February 21, 2011


For a 16-year-old kid who has yet to throw a pitch in a pro baseball game, Luis Heredia is already being held in high esteem in some quarters. Baseball America’s 2011 Prospect Handbook has named the Mazatlan prodigy as the fifth-best prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system.

The 6’6” Heredia (who was signed by the Pirates for a $2.6 million bonus last August shortly after his 16th birthday) “doesn’t have one singularly superb trait,” the Handbook says, “aside from doing so much so well with such size at his age.” Also noted was that “His frame, coordination and delivery are highly advanced, and he has excelled against older competition all his life.”

Heredia was the subject of spirited bidding among more than a dozen Major League organizations, but his longtime relationship with former Mazatlan Venados general manager Jesus “Chino” Valdez (who is Pittsburgh’s lead scout in Mexico) meant the other teams had little chance of signing him. As is customary south of the border, Heredia’s rights were held by the Mexican League’s Veracruz Aguilas, who kept 75 percent of the bonus.

Heredia is one of three teenage pitchers among the Pirates’ top five prospects, according to Baseball America, along with top-rated Jameson Taillon and third-ranked Stetson Allie.