Last week the Pittsburgh Pirates placed four prospects in the top 20 of Baseball America’s 2012 Gulf Coast League list. This week their lower level prospects received more recognition from Baseball America, placing three prospects on the 2012 New York Penn League top 20 list. The list can be seen here, and scouting reports can be read here for subscribers.
Luis Heredia was the number two prospect in the league, falling behind Taylor Guerrieri of the Rays. Heredia put up an impressive 2.71 ERA in 66 innings, with a 40:20 K/BB ratio. During Spring Training, Heredia lacked fastball command and a changeup. He made some big strides in each department while spending time in extended Spring Training. The addition of his changeup, and improved fastball command led to his strong season. Toward the end of the year he added a hard breaking curveball. Baseball America noted his potential for three plus pitches from this mix.
Coming in at number ten on the list was 2012 compensation pick Barrett Barnes. The outfielder missed some time this year with a shin injury, but hit for a .288/.401/.456 line in 125 at-bats when healthy. Barnes plays center field right now, but his lack of arm strength could force a move to left field later in his career. He projects to hit for enough power to play a corner spot, with Baseball America noting that his bat speed gives him the change to develop above-average power.
Number 15 on the list was Clay Holmes, who was taken in the 9th round of the 2011 draft and signed for $1.2 M. Holmes had a similar story to Heredia. He improved his fastball command during extended Spring Training, although he wasn’t as raw in this department as Heredia. The big adjustment was the addition of a changeup, which he didn’t have at the end of Spring Training. He dealt with some control issues this year, and his changeup needs more development, which should come with more experience throwing the pitch. Holmes had a 2.28 ERA in 59 innings this year, with a 34:29 K/BB ratio.
The numbers from Heredia and Holmes were even more impressive when you consider their ages. The NYPL is mostly made up of college hitters. Heredia didn’t turn 18 until August, and Holmes was in his first year out of high school. The fact that both had this kind of success against college juniors shows how advanced they are for their young ages.