Top 3 Prospects
1. Luis Heredia
2. Stetson Allie
3. Nick Kingham
* I don’t get much of a chance to follow the lower level pitchers so I am just going to leave it at these three.
Most people know the story about Heredia by now, he was the 3rd potential ace the Pirates added last year, signing out of Mexico at the age of 16 for 2.6 million dollars. Heredia rates so highly because of his just plain good stuff. He already throws his fastball is the 92-93 range and has 3 good offspeed pitches including a changeup, curve and slider. He was considered the top international free agent last season so getting him was a huge move for the Pirates. The Pirates were aggressive with him this season putting the 16 year old in the GCL a league usually reserved for first year high school players. Due to his young age and raw skills he has a few years of development in front of him but his upside makes him a borderline top 100 prospect in all of baseball.
Season: 5.01 ERA, 1.757 WHIP, 1.05 SO/BB
Allie, like Bell this year, was the highly touted second round selection by the Pittsburgh Pirates last year. He signed for only 2.25 million which was below his asking price of 3 million dollars. In terms of power arms noone currently in the Pirates system can rival Allie. He has been clocked as high as 102 and consistently sits in the 98-99 range. Going into this season he was highly regarded, some even considered him the Pirates 2nd best prospect but his value has taken a hit as he hasn’t lived up to everyone’s expectations. The expectations were too high though as this is only his second year focusing on pitching, until his senior season of high school Allie was primarily a 3B and a good one at that. A lot of scouts seem to think he has the makeup of a closer but the Pirates are letting him try his hand at starting. Even if he does become a closer this pick by the Pirates would have to be consider a success, a dominating closer who can throw 100 mph is worth a second round pick. Don’t forget also that he is only 19 years old and still has plenty of time in front of him.
Season: 7.66 ERA, 1.970 WHIP, 0.96 SO/BB
Kingham was drafted in the 4th round last season and signed an overslot deal for 480K but got very little attention because of Taillon and Allie. He wasn’t considered on the same level as Von Rosenberg and Cain, who were taken the year before, but still was thought of as a good prospect with a lot of upside. His fastball was in the low 90s and he complimented it with a good change and a work in progress curve. He was seen as a possible middle of the rotation pitcher headed into the season. This season Kingham has exceeded expectations and has climbed on to the cusp of the top 10 Pirate prospects discussion. He has a lot of work in front of him but at this point his results have to be seen as very encouraging.
Season: 2.65 ERA, 1.216 WHIP, 3.27 SO/BB