Luis Heredia is just 17 years old, but the Pirates think highly enough of him to have him pitching with the State College Spikes in the New York Penn League this season. For some context most of the Pirates’ high school draftees are 18 years old, and they’ve been sent to the Gulf Coast League, which is a level below the NY-Penn. He’s the youngest player in Spikes history and the youngest player in the league this year, and that should give you an idea of how highly the Pirates think of Heredia, beyond the fact that he’s 6’7″ and was rumored to be throwing in the upper 90s at spring training this year.
Still, I was a little worried about Heredia’s debut with State College. The GCL Pirates play at Pirate City, which is more of a compound of fields than a stadium. The crowd in State College wasn’t huge last night (3,323) but it’s a real crowd in a real stadium. When I was Heredia’s age, I had trouble getting high school JV hitters out and we thought it was a huge deal to go play for 200 people in the Erie Seawolves’ stadium in the District 10 playoffs.
Heredia, though, was not phased by his State College debut. He went four shutout innings last night, struck out four, walked two, and only allowed one hit. It’s only one start, of course, but it’s pretty hard not to be impressed when that one start is by a 17-year old.