The Cincinnati Reds have signed right handed pitcher Luis Heredia and re-signed right handed pitcher Domingo Tapia to Minor League deals for the 2018 season. There are only a few weeks left until minor leaguers show up for spring training, so the organization is filling in a few open areas still.

Luis Heredia originally signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2010 as a 16-year-old out of Mexico. The Pirates gave him a bonus of $2.6M (though a large percentage of that actually went to the team that owned his rights in Mexico), which was a record for Pittsburgh at the time (I don’t know if it still is). He spent two seasons in short-season ball, pitching for the GCL Pirates in 2011 and State College in 2012.

After that he spent the next four seasons in A-ball, with two years in West Virginia and two more in Bradenton. What began to show up in that time was his struggles in throwing strikes. While he was still young, particularly for his level those first three seasons, his inability to throw strikes was holding him back as a starter. The Pirates decided to make the move to slide him to the bullpen in 2016 with Bradenton in the Florida State League. The control problems persisted as he walked 31 with just 42 strikeouts in 54.1 innings. His ERA did improve quite a bit and he allowed just one home run all season, thanks to picking up a new 2-seam fastball. His ground ball rate jumped up to 61% that season

Last season he spent the entire year in Double-A Altoona. Once again Luis Heredia worked out of the bullpen. The then 22-year-old posted a 3.10 ERA in 52.1 innings, but had 31 walks and just 43 strikeouts. His ground ball rate declined, but was still good at 51%. The walk rate was still a concern, though. He still shows good stuff, but his struggles with the strikezone doesn’t allow it to play up. Heredia will only be 23-years-old in 2018 – a very young age for a player to reach free agency at. If the Reds can help him lower his walk rate some, it could be an addition of another quality relief prospect to the organization.

The Reds also re-signed right handed pitcher Domingo Tapia. He spent the 2017 season with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos and Louisville Bats. The now 26-year-old made 10 starts and 28 more relief appearances between the two stops. He posted a 4.08 ERA in 88.1 innings with 26 walks and 85 strikeouts.

The 2017 season was a bit of a turn around for Domingo Tapia. He’s struggled to throw strikes consistently throughout his career, but in 2017 he saw his walk rate that had been between 10-14% drop to 6.7%. He did allow 102 hits during the season, but a lot of that can likely fall on the back of a BABIP of .356. For his career that number has been significantly lower, so if he can maintain the strides he had in throwing strikes and his BABIP falls back to his career norms he could be looking at a rather successful campaign in 2018.

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6 Responses

  1. MK

    I actually got an Altoona Curve game program book in the mail today that I purchase on Ebay (the kid on the cover is one of our local kids) and the bio on Heredia paints a pretty bright picture on his first half season in the FSL which allowed him to make the All Star team. He is a big guy at 6’6″ 251 lbs,

  2. The Duke

    Solid org depth signings. You can never see where the attrition is coming from in regards to who gets hurt, but that it’s coming is almost a certainty. Hopefully not as much at the big league level as last year.

  3. David

    What percentage of these “if-he-could-only-learn-to-throw-strikes” prospects ever work out? It seems like we read that line over and over. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

  4. Matt McWax

    Heredia is like getting another 5th or 6th round college arm last year since he’s young. I think they should do some experimenting with his repertoire and get tough on his fitness, he seems worth the risk.

  5. CP

    Seems like signings like this are pretty low risk. If either of them ever makes it to the show and produces a little that is a big get for next to nothing. It’s worth giving them a shot!

  6. sixpacktwo

    I had a young kid in C ball a long, long time ago. He very seldom missed the strike zone and one day he walked the first three batters. I went to the mound and saw where he had new basebaLL shoe’s and I ask where are your tennis shoes. He said they were in the car, and I told him to change after the inning. I also noticed he was finishing toward third base side and everything was going that way so I told him to finish on the outside of the plate. He struck out the next two and got the third on a grounder. Sometimes it is a simple adjustment but the light bulb must come on.