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.
My high school team got to play a Three Rivers Stadium vs a team from eastern Ohio IF we sold enough Pirates Tickets AND we had to play at 9:30 in the morning on an off day. We also had to use the "visiting football locker room" and to date myself a bit, it had Indianapolis Colts stuff in there from the fairly recent AFC Championship Game. But, we won, some friends skipped school to watch us and even though there were MAYBE 200 people watching us, it was in a big league ballpark!!!
While it may be phasers set on stun, the prospect of pitching in Centre County would faze a young man like Mr. Heredia. Do not make me come to Chapel Hill and start diagramming sentences.
Nothing feels more powering than being on a mound in a stadium. I went to a Friday night HS baseball game in Carthage NC and there was about 1500 of your peers heckling. It was awesome with a PA and walk out music. So much better than a 3:45 start after HS 3 miles away like it is in the WPIAL.