Prospect Profile: Jairo Heredia

Rock in the Hall
BA's Top 10 Yankee Prospects

Jairo Heredia | RHP

Background
Jairo was born in San Cristobal, DR, but grew up in Santo Domingo, the same Dominican town responsible for David Ortiz, Fausto Carmona, Albert Pujols, Aramis Ramirez, Melky Cabrera and dozens of other major leaguers. The Yanks signed him as a 17-yr old during the 2006 International signing period in early July, and forked over a $285,000 bonus. It was the fourth largest bonus the Yanks handed out last summer, behind Jesus Montero ($1.6M), Carlos Urena ($350,000) and Jose Pirela ($300,000). For some unknown reason he was originally known as “Hairo Heredia” after signing, but it was later corrected to “Jairo,” which is his true birth name.

Pro Career
Jairo began his pro career in 2006 with one of the Yanks’ squads in the Dominican Summer League before participating in Dominican Instructs during the fall. He came to the States in 2007 only a year after signing, which is a move only the very best international talents make that quickly. He made his US debut with the Rookie level GCL Yanks in 2007, working short stints every five days. After a short but rough adjustment period, Jairo went on a tear in July. In 22 IP spread over 5 appearances, he allowed 10 hits and walked only 3 batters (3 ER) against 25 strikeouts. His season high point came on July 10th, went he went 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K against the GCL Indians.

Jairo’s season came to an abrupt end on August 15th, went he left a game with soreness in his throwing shoulder. The Yanks took the ultra-cautious approach they always take and shut Jairo down for the remainder of the season. He finished the year with a 40.2 IP, 31 H, 11 R, 10 ER, 8 BB, 41 K line, and was rated as the 15th best prospect in the GCL by Baseball America. Jairo earned comparisons to Pedro Martinez from GCL Yanks manager Jody Reed (Reed went so far as to refer to him as Pedro Jr.) for his stuff, mound presence and tenacity. Jairo was fully healthy in time to make his second trip to Dominican Instructional League, where he returned to the mound without restraint.

Strengths
When you talk about Jairo Heredia, you have to start with his feel for pitching. He knows how to work off his fastball, pitch to both sides of the plate, and set up hitters. He pitches at 90-92 mph with his fastball, and he should add a tick or two as he fills out his 6′-1″, 190 lb frame. His fastball plays up because he spots it so well. Jairo’s overhand curve is a quality second offering, and when he is able to get it over for strikes consistently it can be unhittable. His changeup is a usable third pitch, but it’s the weakest of his repertoire. He pounds the zone and confidently challenges hitters.

Weaknesses
Jairo pitches like someone 10 years his elder, but his inexperience can still be evident at times. There is such a thing as throwing too many strikes, and Jairo can be guilty of that every so often. He also needs to build up his stamina, as he tended to wear down during his 4-5 inning GCL stints. This is due in part to his max effort delivery, which is a toned down version of the Dontrelle Willis Tornado. He also needs to work on the usual, like fielding his position and holding baserunners.

2008 Outlook
The Yanks are working on cleaning up Jairo’s mechanics and simplifying his delivery, so he’s likely to start 2008 in Extended Spring Training followed by a stint with Short Season Staten Island. There’s an outside chance that he starts the year with Low-A Charleston, but he’ll need to make major strides with his motion over the winter and during Spring Training.

My Take
Well, the Pedro comparisons are both premature and unfair, but you have to like what Jairo brings to the table. I tend to temper my expectations with GCL pitchers because they’ve broken my heart more times than I care to count (Argeni Landaeta and Marvin Moscat anyone?), but I find myself being very optimistic about Heredia. Throwing strikes and learning how to pitch (and not just throw) are two of the biggest obstacles young pitchers face, but Jairo seems to be well on his way to conquering those challenges. The Yanks haven’t developed an impact pitcher from Latin America since Mariano Rivera and Ramiro Mendoza debuted in the mid-1990’s (Cuban vets El Duque and Jose Contreras don’t count), but Jairo looks like he could be the kid to buck that trend. Stay tuned.

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BA's Top 10 Yankee Prospects
  • http://NoMaas.org Lane Meyer

    Great write-up! One typo – the Yankees signed him as a 16 year old. Great content though – Jairo is one to keep an eye on for sure!

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Hmmm, milb.com lists his birthday as October 1989, so if he signed in July 2006, so wouldn’t that make him 17 when he signed? My birthday math sucks, so maybe I’m wrong. The younger the better though!

      • jaffa

        In July 1990 he was not yet 1 year old … so just like that in July 2006 he was not yet 17 years old.

        • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A,

          Ah, thanks. Like I said, my b-day math sucks.

  • http://samiamsports.blogspot.com SAMIAMSPORTS

    wow i love this guy already!!! the only thing that scares me is the last name heredia …..Felix …anybody

    • Tishma Heredia

      my last name is heredia and i was born in the usa and my dad is from cuba island what scares u about the last name heredia its just a last name

  • E-ROC

    RAB is the best. Ya’ll are probably tired of hearing or reading it. lol!

  • Donnie Baseball deserves to be in the hall of fame

    Sorry I would not even read this.

    I gotta say NO to anybody named Heredia.

    As I feel the same way about people with the last name of Weaver.

  • Bo

    Thanks for nit picking Lane.

    K-12 later?

  • Chip

    He’s got a long way to come, I tend to wait on getting excited about pitchers if they start to dominate in AA. Unless of course they can throw in the upper 90’s which doesn’t apply here. It seems like pitching is so hard to project since it requires so much more than physical tools where you can usually see if a kid can hit a ball or not

    • barry

      You were excited about Farnsworth then?

  • steve (different one)

    he looks like Soriano in that picture. good write-up.

    keep the pipeline stocked.

  • http://mvn.com/milb-yankees Eric Schultz

    Great stuff as always Mike.

  • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

    so is it pronounced with an H sound: Hi-ro, or Jai-ro?

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A,

      I’m 99% sure it’s pronounced with an H sound, like “High-ro.”

      • JP

        I don’t like High-ro…. sounds too much like Cairo. Might cause more people to jump off the bandwagon ;-)

    • Chofo

      Yes, it’s with an H, like High-ro
      100% sure. Spanish is my main language

    • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

      too bad. Jai-ro would be a very cool name.

  • http://NoMaas.org Lane Meyer

    You’re 100% correct, Mike. It’s pronounced with an H.

  • SavePhil

    I…love…this…guy. Even though at his age its still a longshot, I can’t help but get excited about him.

  • Nefarious Jackson

    He’s my favorite prospect not named Jackson

  • Lanny

    I like to temper my enthusiasm of prospects barely out of their teens.

  • jackal24

    What do you think about those guys ?
    Manuel Barreda
    Justin Snyder
    Braedyn Pruitt
    Kelvin De Leon
    Do you have some detail infomation ?
    thx…

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      All I know about Barreda is that he’s smallish (5’10” or so) and throws hard (93-95).

      Snyder is the next Prospect Profile that I’m working on, so you’ll have to wait until then to find out what I think about him.

      I don’t like Pruitt much; I know he hit .350 or so with Staten Island, but he’s never hit that well in college. I’m more inclined to think it’s a fluke than an actual indicator of talent. I wouldn’t be surprised if he struggled to hit .250 next year, and was cut within the next 2 years.

      DeLeon is supposed to be a Melky Cabrera type player with more power. I’m going to reserve judgment on him until he hits the states.

      • CaptainCargo

        Just as an update, Pruitt batted .345 in his last year at Stetson. Since he hadn’t graduated yet (he went back and got his last two credits while studying while playing with Saten Island last year BTW) when he went to Staten he may have actually come out as a junior but I dunno for sure. Still, even if he was a senior I’d have to call .345 with some very good accompaning hitting stats pretty decent.

  • Frankie

    Mike A,

    Question…..have you seen Heredia pitch? If so, I commend your efforts in doing so to create sucha good profile.

    If not, don’t you think it’d be nice to credit PinstripesPlus.com, the only site that has in-depth information on Jairo Heredia?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      I’ve never seen him pitch. The only bit of info I got from PPlus was the little bit about is shoulder injury, the rest I got from someone at a separate scouting publication that I’ve had contact and dialog with for quite some time.

      PPlus has given me shit for using their material in the past (did you notice that the picture is gone?), so I try to avoid using info from that site at all costs.

      • Frankie

        I wouldn’t classify a publication telling you to stop doing something illegal as “giving you shit.”

      • Andrew Stebbins

        Meaning $80? I’ve seen this stuff before.

  • Andrew Stebbins

    Good write up. I have to echo Frankie though, where did you see him?

  • sean

    Thats my boy jairo…he’s got HEAVY fastball man. I

  • sean

    …do hope he comes back to tampa for a few days though…his shit hurt my hand…lol

  • CaptainCargo

    Heredia is a scary name LOL. But his stuff is also scary and that should be what matters here. I love the numbers he was able to post. But he really labors out there with every pitch and when you see the shoulder problems and he’s already limited as far as innings go “thats” scary too. Hopefully its just a matter of youth and too many innings. He may be destined for the pen in the long run though.

    A quick comment on Braedyn Pruitt. One thing I liked about the guy last year is he doesn’t stikeout much.(about once every 8 ABs or so I think, not too shabby) And he in fact walked more than he K’d 26BB/21K(always love that particular stat) He did cool off at the end of the year, which might indicate Mike is right about him. But he was also coming back off an injury too, so that may have had something to do with the late season fall off. Plus that bat control garnered him a decent BA with men on at .368 for the season. So I’m going to take a wait and see attitude with this guy in the upcoming season and not just write him off as having a fluke season last year.

  • CaptainCargo

    Also Mike you might have accidentally looked at “Brian” Pruitt’s hitting stats and not “Braedyn’s”????

  • sean

    nah his shoulders fine

  • Pete

    Nice write up, though I would hardly classify Santo Domingo as a ”town.”

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  • http://kikojones5.blogspot.com Kiko Jones

    Mike, Sto Dgo is not some “town”; it’s the capital of the Dominican Republic, for Pete’s sake.

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