CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- He won't be 19 until August, but Power right-hander Luis Heredia already stands 6-foot-6, weighs 243 pounds and throws a consistent 94-mph fastball.
Given baseball's current obsession with radar-gun readings and impressive strikeout totals, Heredia seems to fit the high-velocity prototype, a big and strong youngster who, one assumes, eventually will develop into an overpowering fastball practitioner.
But baseball, especially down here at the Class A level, is far too unpredictable for such generalizations.
Who knows what his max-out velocity will be a few years down the road or even if it will increase at all.
"It's hard to tell,'' said Power pitching coach Jeff Johnson. "I don't know. Some guys do, but it's hard to tell. I wouldn't even guess.''
Heredia, a native of Mazatlan, Mexico, made his South Atlantic League debut Sunday afternoon at Appalachian Power Park and, in addition to the 94-mph fastballs, demonstrated finesse in pitching the Power to an 8-0 victory over the Lakewood BlueClaws.
On the game's first pitch, he delivered a strike at 93 mph and proceeded to handle himself admirably, mixing in "16 or 17 changeups'' and allowing just one hit, striking out five and walking four in five innings to pick up the victory.
It was the kind of effort that seemed to fit his projection as the ninth-best prospect, and fourth-best pitching prospect behind Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow and Nick Kingham in the Pittsburgh organization, according to BaseballAmerica.com.
The Pirates were impressed enough with Heredia's potential to give him a $2.6 million signing bonus shortly after his 16th birthday in 2010.
Among his attributes in Sunday's debut was poise.