By Jason Shetler
The Pirates have announced that pitcher Luis Heredia is being added to the Altoona Curve roster, while pitcher John Kuchno has been released from the organization.
Heredia was signed by the Pirates out of Mexico as a 16-year-old in 2010 for a franchise record setting signing bonus of $2.6 million. The 6’5 right-hander had very good fastball velocity for a teenager. Heredia began the 2015 season with the Bradenton Marauders at age 20, which is young for the High A level. In 21 starts that year, he had a 5.44 ERA, along with a 1.73 WHIP. During Spring Training of last year, the Pirates made the decision to make Heredia a reliever full-time. He posted a 3.64 ERA, but allowed a good amount of batters to reach base with a WHIP of 1.58 in 45 appearances for Bradenton. Heredia threw the sinker more last season, and it resulted in a career best 61% groundball rate. He had a medical issue, which had kept him in Extended Spring Training to build himself back up.
Kuchno had been in the Pirates organization since 2012, after being selected as an 18th round pick out of Ohio State. The 25-year-old righty profiled as a sinkerballer, as he put up a groundball rate of 57% during his six seasons in the system. Kuchno’s best year came in 2015 when he posted an ERA of 3.46 and a 1.29 WHIP in 40 appearances with Altoona. He spent last season pitching for Altoona and Indianapolis, posting a 4.59 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP in a combined 38 games. Prior to his release, Kuchno gave up nine earned runs in 9.2 innings pitched with the Curve this season.