Pittsburgh Pirates Top Prospects: Number 13 Luis Escobar

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The regular season is right around the corner, as we continue to break down our Top 20 Pittsburgh Pirates prospect list.  Here is number 13 on the list.

Over the last few years, the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system has been considered one of the best in baseball.  However, after enjoying a period of playoff baseball, and in turn picking lower in the draft, they have seen their system fall toward the middle of the pack.  Still, rankings by scouting websites are not everything.  They have plenty of intriguing prospects who could break out just as much as a team with a top farm system.

With that being said, we have come up with our top 20 prospects for the 2018 season.  The articles will look at each player, starting at 20 and working toward one. So far we have looked at pitchers Clay Holmes at number 20, Gage Hinsz at number 19, Travis MacGregor at 18, and left-handed starter Braeden Ogle at 17.  The first hitter to show up on our count down was Calvin Mitchell at number 16 and Oneil Cruz at number 15.  Coming in at number 14 was 2017 draft pick Steven Jennings.  So who is number 13?

Number 13 Overall

At number 13 we have listed right-handed pitcher Luis Escobar.  Escobar came to the Pittsburgh Pirates back in 2013 when former head of scouting Rene Gayo signed him out of Columbia. When Escobar signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates, he came into the organization as an infielder.  However, he made the switch to the mound after the Bucs saw his power arm.  Escobar’s fastball sits in the mid 90s, reaching as high as 98 at times.  He also throws a sharp breaking pitch that results in plenty of swings and misses.  The changeup shows enough to keep hitters honest and, should continue to develop into a plus pitch for him.  The 21-year-old righty is 6’2” and 210 pounds.

The biggest issue for Escobar is not his stuff, but rather his command.  Over the course of his career this has been the one thing that has held him back from taking the next step, transforming from being a good prospect to a great prospect.  In his career he has average 4.1 walks per nine innings pitched.  This is actually the same number he saw himself post last year in Low-A West Virginia.

However, with command issues one can also be effectively wild, especially in the lower minors.  Due to lack of discipline in the lower levels, Escobar has also produced a lot of swings and misses.  In his career, he averages 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.  He punched out even more last season at Low-A, putting up 11.5 strikeouts per nine.  So while he walks a lot of batters he also strikes out a lot of them, sound familiar to another former pitching prospect?  Tyler Glasnow, perhaps?

Next: Number 14 Prospect

2017 Season

All in all, Escobar had a very solid year last season.  In fact, he left such an impression that he was selected as part of the MLB Futures Game.  For the season, Escobar pitched exclusively in Low-A for the West Virginia Power.  He made 25 starts and made one appearance in relief, posting a career high 132.1 innings.  In those innings he earned a 3.83 ERA while striking out 168 and walking 60.  He did have an impressive WHIP of 1.19, especially considering his BB/9IP, and this was mainly because he held batters to a .198 batting average against.  While his ERA was not overly impressive, he showed the ability to get batters out.  If Escobar can figure out how to limit his walks and continue to produce swings and misses, he should turn into a premium starting pitching prospect.  Escobar will start the year in High-A Bradenton.