The Pittsburgh Pirates recently promoted right-handed pitching prospect Luis Escobar to the Altoona Curve. Escobar made his Double-A debut yesterday.
Just a few days ago it was announced that the Pittsburgh Pirates were promoting right-handed pitcher Luis Escobar to the Altoona Curve. The Curve, of course, is the Pittsburgh Pirates Double-A affiliate. Escobar previously was pitching for High-A Bradenton. MLB Pipeline has Escobar as one of the better prospects in the Pittsburgh Pirates system. As of now, he is ranked as the number 10 overall prospect, the third best righty pitching prospect, and fourth overall pitching prospect. The biggest moment of Escobar’s career thus far was when he pitched in the 2017 MLB Futures Game.
Escobar has had a bit of an up and down 2018 season thus far. The power righty made 17 appearances and 16 starts. Across those games, he accumulated 92.2 innings and a 3.98 earned run average. Escobar struck out 85 batters and held opponents to a batting average of .224 at High-A. Also, when he was not striking out hitters, he was getting a solid ground ball percentage of 47 percent.
While those numbers are very strong, command issues continue to still be the one thing holding Escobar back from taking the next step forward. On the year with the Marauders, Escobar had 3.7 walks per nine innings pitched with 38 walks on the year. Furthermore, the prospect from Columbia has also his eight batters. So virtually he gave up a free pass in half of the innings he has pitched.
Still, the Pittsburgh Pirates felt that it was the right time to move Luis Escobar up to Double-A. Escobar had a strong start in his Double-A début. The righty pitched against the Bowie Bay Sox of the Baltimore Orioles organization. Escobar threw six innings in the start, giving up three earned runs. He struck out three batters, walked two, and threw 57 of his 93 pitches for strikes. Two of the runs against Escobar came from the two home runs he gave up. However, he was aided by a 2-4 game by Will Craig who had a home run, and a 3-4 game by Cole Tucker. With that, Escobar recorded his first Double-A win.
As mentioned earlier, the area that needs to improve with Escobar is his command. He threw almost 40 percent of his pitches yesterday for balls. Of course, his career trends this way, averaging 4 walks per 9 innings pitched. What could this mean for Escobar down the road? Well, with a fastball that sits 95-97 miles per hour and a lack of control he could be best suited for a bullpen role down the road. However, the Pittsburgh Pirates will continue to try to keep him as a starter and develop his command. Hopefully, the Altoona Curve, who have developed a lot of good pitching prospects lately, can do the same with him.