Our 40 in 40 series, which looks at every player on the 40 man roster for the Pittsburgh Pirates, continues today with minor league pitcher, Luis Escobar.
The Columbian born righty was signed by the Pirates as an international free agent in July of 2013 out of Cartagena, Colombia. He was the team’s only representative in the 2017 Futures game. At 6’1 and 155 pounds, the 21 year old still has some filling out to do. That said, he does have a live arm.
Last season, Escobar got his first taste of full-season ball at Low A West Virginia. In 131.2 innings, Escobar had a 3.83 ERA and 3.59 xFIP. He recorded 168 strikeouts and 60 walks. According to Fangraphs, Escobar is the Pirates ninth best prospect. Going into last season, he was ranked as the 17th best prospect in the organization.
Along with a fastball, Escobar includes a slider, curveball, and changeup. Although he is slender in size, he can routinely hit 96-98 mph with the fastball. With his current stuff, Escobar is a strikeout machine in the minors. Last season, he fanned 11.48 batters per nine innings. On the flip side, he does have issues with command. He walked 4.10 batters per nine last season. Escobar is still young and in the process of learning how to pitch at the professional level.
Escobar will more than likely start the season a High A Bradenton. From a raw talent perspective, Escobar has a chance to be very good. He has an electric arm and his body has yet to fully mature. At this point in his career, it is also fairly impressive that he possesses a four-pitch mix.
Escobar is reminiscent of a lot of other pitchers in the Pirates’ system. He throws very fast. He strikes out a lot of batters. But he has command issues.
If I had to guess at this moment in time, I would say that Escobar’s ceiling would be a middle of the rotation starting pitcher. His floor would be a flame throwing middle reliever.
Escobar may not be a top prospect, but he on the 40-man roster. There is something to be said for that. The Pittsburgh Pirates obviously covet his talent.