Edgar Santana did not know what a changeup was, let alone how to pitch, when he first started playing baseball as a 19-year-old in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.
"I had no idea what I was doing," he said.
Santana was playing catch with a cousin one day when a trainer, Nelson Calvo, asked him to give pitching a try. With his delivery "a mess," Santana threw an 85-mph fastball on his first throw.
That pitch, and learning the nuances of the position, led Santana to Indianapolis. Now a 25-year-old reliever for the Pirates' Triple-A affiliate, Santana is using a 95-mph fastball to set up what Baseball America called the best slider in the organization.
His dream of reaching the major leagues is near after learning how to pitch later than most, but he has one more weapon to add before the organization feels he's ready for that next step: A changeup.