#9 RHSP Gabriel Ynoa (LR: #6)
Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 6′ 2″ Weight: 158 lb
Acquired: 2009 International Signing, Dominican Republic
2014: (A+/AA) 11-4, 4.27 ERA, 141.2 IP, 6.4 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 1.344 WHIP
2013: (A) 15-4, 2.72 ERA, 135.2 IP, 7.0 K/9, 1.1 BB/9, 1.025 WHIP
2012: (SS-A) 5-2, 2.23 ERA, 76.2 IP, 7.5 K/9, 1.2 BB/9, 0.926 WHIP
2011: (R) 2-3, 3.21 ERA, 56.0 IP, 4.3 K/9, 0.6 BB/9, 1.089 WHIP
I said it in 2012, in 2013, and again this pre-season. Just to cover my butt though, I'll say it again...I may be guilty of over-ranking Ynoa. This kid has done nothing but throw quality start after quality start and rack up win after win. Last season, if you include the playoffs, he racked up 17 wins which is something some minor leaguers can't accomplish in 2-3 years worth of starts. He's conquered the NY-Penn League, the South Atlantic League, and most recently the Florida State League with relative ease. The real test has begun though for Ynoa, conquering the prospect wall that is the AA Eastern League.
So far, in his 1st 10 starts, Ynoa has shown a mixed bag of results as he adjusts to the tougher league. He's shown some positives such as his July 9th performance against Portland (7 IP, 9 K, 0 ER) , as well as some negatives (4 IP, 6 ER against Bowie). So far, the main problem has been the long ball as he's given up 9 HRs in those 10 starts as he is quickly learning that guys are stronger in AA. He'll likes to work up in the zone so he'll have to make the adjustment to try to even out his, currently high, fly-ball to ground-ball ratio.
Ynoa is currently cranking his fastball at around 92-94 MPH with good natural movement. He plays the pitch up even higher thanks to his impeccable control. His change-up is already MLB average and has the potential to be a plus pitch thanks to it's excellent 2-plane movement both down and away from right-handers. He's also made improvements to the spin on his slider and scouts now believe it can at least be an MLB average 3rd pitch. He also has a curveball, but, scouts are not as high on it as his slider so he's better served keeping as a "show-me" back door pitch.
Ynoa still has a ton of room in his frame to fill out on his lanky 6'2" 158 lb frame, so, additional velocity projection is still here. If he can add just 2 or 3 more ticks to that fastball, while maintaining it's movement, combining that with his advanced change-up will make him a very strong bet to reach his potential. The celing may not be super high, but, the risk is low. He'll be an MLB starter, its just a question of where.
Ceiling: Solid 12-15 win, 180+ IP per year #3 MLB pitcher (Kyle Lohse)
Floor: Decent #5 MLB SP (Erik Stults)