Height: 6' 2" Weight: 160 lb
Acquired: 2009 International Signing, $150,000? Bonus, La Vega, Dominican Republic
2014: (A+/AA) 11-4, 4.07 ERA, 148.0 IP, 6.4 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 1.311 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: (Rk) 2-3, 3.21 ERA, 56.0 IP, 4.3 K/9, 0.6 BB/9, 1.089 WHIP
2010: (DsL) 5-3, 1.99 ERA, 72.1 IP, 4.4 K/9, 1.0 BB/9, 0.982 WHIP
When evaluating prospects, there are three ways to project their future usefulness. You could make your ceiling projections based on the tools that you view and the flashes of brilliance that he may show. If you don't see those plus tools, does that mean you write him off? No not at all...Sometimes guys produce results that force you to change your style of thinking. Gabriel Ynoa was one of the those guys over the past few years.
Year after year, Ynoa has consistently been one of the most control oriented minor league arms in the entirety of minor league baseball. In 5 minor league seasons, 488 innings pitched, 1,979 batters face, he has only walked 63 or 3.2%. That is an absurdly low number, one that can skyrocket you through the lower levels of the minor league system. However, sometimes, it doesn't pay to throw so many strikes. Especially when you reach the upper levels of AA and AAA. Ynoa found this out the hard way when he was promoted to AA Binghamton last season. AA and AAA batters are more selective, have a better knowledge of the strike zone, and aren't "caught looking" as frequently as A ball and Rk league hitters.
Once in Binghamton, Ynoa saw he already average K rate plummet from 7.0 to a below average 5.7 per 9 innings. Instead of K's, Ynoa was giving up more hits as his H per 9 innings rate jumped from 8.2 to 10.1. This is not a good sign nor is it a sign of future success at the MLB level. Last season only 2 SP had K rates below 6.0 and were able to produce ERA's below 3.00, Henderson Alvarez and Doug Fister. Both are considered to have "over-achieved" when you look at their historical numbers. Now this doesn't mean that Ynoa is destined to be a career minor leaguer. This is one case of a Met SP who has had a lengthy career as a low K, low BB, "let my defense do the work", his name is Bartolo Colon. Ynoa has much better stuff than Colon and if Colon can do it....then Ynoa certainly can as well.
Luckily for Ynoa, he still has some projection to him. At 6' 2" and 160 lbs, Ynoa still has room to add bulk and velocity to his 91-93 mph fastball. Doing so, when combined with his superb control and advanced change-up, could make Ynoa the next top right hander to come out of the farm. MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo and Baseball Prospectus' Chris Mellen both seem to agree that Ynoa is destined to be a Top 100 prospect as well. Before we anointed him as the successor to the Syndergaard's top right handed prospect throne, he needs to conquer AA first. Something I do not forsee him having trouble with a second time around.
Ceiling: #3 MLB SP (Tim Hudson)
Floor: MLB Flex RP
Anticipated Assignment: (AA) Binghamton Starting Rotation.