The arms just keep coming and coming. The Mets starting pitching rotation is seemingly flawless and may remain that way for some time. Gabriel Ynoa is another young pitcher the Mets have churning in its farm system.
The 21-year-old has just been placed on MLB.com’s top five sleeper prospects list. Ynoa is also ranked as the 15th best prospect in the Mets farm system, which is an impressive feat in itself due to the abundance of talented Mets minor leaguers.
Jonathan Mayo, an MLB.com analyst, recently wrote, “To me, the only way Ynoa doesn't work his way onto the Top 100 is if he pitches his way to the big leagues and graduates off the list.”
“What Ynoa can do is throw strikes,” wrote Mayo. “He walked 1.5 per nine innings across two levels, reaching Double-A, in 2014. And that was a career high. It made Ynoa's career walk rate skyrocket all the way up to 1.2. He made 25 starts in 2014 and walked exactly that many batters, 25. In his Minor League career, Ynoa has issued 63 walks in 86 total games. Everyone realizes how insane that is, right?”
The 160-pound Dominican does not walk people. Last year in the minors, Ynoa went 11-4 with only 25 walks through a 148.1 innings. However, his ERA was higher than optimal at 4.07, but it was only his first year in the minors.
Ynoa is only 21-years-old, which makes him just a year older than myself. Wow, what am I doing with my life?
Without a doubt, Ynoa possesses the most control of any Mets pitcher. And his velocity is only increasing. When he signed with the Mets back in 2009, his fastball hovered around 88 mph. Now he’s consistently throwing 90-94 mph, even touching 95 mph at times.
Ironically, Ynoa’s main problem is ingrained in his ability to throw countless strikes. Ynoa must learn how to strategically throw pitches outside of the zone (up and in, low and away) to trick the opposing batters. It’s important to get hitters off balance and chase out-of-the-zone pitches. Learning how to expand the strike zone will only benefit Ynoa’s game.
His secondary stuff is not good enough where he can depend on it. He throws a very solid change-up and a decent slider, but if he can improve his breaking ball and cause it to whiz past some batters, it could increase his effectiveness at the mound. Who knows? By the time Ynoa is 23 or 24, he may possess the making to serve as a major league starter. However, experts believe Ynoa is not a top of the rotation man, rather a back-end pitcher with a high upside potential.
Paul DePodesta, the vice president of player development and scouting for the Mets, said of Ynoa, “ Each year, as he continues to fill out, the velocity continues to come. I think he’s going to continue to have success. When you’re that aggressive in the strike zone, with good stuff like he has, success is going to follow."
Let’s see if this sleeper pick wakes up and makes a name for himself in an already crowded Mets farm system.