Miguel Yajure opened some eyes last season but he's doing it even more in 2016.

TAMPA, FL – After coming over from the Dominican Summer League where he had a very solid professional debut season, right-handed pitcher Miguel Yajure has quickly made a name for himself in the 2016 season so far.

Although this is Yajure’s first year in the United States, it is certainly not his first time on the mound. Originally from Venezuela, Yajure is still working on acclimating to his new environment off of the diamond but on it is where GCL Yankees pitching coach Elvys Quezada remains confident Yajure will pitch himself onto the prospect map sooner than most realize.

“I believe he’s educated and competitive on the mound,” Quezada said. “Yeah, of course he wants to do good, but he’s confident that he can do it.”

Although Yajure has only pitched 19.2 innings so far in the Gulf Coast League, he commanded the Dominican Summer League in 2015 with 36 strikeouts in 57 innings, a 1.42 ERA, and a 1.30 WHIP. This success in the Dominican Summer League is what led him to the Gulf Coast League here in Tampa and so far he's been even better, posting an 18 to one strikeout to walk ratio through his first four games.

Moving forward, Yajure said he plans to use this season to build on the development he was able to gain over the summer. Quezada said he has been focusing on controlling his delivery and his command in the strike zone. Aside from his relentless persistence, Yajure backs his stuff up with strong work ethic and a 92 mph fastball.

Yajure is quickly becoming known in Tampa for his changeup, which is the pitch he said he feels most confident with. Although he relies on the changeup for now, he continues to constantly work on the command of his fastball, as well as the rest of his pitch plan.

“I need to control my fastball better,” Yajure said through the help of a translator. “I want it to be a perfect pitch for me, so I’m really working on it. Also, sometimes I can bury my delivery so I’m just trying to work on becoming more consistent. ”

Yajure said his transition into the United States in the Gulf Coast League has had its ups and downs, but he was ready and determined to take it to the next level.

“The heat is a little different, but being on the mound is the same there as it is here,” Yajure said. “You have a job to do and that’s throwing strikes.”

Quezada said Yajure has shown a vast amount of improvement on and off the field since he started working with him. He said Yajure has started off slowly in Extended Spring Training but ultimately finished off strong.

“He’s been consistent with his approach.” Quezada said. “He wants to continue to focus on that. That’s what you need players to hone in on, their attention to detail.”

Throughout Yajure’s life he said he always maintained a lot of discipline in everything he did. This quality is what attracted him to the Yankees from the beginning.
“I feel like I’ve been performing better every time,” Yajure said. “I’ve learned to control my delivery, which means more command and more strikeouts.”

Although Yajure has only been in the Gulf Coast League for a short while, he is quickly getting adjusted.  So far he has posted a 0.76 WHIP, held batters to a .194 batting average, and posted a 2.75 ERA. 

In 2015, the 6-foot-1 pitcher started his Dominican Summer League career off with an 0-2 start, but fortunately his coaches were able to recognize this record didn’t portray what kind of pitcher Yajure could grow to be.  While in the Dominican Summer League, Yajure worked 14 games and allowed only one home run. Yajure said throughout this season he plans to continue diligently work on his game and grow into his new role in Tampa.

“As far as who he is and where he is in his development I think he’s on a good route, ” Quezada said. “I think highly of the kid. He has a high ceiling in my eyes.”

Although Quezada said he thinks Yajure is a great addition to the team, he also thinks Yajure has a lot of room for improvement. Areas in which the GCL coaching staff would like to see him improve include developing his consistency, controlling his fastball more and improving his command on the mound.

“He needs to focus on every little move,” Quezada said. “He needs to really, really take to it and understand that he’s doing that for his game. You’re trying to recreate something so that it can be easily done on the field.”

Yajure said he’s been feeling good about himself lately and that he's looking forward to the continued progression.

“He’s already a prospect in my eyes,” Quezada said. “It’s because of his tenacity on the mound, his ability, his work ethic and his constant yearning for knowledge.”

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