New York Mets Trade Gabriel Ynoa to Orioles
The New York Mets traded one of their top pitching prospects in Gabriel Ynoa to the Baltimore Orioles for cash considerations. The move opens up a 40-man roster spot for recently signed Fernando Salas. What did the Orioles get in Ynoa?
One of the New York Mets’ better pitching prospects is on the move.
orioles acquire young pitcher gabriel ynoa from mets for cashArticle continues below ...
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 10, 2017
The move comes with some criticism. The Mets may have been able to get more (which they likely could have). They may have moved the wrong arm.
Either way, it is a good move for each team.
The Mets needed to clear room on the 40-man roster with the recent signing of Fernando Salas. The Orioles got a promising young arm with the Mets dealing from a position of depth and strength.
Ynoa ranked amongst the Mets’ top 20 prospects by most pundits. He had been a starter throughout his minor league career. He primarily came out of the bullpen in his big league debut this past season.
The right-hander has the kind of frame that scouts love, standing at six-foot-two and 205 pounds. His fastball hits in the mid-90s, but normally comes across in the 93 range. He has a strong changeup as a secondary offering, but his slider is a bit behind and his curve is behind that. Should he harness that command of that third pitch, Ynoa has a real chance to be in the Orioles rotation as soon as 2018.
Ynoa became known for his control. As he reached the higher levels of minor league ball, his strikeouts per nine diminished every season (5.70 in 2014 to 4.84 in 2015 to 4.55 last year). His walk rates stayed relatively the same, with one of the best walks per nine rates in the minors (1.5 per nine over 795 career minor league innings).
More from Call to the Pen
His AAA debut in Las Vegas last year had mixed results. On the one hand, posting a 3.97 ERA in the Pacific Coast League is an impressive feat for a debut. He struggled with the long ball, something that seems to haunt him. Ynoa – who allowed 46 home runs the past three seasons – was able to keep the ball on the ground behind a 1.32 ground out to fly out rate. That could help him in Baltimore, where J.J. Hardy and Manny Machado could make him more effective with their stellar play on the left side of the infield.
He reached the big leagues and made three starts in 10 appearances. Aside from an inflated ERA, his numbers weren’t all bad. Ynoa struck out 17 over 18.1 innings, walking seven. His ERA (6.38) is a bit frightening at first glance, but his 2.60 FIP suggests he may have been a bit unlucky. He has always been hittable throughout his career (a .266 batting average against), and that showed in Queens as he allowed 26 hits.
Ynoa’s strikeouts have diminished largely in part due to his confidence in his entire arsenal. He commands the zone instead of attacking it, but a renewed faith in a seemingly annually improving ground ball rate allows him to pitch to contact. That is likely the cause of his high hit totals, but a 3.36 ERA suggests he knows how to get out of jams (or gets extremely lucky).
The problem is that he lacks overpowering stuff and consistency in his secondary pitches. He could get eaten alive in the bigs. While last year’s numbers suggest he wasn’t good as a reliever, it is also fair to point out that it was the first time he was thrown into that situation. Ynoa’s stuff may be better in smaller doses. Perhaps a bullpen role is more suited for him.
The Orioles now have a solid pitching prospect. More importantly, Ynoa has one option left. Baltimore now has time to experiment with the young righty. Either way, they made a nice haul for seemingly nothing.