Who’s Next? The Top Pitching Prospects Left in the System, #6 - Gabriel Ynoa | Astromets Mind

Friday, July 3, 2015

Who’s Next? The Top Pitching Prospects Left in the System, #6 - Gabriel Ynoa

Image from Zimbio

Re-ranking the Top starting pitchers within the Mets farm system now that Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard have graduated.

            Coming into the 2015 season, the Mets farm system was a consensus Top-5 system in the majors thanks to some high-end talent at the top, but they’ve graduated several top prospects, including their top-2 starting pitching prospects, and figure to take a hit in those rankings this offseason. That’s not a bad thing though, because it means that the Mets are starting to improve from within, which is the purpose of a farm system. Also, it means that the door is open for the next crop of prospects to emerge, and the Mets still have some starting pitching prospects with major league upside worth keeping an eye on.

            For this list, I have limited myself to full-season starters, because we still know relatively little about the short-season pitchers, and those guys are far from helping away. Notably absent from this list is Marcos Molina, because he’s too much of an unknown at this point. He would easily rank among the top 2-3 starters left if healthy, and he’d probably be #1 if he could pitch like he did last year in Brooklyn without the scary mechanics – everyone who saw him last year said the same two things: he has great stuff, but his mechanics are big red flags. But, he’s not pitching right now because of a forearm strain, and he’s not having Tommy John surgery either, so what are the Mets getting when he returns? Will he have the same mechanics? If so, why should we expect him to stay healthy? If not, will his stuff be as good? Either way, this is looking like a lost season for Molina, and we still have to wait-and-see if this injury carries over to next season.

Gabriel Ynoa

            Ynoa has been one of the bigger disappointments in the farm system to this point, but he’s showing signs of coming out of it lately, with a 1.17 ERA/.426 OPS allowed over his last 4 starts (30.2 IP). Although he’s struggled this year, the scouting report on him hasn’t really changed, and I don’t think we should dismiss him after one bad half. He still throws a low-90’s fastball with some run, he still has a slider that needs work, he still has a nice changeup, and he still can get all 3 pitches into the strike zone with consistency – it looked like he was throwing an effective curveball in his last start, although it could’ve just been his slider getting slurvy.
He’s had a few wild games, and hasn’t been inducing swinging strikes, which is a bad combination anywhere. Considering his control problems earlier this year, I was wondering if he might be hiding an injury, but the Mets kept running him out there, and now he’s only walked 3 batters in his last 7 starts (1.6% walk rate). An alternative to the injury theory is that the Mets could have had him working on something, either mechanically or with respect to his approach, that we just haven’t heard about because he’s a minor leaguer.
Ynoa has already been passed on the Mets starting pitching depth chart by several prospects this year, but there isn’t much else coming up behind him, so I don’t think a move to the pen is coming this year. He’s still ahead of guys in the 51s rotation like Tyler Pill, Matthew Bowman, Rainy Lara, and Darin Gorski, and he’s probably still next in line if a spot opens in that rotation. While he’s durable enough to start, his lack of an out pitch will leave him relying on his defense too often, so it’s hard to see him as more than a backend of the rotation starter. Although I haven’t heard him there this year, his fastball has been clocked as high as 96-97 in the past, so there’s always the chance he gains a few ticks in a reliever’s role, and a mid-90’s fastball with his control and changeup should be a useful pen arm for the Mets.

From 2015 (with GIFs): April 11, April 17, May 1, May 20, May 26, June 16, June 22, June 27

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