On Thursday the Baltimore Orioles promoted right-handed pitcher Gabriel Ynoa to the major league roster. He was not having a particularly good year in Triple-A (more on that in a moment) but he’s here and he’s a rookie so let’s take a look.
Originally signed by the New York Mets from the Dominican Republic in 2009, Ynoa made the majors last year for the first time and posted a 6.38 ERA in 18 innings for the Mets, though with an interesting 17/7 K/BB. He didn’t fit into the long-term Mets plan however and was sold to the Orioles this pasts February.
Ynoa ranked 14th on the Baltimore Orioles Top 20 prospects for 2017 list, with the following commentary:
14) Gabriel Ynoa, RHP, Grade C+: Age 23, signed out of Dominican Republic back in 2009 by Mets, sold to Orioles on February 10th; succeeded in Vegas pinball machine with 3.97 ERA, 12-5 record, 78/40 K/BB in 154 innings, 1.32 GO/AO; less successful in majors with 6.38 ERA in 18 innings, 17/7 K/BB but 26 hits; fastball 90-95, mixes in slider, curve, and change-up, low strikeout rate in minors is a caution flag but I think his stuff could play higher if used in bullpen. ETA 2017.
Ynoa was not off to a good start with Triple-A Norfolk this year, with a 6.65 ERA in 21.2 innings courtesy of 35 hits allowed, but he did show control with a 14/6 K/BB and was very effective in his last start on April 29th.
More important I think was the positive impression he made with the Orioles brass in spring training: 1.98 ERA in 13.2 innings with a 9/3 K/BB. He pitched well in Triple-A in 2016 so he really doesn’t have much to prove down there.
The scouting profile hasn’t changed much: he has good-enough fastball velocity in the low-90s and he throws strikes, but his secondary arsenal can be inconsistent. Orioles baseball boss Dan Duquette had this to say when Ynoa was acquired:
“Gabe Ynoa is young, strong, durable and talented. Our scouts feel he can develop into a Major League starting pitcher by developing a consistent breaking pitch.”
Duquette’s assessment seems fair to me, though I still believe that Ynoa may ultimately fit best in the pen, where his approach can play up.