Welcome to this week’s edition of Mets Minors Boom or Bust. Today, we’ll be focusing the spotlight on Savannah Sand Gnats starting pitcher, Gabriel Ynoa. The 20-year-old Dominican led the South Atlantic League in wins, and finished the regular season with a 15-4 record, 2.72 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 106 strikeouts in 135.2 innings pitched. He earned the honor of being the South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Year, and was instrumental in Savannah’s Game 1 win over Augusta, helping the Sand Gnats move on to the Championship Series, starting tomorrow night. Now, let’s get on to the debate:
There is not much to dislike about the season Gabriel Ynoa has logged in Savannah. The 20-year old right-hander has shown the poise and pitch command of a much older pitcher. Ynoa leads all Met pitchers at any level in wins with 15 and has walked only 1.1 batters per nine innings in over 135 innings of work. That’s uncanny. A 2.72 ERA and 7 strikeouts per 9 innings round out an incredible season of Ynoa on the hill. This one’s a no brainer. Verdict: Boom.
Ynoa doesn’t strike out a ton of guys, but his pinpoint control more than makes up for it. This year in Savannah, he has walked just 1.1 batters per nine innings while striking out seven. With a low-90s fastball that could add a few ticks on the gun as he gets older, and a good changeup, Ynoa could start moving up the levels quicker next year. This season, he has a 2.72 ERA in 135.2 innings pitched. The home park he plays in may have to do in part with some of those numbers, but his 3.11 ERA on the road is still impressive, especially considering he’s a little younger than his competition. The 2009 signee has a very good chance to end up in an MLB rotation some day as a fourth or fifth starter. Verdict: Boom.
Just looking at Gabriel’s stats and not having the privilege of seeing him pitch, he definitely has potential to be a big time pitcher. From being signed so young with the Mets at 17, I like the progression he has made so far in the minors. He pitched well in Rookie ball but then turned it up a notch at Brooklyn last season. This season with the Sand Gnats, Gabriel has really put himself on the map with a 15-4 record and leading his team into the playoffs; I feel his stock has risen tremendously. I see great things in his immediate future and I look forward to seeing if he will be rewarded a promotion to St. Lucie next season. The Mets have done well in their farm system with the young arms they have, and I see Gabriel as another player the Mets will be anxious to have on their roster sooner than later. Anything is possible, but I like the steps he has taken in a short period of time. At 20, his future is bright. Verdict: Boom.
I agree with everything these gentlemen before me have said. I’m not going to talk about the numbers again, because by now, you’ve seen them. Once Rainy Lara got promoted to St. Lucie, it was Ynoa’s rotation to lead, and man did he do a great job of it. His low walk numbers and moderate strikeout rates remind me of another one of his fellow Dominicans that has made his way through the Mets minors system: Rafael Montero. Now in Triple-A, it seems as though scouts and talent evaluators are projecting his ceiling as a number three starter, likely as a four or five. I see the same thing for Ynoa at this point. He’ll gain a little more speed on his fastball as he matures, but it’s going to be his control that will get him to the majors. Every team could use a starter at the end of their rotation with a good feel of the strike zone; he would round out a rotation, and would give the bullpen a rest (averaged 6+ IP per start in 2013). As long as he keeps his control, he’ll find a way to the majors. If what he’s done since signing with the Mets is any indication, that will continue happening. Verdict: Boom.
It’s only natural to develop attachments to players that might not be the best around — but there’s something about them that you just appreciate. In a similar vein, I often find myself attached to prospects who might not be the best in the world, but there’s a lot to like about them for one reason or another. Well, it’s a known fact that Gabriel Ynoa is my guy because I think he’s got the complete package as a pitcher. He’s got great stuff, good control, good poise, a pitcher’s frame…yeah, there are reasons he isn’t touted as the next Wheeler, but he did a lot to convince people that he’ll be a useful part of any rotation down the line. He won 15 games during the regular season, tops in the Mets organization, while snagging an award for most outstanding SAL Pitcher. His home/road splits are important, considering Historic Grayson is an offensive dead zone, but his road era is only 3.15 — still solid. The best part about this is that he is merely 20 years old. I see bright things for his future. Verdict: Boom.
What do you think the future holds for Gabriel Ynoa? Let us know in the comments section, and remember to follow us at MetsMinors.net for the more comprehensive coverage of the Mets minor league system.