New York Yankees prospect seems to have finally turned the corner

New York Yankees
Dec 7, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Yankees logo during the MLB winter meetings at Gaylord Opryland Resort . Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

For years, Luis Medina was one of the most promising arms in the New York Yankees‘ system. Yet, he was continually held back by a well-below average walk rate. His control problems prevented his high strikeout rate (usually higher than 9.00 K/9) from having a positive effect and from keep ascending through the ranks.

The 2019 season started in a similar way for Medina: lots of strikeouts, but with a boatload of walks. In 93.0 Low-A ball innings, he had a 6.00 ERA (4.72 FIP) with an 11.13 K/9 and a 6.48 BB/9. However, in his last six turns there, he finally found some consistency with his release point and cut his walks to a 3.09 BB/9 mark.

That development gained him a promotion to High-A. In two starts there, he notched a 10.13 K/9, a 2.53 BB/9, and a 0.84 ERA. Then 2020 arrived, and the pandemic robbed him of some valuable development time in the minors. Instead, he was in the Yankees’ alternate training site.

The Yankees assigned him to winter ball and he’s thriving

In an attempt to have Medina pitch some competitive innings, the New York Yankees assigned him to Indios de Mayaguez in Puerto Rico to play some winter ball. He had a phenomenal debut on December 11, with three shutout innings with six whiffs.

Last week, in his second turn, he was even more dominant, throwing four scoreless frames while recording nine of his 12 outs via the strikeout. He only conceded a pair of hits and did not issue a walk in the outing.

Overall with Mayaguez, Medina has a 15/2 K/BB ratio in seven frames, with no runs and three hits allowed.

Now, the Yankees have a legitimate pitching prospect rather than a thrower than doesn’t know where his pitches are going. If he manages to show that the control gains he made in 2019 and 2020 are legit, Luis Medina can see the major leagues in late 2021 and be a major contributor in 2022.

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