The next New York Yankees prospect that we will be discussing is one that was in the news a couple of months back when the pandemic started. That prospect would be the talented right-hander from Cuba, Denny Larrondo. Larrondo made headlines when it was reported that he had tested positive for COVID-19 back in March. By all accounts, Larrondo has made a full recovery, so we can start talking about the kind of player that he is on the field. Larrondo stands 6’2 and weighs about 180 pounds. He has a very nice frame for a pitcher. He has a very quick arm that generates a fastball in the mid-90’s. He compliments his fastball with a curveball that shows great potential and a developing changeup. After being signed by the Yankees out of his native Cuba, Larrondo made his professional debut last year in the Gulf Coast League.
First year in the Yankees organization
Pitching for the GCL Yankees (East & West), Larrondo started in nine games, and he appeared in relief in three. Larrondo pitched a total of 32.1 innings last year and had an ERA of 5.01 with a WHIP of 1.21. While those numbers are not ideal, there are a couple of really good numbers if you dive into his season. He held opponents to an average of .171 and he didn’t give up one home run in those 32.1 innings. Larrondo has a very raw arm at this young stage of his career, but he is already showing a lot of promise. He’s a hard guy to square up when you’re at the plate. He’s got two plus pitches already with one coming along nicely. It’ll still take years for him to fully develop into someone who is major league ready, but I’m very encouraged with what I’ve seen and read about Denny Larrondo.
Development for Larrondo
Being young and inexperienced does have it’s drawbacks with the main one being control. Larrondo had poor numbers overall last year due to the amount of guys he walked. In those 32.1 innings, Larrondo walked 21 batters and hit 10. Almost every inning he was allowing someone on base for free. As he continues to develop, I believe that control will get ironed out. I like his frame, and I think the Yankees will continue to develop him over the next few years as a starter. I think that changeup that he’s shown will develop into a solid third offering. If it doesn’t get to the level it needs to be as a major league starter, Larrondo projects very nicely as a bullpen arm with a tightly spun curveball and a fastball that sits in the mid-90’s with life.