New York Yankees‘ pitcher Luis Medina may have lost a year of development on paper due to the coronavirus pandemic and the cancelation of the minor league campaign. However, he made strides at the team’s alternate training site and had a stellar season in Puerto Rico playing winter ball.
Medina, who pitched for Indios de Mayaguez at the Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente (LBPRC), was crowned this weekend as the Pitcher of the Year in the Caribbean circuit, a testimony of how dominant he was during his stint there.
The lanky right-hander, currently 21 years old, was a force to be reckoned with in Puerto Rico, and the Yankees are absolutely delighted with his performance. Over 16.2 innings, he only handed six walks, which is extremely encouraging progress given his past issues throwing consistent strikes.
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Additionally, and maybe the most impressive part of his statistical profile in the winter league, he struck out a whopping 32 hitters in those 16.2 frames. That’s an insane strikeout rate for the youngster.
Medina was also named to the All Star team in the Puerto Rican league.
The hurler is on the 40 man despite not yet sniffing Double-A. The 2021 season will be big for the Yankees’ farmhand, as he will try to prove that the control gains he made over the last two years can stick in the long haul.
For years, Medina was stopped from advancing through the Yankees’ system largely because of himself and his control issues. Before 2019, he hadn’t had a BB/9 in a season lower than 5.48.
For most of the 2019 campaign, it was more of the same: he was in Low-A ball, and finished with a 6.48 BB/9 there in 93 frames. But if you look closely, during his last six starts, his BB/9 was a pretty 3.09 BB/9. Seeing this, the Yankees tested him for two starts in High-A, where he was excellent: a 10.13 K/9, a 2.53 BB/9, and a 0.84 ERA.
Now, Medina will likely start the 2021 season in High-A. If his control is now average, he can help the Yankees in the bigs by early 2022.