The Mets boast a quartet of Dominican arms who rank among the top-15 prospects in the organization. Jeurys Familia, Rafael Montero, Luis Mateo and Domingo Tapia are off to strong starts. And with Rainy Lara and Gabriel Ynoa pitching well in Savannah, the core of young, Dominican arms will only continue to grow.
Video(s) after the jump
Lara is pitching well in his first taste of full season baseball. With a 5.00 K/BB rate, his first three starts have built on a strong 2012 in short season Brooklyn.
The right-hander worked off an 89-91 mph fastball with sink. With a low 3/4 arm slot, Lara is deceptive. However, he short arms the ball in the back of his delivery and then releases the ball with effort. The violence in Lara’s delivery leaves me thinking the bullpen will be his final home.
Lara’s primary breaking pitch is a Frisbee slider at 79-81 mph. The below average pitch is thrown often, but won’t fool more advanced hitters. The lack of movement is due to his releasing the pitch with his palm facing up. If Lara can learn to throw the slider like a fastball and snap his wrist at the point of release, the pitch would sharpen.
At 80-82 mph, Lara’s changeup shows promise. His release mimics the fastball well and late sink caused opposing hitters to swing over the pitch. In game situations, Lara should use it more instead of forcing the slider.
The body types are different, but Lara’s arsenal is reminiscent of organization-mate Armando Rodriguez when he passed through the South Atlantic League. Today, Rodriguez is in Triple-A and on the 40-man roster.
Lara is not an impact talent, but has a Major League future if he remains healthy. Look for him to become an up-and-down guy who sticks around forever due to command and feel for a changeup.
Another Mets righty picking up where he left off in Brooklyn is Gabriel Ynoa. Through four starts, his 2.26 FIP and a 3.17 K/BB are impressive — Especially for a pitcher whose 20th birthday is next month.
Against Savannah, Ynoa sat 91-92 with his fastball, touching 93 mph. With sink and a sling shot delivery, Ynoa is deceptive and his length gives the impression of the ball exploding on an opposing hitter.
Plus, he’s not a max effort pitcher which speaks to durability and future health.
In Brooklyn, J.D. Sussman had Ynoa up to 95 mph, so expect even more from the young right-hander as the weather warms.
Plus, his body lacks muscular development. As Ynoa fills out, the potential is there for him to add even more velocity.
Ynoa mixed in a 72-74 mph curveball which improved throughout the appearance. To begin the game, Ynoa wrapped his wrist when throwing the pitch tipping it off. A big breaker with little bite, I was ready to write the pitch off as a well below average.
Then, Ynoa settled in and the curveball improved. Later in the outing, the hump disappeared and the offering added a touch of late bite. By the end of the appearance, it was more of a fringe average curveball than the pitch I was ready to pan early on.
At 82-84 mph, I came away impressed with Ynoa’s feel for a changeup. The pitch featured late sink and tail in to right-handed hitters. It was easily his best off-speed offering, projecting as an above average pitch or more.
Lara is a decent pitching prospect, but Ynoa is the gem of the Savannah pitching staff. Look for the 19-year old to vault up Mets mid-season prospect lists and into the top eight overall by season’s end.
As a prospect, I’d prefer only Brandon Nimmo on the Savannah roster. With continued development, Ynoa projects as a mid-rotation starter — Especially if the curveball stabilizes as an average pitch.
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