Yankees pitching prospect showed signs of breakout in Winter League


Yankees top pitching prospect Luis Medina beasted this winter.

Don’t look now, but one of the toolsiest Yankees prospects might have found a semblance of his sea legs in the Puerto Rican Winter League.

Out of all the Yanks’ most heralded arms, it was fair to be nervous about the lack of a minor-league season having a pronounced impact on Luis Medina, ranked 11th on New York’s Top Prospect list, per MLB Pipeline.

After all, the last time we saw Medina, he was a hulking wild man, unable to translate his 6-1 frame and firepowered fastball into anything consistent at the Single-A level. His control was a plainly discernible issue, racking up 70 walks in 103.2 innings pitched, which paired nicely with his 127 strikeouts.

Clearly, there was something to be unlocked, but how was he supposed to do it without 30 starts and dedicated instruction in ’20?

Somehow, some way, Medina must’ve found a bit of what he was looking for this past calendar year anyway. Because the Luis Medina that appeared in the Puerto Rican league this winter was a far more idealized version, and he might just rocket up prospect lists in the next few weeks.

So, all Medina did was strike batters out at a remarkable rate? Got up, rolled out of bed, and struck out batters? Got it.

The walk rate equates to 3.33 per nine innings (ridiculously small sample size), which does register as an improvement on his 6.11 mark in 2019. There isn’t enough data there to claim in any way, shape or form that Medina is over his bugaboo, but the strikeout total is jaw-dropping enough to make you optimistic about his 2021 debut.

In case you’d rather see Medina than read about him, just know that, based on his pitching motion, you’ve kind of already seen him before.

Take seven inches off the top and you’ve got Dellin Betances, who was also a walks-too-many starter throughout his minor league career (to a similarly absurd degree).

I don’t think the Yankees would argue with reincarnating this particular All-Star in 2021 and beyond.