Yankees: Could Luis Medina be a weapon for the pitching staff in 2021?
Luis Medina may be far off from being among the Yankees’ top pitching prospects, but he’s certainly gotten the most professional exposure this offseason by playing in both the Puerto Rican Winter League and the Serie del Caribe. That’s a lot of exposure for the 21-year-old.
In fact, it’s exponentially more than what Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt, Luis Gil, Yoendrys Gomez and Alexander Vizcaino have gotten, and they’re all rank ahead of Medina in the Yankees’ farm system, according to MLB.com. Does that give the right-hander some sort of an inside track heading into 2021?
Medina has largely struggled in the Yankees’ farm system, logging a very bad 5.51 ERA and 1.65 WHIP across four seasons and four levels. However, his numbers this offseason have been wildly impressive and his stuff has looked like it’s ready for the bigs.
After allowing just one run across 16.2 innings of work in four PRWL starts, Medina won Pitcher of the Year. Now, he’s looking good against legitimate MLB talent in the Serie del Caribe.
Despite getting knocked around a bit against the Dominican Republic, which sports a team full of big leaguers, Medina bounced back and shut down Mexico and got Puerto Rico a much-needed 2-1. He twirled five innings of one-run ball, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out four on Friday.
Though he looked really good in his first two frames against the Dominican Republic, he eventually gave up five runs over his next five outs. But what were fans to expect? He has no experience above High-A and is going up against a lineup featuring Robinson Cano, Johan Camargo, Melky Cabrera, Juan Lagares, and others.
But the fact he’s been able to hold his own in some sense has scouts buzzing about his potential as a top-100 prospect in MLB. Does this mean the Yankees could potentially use him as a weapon next season now that he’s showing them this?
Maybe a late-season arm to provide another fearful element to the bullpen? Maybe a middle relief option in case things go awry or there’s an injury of sorts? Why not? He’s obviously making strides, and if he’s able to continue on this trajectory in the minors, he should hit Double-A with ease, which would help expedite his promotion to the big-league roster.
Given that the Yankees are going to need bullpen help following the losses of Jonathan Holder and Adam Ottavino, don’t be surprised if there’s a role needed to be filled later in the year once Aaron Boone’s unit is taking shape.