The New York Yankees watched the previously-erratic Luis Medina take a massive step forward in 2021, but it’s possible the electric righty pushed things a bit too far by heading back to Winter League.
Medina’s made a few appearances in the Dominican Winter League this offseason, and things haven’t gone as planned — and, most unfortunately, his control bug has returned.
You might remember that, prior to last season, Medina began his breakout 2021 in a different Winter League — the Puerto Rican Winter League, where he struck out 32 men across just four starts.
This offseason hasn’t been the same story. After an excellent burst in his very first start, Medina has been bitten by a familiar foe.
Now, Medina’s numbers have flatlined after Monday night’s appearance.
The good? Just two hits in four innings, along with six strikeouts. The bad? Six walks, and five earned runs attached to his ledger.
Yankees top prospect Luis Medina is struggling in the Dominican Winter League.
Medina has never been as polished as fellow top prospect Luis Gil, who made his very impressive Yankees debut in early August while the rest of the rotation was felled with COVID. Instead, the 6-1 righty (who plays taller) has used his phenomenal curveball as his calling card, only recently discovering last year where it was going most of the time.
Medina’s now firmly position in the Yankees’ Top 10 prospects list after an exceptional season split between High-A and Double-A. After a 2019 season marked by a 5.47 ERA and 70 walks in 103.2 innings, he disappeared during the pandemic-canceled year and resurfaced as a more polished pitcher, walking 60 in 106.1 innings but finding much more success (133 strikeouts, 3.39 ERA, a Futures Game appearance, and a .217 batting average against).
Is Medina a finished product? Definitely not; that walk total’s still far from elite. But he took some strides forward and made it work, even though the same results haven’t translated to his winter campaign.
Even through this recent noise, it’s not surprising to see why scouts are so drawn to him. Just … look at this curveball, which makes a 12-to-6 look like a freaking 3-to-6 piece of slop.
Should we be concerned? It’s the smallest of sample sizes, and it’s not like Medina really tossed his control issues aside during the regular season, either.
Bottom line, though, it might be time to cut his winter short. 2022 will be a huge year for the righty, whether he spends it in the Yankees’ system or with the Oakland A’s.