Another pitcher temporarily went down this week, as the New York Yankees placed Luis Severino on the COVID-19 list and promoted reliever Ryan Weber from Triple-A … only for the shuffle to get un-shuffled following Thursday night’s game.
Regardless of the Severino “comeback,” the pitching staff remains thin, especially the bullpen. And truth be told, the rotation is going to need a bit of a rest at some point. Severino, Jameson Taillon and Nestor Cortes Jr. all need to be preserved down the stretch because of their innings limitations in recent seasons.
Help could arrive at the trade deadline, but there are also a number of attractive prospects in the Yankees system who might be able to help. Fans have already seen Clarke Schmidt, Ron Marinaccio and JP Sears do good work, but are there others that could assist?
Some names like Ken Waldichuk and Hayden Wesneski have dominated the headlines, but have we forgotten about Luis Medina?!
Medina has been among the Yankees’ top pitching prospects because of his electric stuff, but the struggles with his command have been well-documented, which has contributed to his slower-than-expected rise.
But now, through 11 starts at Double-A this season, the right-hander owns a 3.38 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 56 strikeouts across 42.2 innings. So far, this is shaping up to be his best season in the minor leagues.
Is Luis Medina on track to hit the Yankees MLB roster?
Is an MLB promotion in the cards for 2022? Most likely not. Walks are still a bit of an issue for him (5.1 per nine innings and 24 overall in 11 starts), but the control is clearly improving and the strikeouts continue to be there. Also, 0.6 homers per nine innings, which is right in line with 0.7 for his career! Great sign.
His high-90s fastball has always been the main attraction, but now he’s mixing in his curveball and changeup with much more control, leading to dominant outings like the one above. He’s largely been up-and-down most of this year, but since May 21 he’s allowed just six earned runs in five starts (24.2 innings).
It’s always easy to become enthralled by a promising outing that looks beyond dominant, which is part of the excitement factor of following prospects. Medina has always provided highlight-reel potential, though — it’s just typically come in spurts rather than in consistent fashion.
If this is the first true glimpse of consistency, either he’ll have a more detailed trajectory with the 2023 Yankees or he could be trade bait at this year’s deadline. Either way, his progress will be a positive development.