In case you were beginning to wonder if Ynoa was some kind of myth, like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster, he finally threw his first official pitch a little less than two years after signing. The 18-year-old Dominican retired nine of the 11 batters he faced, including four by way of the strikeout, and we can finally stop talking about what he can be, and start talking about what he is – and yes, he really does exist.
If you missed the most recent episode of the podcast, you missed a fascinating discussion with Tom Gillespie of MLB International on the strides baseball is making in Europe. One of the poster boys of this progress is Kepler, a German who received $800,000 to sign last spring. Tom discussed how Kepler's U.S. connection (his mother is American) helped exposed him to baseball, and how the academies hopefully prepared him to at least hold his own in the Gulf Coast League this summer. In his pro debut, the 17-year-old did more than hold his own.
Just when it looked like he was cooling off, the 2007 first-round pick has gone a bit nuts again, going 12-for-20 in his last five games with four doubles and a pair of bombs. With a batting line of .355/.421/.704 in 52 games for the Naturals, he's been one of the best hitters in the minors this year, and could get a real look next spring.
One of the biggest prizes in last year's international market, Sanchez signed for $3 million last summer, and the Yankees have waited nearly a year for his name to show up in a box score. The 17-year-old didn't take long to fill up his stat sheet with a grand slam in his second plate appearance as a pro, and the Pirates wasted no time testing his strong, but at times inaccurate throwing arm, as they ran five times on him, getting caught once. Sanchez has some special tools for a backstop, and one of the higher ceilings among position players in the system.
Others Of Note:
- Lars Anderson, 1B, Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket): 0-for-5, K. 1-for-34 slump (wow) has dropped Triple-A line to .197/.308/.338.
- J.P. Arencibia, C, Blue Jays (Triple-A Las Vegas): 3-for-5, 2B, HR (15), 2 R, 2 RBI, K. Becoming an MLU regular; 10 home runs in last 21 games and .375/.420/.797 mark in June.
- Josh Bell, 3B, Orioles (Triple-A Norfolk): 2-for-4, 2 2B, R, RBI, K. Might be finally finding a real groove; .291/.375/.491 in 15 June games.
- Tyler Chatwood, RHP, Angels (Double-A Arkansas): 2.2 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 3 BB, 1 K. Undersized righty with outstanding sinker had 1.77 ERA in Cal League; Texas League debut not so good.
- Aaron Crow, RHP, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 5 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 5 BB, 2 K. Not all news is good in Royals land, as '09 first-rounder has allowed 28 runs over 18 2/3 innings in his last five starts.
- Matt LaPorta, 1B/OF, Indians (Triple-A Columbus): 3-for-4, RBI. 21-for-51 (.412) run since demotion gives some reason for optimism.
- Matt Lipka, SS, Braves (Rookie-level GCL Braves): 2-for-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI. Nice debut for Braves' top pick; great athleticism and makeup.
- Nick Longmire, OF, Cardinals (Short-season Batavia): 4-for-5, 2B, HR (2), R, 4 RBI, SB. Fifth-round pick has great tools; but rarely performed up to expectations in college.
- Carlos Perez, C, Blue Jays (Short-season Auburn): 1-for-5, HR (1), R, 4 RBI, K. Feature in yesterday's Ten Pack; responds with home run.
- Yorman Rodriguez, OF, Reds (Rookie-level Billings): 3-for-5, R, 3 RBI. Still loaded with tools; still just 17 years old.
- Tony Sanchez, C, Pirates (High-A Bradenton): 2-for-2, HR (4), R, RBI, SB. .314/.414/.454 in season that's seen him play through a number on minor injuries.
- J.B. Shuck, OF, Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi): 2-for-4, R, RBI. Grinding outfielder who gets the most from limited tools is 26-for-54 (.481) in last 13 games and .326/.399/.395 overall.
- Donavan Tate, OF, Padres (Rookie-level AZL Padres): 0-for-5, 2 K. Pro debut for last year's third overall pick.
- Cory Vaughn, OF, Mets (Short-season Brooklyn): 2-for-3, HR (1), 3 R, 2 RBI, BB, K. Fourth-round pick and son of Greg with first big pro game.
- Kolbrin Vitek, 2B/3B Red Sox (Short-season Lowell): 3-for-3, 2B, BB. First-round pick was 1-for-9 in first three games, now he's hitting .333.