Luis Medina, RHP, NYY

Don’t look at the numbers for Luis Medina. Look under the numbers. This will make sense, trust me. Just read on.
Video courtesy of Prospects Live
  • Born: May 3, 1999
  • B/T: Right/Right
  • 6’1″, 175-lbs
  • Drafted by the New York Yankees in 2016 out of the Dominican Republic.

The Numbers

His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year and then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:
That’s a lot of red! But it’s also why I said to ignore the numbers and look under the numbers. Yes, that WHIP is ugly, and that’s partly because he walks the world. This is a young right-hander who has all the talent in the world, but when he rears back, neither Medina nor the batter nor his teammates nor the people in the stands have any idea where that ball is going.

It’s not often you see a K%-BB% of 1%, but when you do you make the sign of the cross and walk swiftly past that cemetery.
Splits? I dunno. He didn’t do well against anyone, but it was uglier against right-handed-hitters.

OK, now we are beginning to get a bit of hope. He was awful in 2017, and he was worse in 2018, and he started out 2019 in the same hole. Then in June he took off, and boy did he take off! He just never stopped improving through the rest of the year.

What happened?

Remember I said we needed to look under the numbers? Here’s what I mean. First, let’s break out 2019 between A-level and High-A:

Aha! Look at High-A! It’s like he’s a great pitcher. Oh, you say, it’s only 11 innings, small sample size, so you can’t prove anything.

Fine, let’s go deeper:
There it is: He was awful in April and May. Then the light turned on, and at that same level he turned the corner. A WHIP of 1.226 ain’t fantastic, but I’ll take it over 2.484 any day of the week and twice on Sunday. His strikeout rate spiked, and, most importantly, the walk rate fell almost in half. The K%-BB% jumped from cemetery level to day in the park level.

Medina started to harness his great talent in the 2nd-half of 2019, and it gives us hope.
A very even spray chart. I could be mean and say batters were hitting it evenly to all parts of the park, but hey, no pull tendencies here.

Looking in the BaseballHQ.com Minor League Baseball Analyst book, we see that Medina has three pitches in his arsenal:

Let’s begin with that fastball. (Taking off my hat in respect.) That near-triple-digit heat coming from a high-3/4 delivery with good life on the ball should be illegal in the low minors. Those poor batters have no chance. Only Medina can hurt himself by walking batters. When you see a +++++ pitch, give a low whistle and nod solemnly.

His curve is a hard curve, but it can be hard and still be separated from his high fastball. It’s second plus pitch in his arsenal, and a pitch that sometimes looks like a slider with two-plane movement.

His changeup is average, but a useful third pitch.

This is the arsenal of a #2 starter in the majors if he can get his walks under control. That’s a big IF, but last year was promising.

The Scouts

Warnings

Please, please, please learn where your pitches are going, Luis! Only you can stop you.

Can he strike out guys at AA at the same rate? Only time will tell, but we might see it later in 2020. That will be a good test.

Conclusion

When you see talent like this, you get interested. The numbers have been bad so far because of the walks, but as I showed above, the deeper numbers started getting good in the 2H of 2019. Will it continue?

In spring training 2020 he faced 19 batters, walking five of them and walking just two, so that’s another encouraging sign.

Look, it’s quite simple for Luis Medina: Control the pitches. Once he does that, look out!

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