While Jasson Dominguez and Deivi Garcia are seen as the New York Yankees’ top prospects, Luis Medina is the hidden gem.
You’ve heard of Jasson Dominguez, the 16-year-old prospect who has already been compared to Mike Trout and Mickey Mantle. He will be making his debut in spring training this year and there is a lot of excitement around him.
Deivi Garcia made waves last year with his high strikeout performances. He’s been rated as one of the better pitching prospects in the Yankees farm system. He could make his debut in 2020 and help the Yankees win the world series.
However, those two guys are right there, in plain sight. Luis Medina may be the next great New York Yankees prospect, the Evil Empire’s hidden Death Star weapon ready to be unleashed on the entire baseball galaxy.
Luis Medina graded out well, according to Baseball America.
Baseball scouting is on a 20-80 scale, with 20 marking the low-end of the spectrum. Medina has an 80-grade fastball, 70-grade curveball and 55-grade changeup.
So why don’t you hear from him more often? His command is not what it needs to be.
His average grade of 61.25 was the same as Sixto Sanchez and Jesus Luzardo. The difference is both of those pitchers have 60-grade command versus Medina’s 40-grade command.
Medina’s 80-grade fastball has caught the eyes of a lot of people in the Yankees organization. He touches 100 mph consistently and keeps it there throughout the game. Add in his plus curveball and good changeup, and Medina can be nearly unhittable at times.
The fact he has three-plus pitches makes him intriguing as a prospect. Most guys develop a third pitch throughout their time in the minors, but he already has it. How he improves his command is what will ultimately determine his development.
Luis Medina is only 20 years old. Prospects develop at different rates. The important thing to remember is that it’s critical to be patient with prospects.
Aaron Judge didn’t make his debut until he was 25 years old. He may have started in the Yankees organization later in his life than Medina, but timelines aren’t linear. Medina could take a big step in his development this year and be up to AAA. Jonathan Loaisiga was in High-A Tampa when he was called up. Development is tricky, so patience is important.
In the second half of 2019, Medina made huge strides. After posting a 5.32 FIP in the first 46 innings pitched of 2019, Medina followed a 3.51 FIP over his next 58 innings. During that time, he cut his BB/9 in half and raised his K/9 from 10.4 to 11.5. Hitters also hit .209 against him during that time.
Baseball America credits his success to finding his release point. The hope is for that trend to continue in 2020.
A lot of high-strikeout, high-walk prospects turn into good relievers. Medina, with his 100 m.p.h. fastball, would have great potential as a reliever if he can’t make it as a starting pitcher. He would compare to Dellin Betances. As a high velocity, high strikeout starter who couldn’t make it work, he made mechanical adjustments and turned himself into one of the most dominant relievers of this past decade.
Every reliever is a failed starter according to Brian Cashman. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, Mariano Rivera is the best closer of all time. How many people care that he didn’t work out as a starter? None. That’s not to say it always works; prospects are tough to gauge. Yet, with Medina’s development in the second half of 2019 and his potential as a pitcher, he has the capability as a reliever.
Medina was added to the 40-man roster before the deadline because of his potential. He is one of the most underrated prospects in all of baseball as he doesn’t rank in the top-100 prospects from any major source prospect source. His highest ranking was by Baseball Prospectus which ranked him as the Yankees 4th best prospect.
If the strides he made in 2019 continue, Luis Medina will rise to be one of the top prospects in all of baseball. And if so, surrounding baseball galaxies better put themselves on a hard notice.