The Baltimore Orioles have a few minor league pitchers who could end up as Major Leaguers in the near future.
One of those pitchers is Jimmy Yacabonis, a right-handed pitcher who was drafted in 2013 by the Baltimore Orioles.
After being drafted, he has moved his way through the Orioles farm system and has seen success at all levels. With more experience at the Triple-A level and after a few more short appearances in the Big League, Yacabonis could prove to be a regular in Birdland.
By the numbers
Yacabonis is being groomed to be a reliever and he has quality ERA and WHIP numbers. In his time in Triple-A in 2017, he threw in 61 innings and ended the season with an ERA of 1.32 and an enviable WHIP of 0.946. This isn’t the first time that Yacabonis has had numbers this low.
In his earliest years in Single-A- and Single-A, he had ERAs of 1.52 and 1.07 with WHIP numbers below 1.000. He has been consistent at all levels with two issues. HIs first problem arose with the Single-A+ Frederick Keys in 2014 when he threw in 28 innings and had an ERA of 8.58 and a WHIP of 2.188. He was sent back to Single-A and recovered with much better numbers the following season.
His other problem came in the Arizona Fall League in 2016, but like his previous troublesome time, he recovered in the following season.
According to Fangraphs, Yacabonis has a fastball that averages in the mid-90s. For a closing pitcher, that is a satisfying number. He also has a slider that comes in about 10 MPH slower and a changeup that he uses occasionally. His changeup crosses the plate around the high 80s.
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In the beginning of the 2017 season, Yacabonis was ranked just under Parker Bridwell as a relief pitcher with a strong arm. Bridwell has since been traded to the Los Angeles Angels and has had his way with his former team in two August games. Like Bridwell, if Yacabonis were given the chance to pitch on a regular basis, he could see success, too.
Better end with a rough start
Yacabonis pitched in 14 games and 20.2 innings with the O’s in 2017. He struggled out of the gate, but picked it up and finished better than he started. His first game was against the Yankees and the O’s lost 13-14. Yacabonis saw seven batters in one inning and gave up four runs, including a home run. But, in his last game, against the Tampa Bay Rays, he pitched two innings, giving up a hit and walking one batter. No runs were scored on his watch that day.
With his improvement in September, Yacabonis showed that he wants to pitch. His desire to pitch in the Big Leagues will be the factor that gets him up there. Watch for him to show up more often at Camden Yards in 2018.