Yankees Top 30 Prospects for 2020: Luis Gil (RHP, #5)
Today we continue our Yankees Top-30 Prospects Countdown for the 2020 season with RHP Luis Gil.
Signed as an IFA by the Minnesota Twins late in the 2014/15 signing period, a shoulder injury in 2016 kept him in the DSL until 2017. Going into the 2018 season, the Yankees acquired him for a DFA’ed outfielder in Jake Cave and quickly set about turning him into a legitimate prospect. He quickly added velocity to his fastball, which now sits in the high-90s and tops 100 MPH. With two other pitches that need work in refining with a slider and changeup, his future is going to either be as a mid-rotation piece or as a great high-leverage reliever/closer. He is ranked a little high for my preference, but I can see why scouts see his promise.
(Screenshot From New York Yankees Video, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTtgVXrEYg8)
Luis Gil, RHP (#5):
Age/Date of Birth: 21 Years Old (06/03/1998)
2019 Team(s): Tampa Tarpons (Class A Advanced), Charleston RiverDogs (Class A)
2019 MiLB Statistics: 5-5 Record, 2.72 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 96.0 Innings, 123 Strikeouts, 47 Walks, (20 Games, 20 Games Started)
Height/Weight: 6’3”/176 Pounds
Acquired: Signed by the Minnesota Twins during the 2015 IFA Class.
MLB ETA: 2022
Luis Gil Scouting Grades (20-80 Scale):
What to Know:
Signed by the Minnesota Twins during the 2014/15 international signing period, Luis Gil wasn’t very highly rated and was cast aside as scouts were more excited about other pitchers Huascar Ynoa and Brusdar Graterol. Signing for just $90,000 out of the Dominican Republic in the middle of February 2015, he was set to start his first season that spring.
Luis Gil didn’t start any games during his first professional season in the Dominican Summer League, instead pitching 16 games and totalling 23.1 innings out of the back-end of the bullpen. Recording 2 saves, he was very prone to allowing fly balls (GO/AO of 0.47), walked a lot of batters (K:BB of 24:26), which contributed to a very high WHIP (1.76) and ERA (4.63).
Unfortunately for Gil, he wouldn’t pitch during the 2016 season, as he was recovering from a shoulder injury that required surgery. But, he did return to the mound in 2017, this time as a starter in the Twins organization.
Still in the DSL in 2017, Gil started 14 games in his returning season, pitching 41.2 innings to a 2.59 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP, both much improved from his debut season. Combine this with a GO/AO of 1.18 and much better K:BB numbers at 49:20, it was becoming clear that Gil was much better suited for the rotation.
In March 2018, the New York Yankees acquired the right-handed pitcher for CF Jake Cave who was previously DFA’ed. This would be the season that Gil would make his American professional debut and crack his first prospect list at mid-season. Starting the season with the Pulaski Yankees (Rookie Advanced), he spent 10 games starting for them, with a 1.37 ERA and 1.17 WHIP over 39.1 innings. While he was still allowing too many fly balls (0.71 GO/AO), his K:BB rate was staying consistent at 58:25. This would earn him the #20 spot on the Yankees prospect rankings and deliver a 2-game stint with the Staten Island Yankees (Class A Short Season). While his numbers there weren’t great with a 5.40 ERA, it was a 6.2 inning, 2 game stint.
Going into the 2019 season, Gil had been moved up to being the Yankees #13 prospect and was set to start the season with the Charleston RiverDogs (Class A). Pitching there for a large majority of the season with 17 starts and 83.0 innings, Gil pitched to a 2.39 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, had a great GO/AO of 1.18, and great K:BB numbers at 112:39. It would be no surprise that this would elevate him to #4 in the system at midseason and earn him promotion up to the Tampa Tarpons (Class A Advanced). Unfortunately, Gil would end up on the IL from mid-August to mid-September, ending his season prematurely.
Overall, the Yankees were able to add velocity to Gil’s arm and truly develop his fastball, now sitting between 95-98 MPH and topping triple-digits with being recorded as high as 101 MPH, making it the best in the Yankees farm system. He combined this speed with significant movement that keeps hitters from making solid contact and catching up to. His second best pitch is his breaking ball that acts as a “slurve” with slider speed around mid-80s but occasional curveball shape. His changeup does need a lot of work to make him an option to start with three pitches, as does his slider with emphasizing one part of how it moves. On top of this, like most prospect arms, he needs to also improve command and control with these refinements on pitches as he continues to face better hitters and moves up the minor leagues. If he can’t make three pitches work, he does have good potential to be a solid closer with his triple-digit fastball.
What Will the Future Hold?
GIl has been very consistent in keeping up an ETA of 2022 for his MLB debut, which has stayed the same since his original prospect ranking in 2018. That’s very promising for a player who does have lots of improvements to make, and shows how his potential is seen by scouts across the league. As of now, he is expected to start the season with the Tampa Tarpons for 2020, and if his last two seasons are any indication, he could earn a stint with the Trenton Thunder at the tail-end of the year. With a shortened season, this is looking less likely to happen, but I wouldn’t rule it out.
As a prospect, Luis Gil is very highly ranked and I don’t know if it’s a little too early for him to be on the brink of being an MLB-wide Top-100 prospect. No scouts have truly pinned a role in the rotation for his future, so my best expectations would be as a #2 or #3 arm, which seems to be a little too optimistic at this stage considering his third pitch would very well be tossed to the side, but for the time being it is safe to say he’ll continue to develop in as a future rotation piece. Personally, I would have ranked him lower in favor of moving up a player with more upside, so I could see a movement down the system rankings at midseason.