Yankees Top 30 Prospects for 2020: Luis Medina (RHP, #10)
Today we continue our Yankees Top-30 Prospects Countdown for the 2020 season with RHP Luis Medina.
A flamethrowing pitching prospect who was already throwing the in triple-digits as a 16 year-old and before signing as an International talent, Medina has some of the best pure stuff on his pitches in the system. However, he lacks the command and control that you’d like to see with a pitcher of his potential if you’re hoping on his frontline starter future. However, because of this lack of control, he does has a career ERA above 5.50, which is not promising and points towards his never cracking into the top level of baseball. Truly a lottery arm to bet on, it’s nearly impossible to project what he’ll do in 2020.
(Screenshot From New York Yankees Video, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XH6ZEGrz_Pk)
Luis Medina, RHP (#10):
Age/Date of Birth: 20 Years Old (05/03/1999)
2019 Team(s): Tampa Tarpons (A Advanced), Charleston RiverDogs (Class A)
2019 MiLB Statistics: 1-8 Record, 5.47 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 103.2 Innings, 127 Strikeouts, 70 Walks, (22 Games, 22 Games Started)
Height/Weight: 6’1”/175 Pounds
Acquired: Signed by the Yankees during the 2015 IFA Class.
MLB ETA: 2022
Luis Medina Scouting Grades (20-80 Scale):
What to Know:
Already able to through pitches at and above 100 MPH before he signed as a 16-year-old, the Yankees were somehow able to sign him even during restrictions limiting them to max bonuses of $300,000, landing the flamethrower for only $280,000 out of the Dominican Republic. The problem is that his command and control is extremely raw, as is common with young hard-throwing pitchers, and needs to be reworked a lot if he wants to truly chase his MLB dream.
In his first professional season, Medina only pitched in 3 games, starting each, but only recording 4.2 innings. This was due to a flurry of injuries, yet according to Pinstriped Prospects back in 2017, none of them seemed to be major or career-altering. Still unranked as a Yankees prospect, he would have to wait until the next season to start making his name.
Now in 2017, Medina again began his season with the DSL Yankees, but was still a solid year younger than the average player and still only 18 years old. He pitched 4 games at this level, totaling 15.2 innings and a 5.74 ERA but earned a promotion up to the Appalachian League and the Pulaski Yankees. In the Rookie league, Medina would improve slightly to a 5.09 ERA over 23.0 innings and 6 games with a 1.22 WHIP. While these numbers don’t seem good, one very promising number to look at was Medina’s GO/AO (Ground Out to Air Out) which was 1.61, a very good number for showing that he was keeping balls in the park. This helped to elevate him from being unranked in the farm system to #23 at the middle of the season.
Medina would go on to repeat 2018 with the Pulaski Yankees, and during this season comes the beginning of Medina’s interesting prospect movement. Starting the season ranked as the Yankees #7 prospect, and while repeating a level, Medina still could only pitch to a 6.25 ERA over 12 starts and 36.0 innings. This season was Medina’s first (and still only) with a GO/AO under 1.00, meaning he got hit for more fly balls, which wasn’t promising, but even so his prospect potential and true value out-shined his statistics as he only slightly dipped to #8 overall in the system at mid-season.
Yet, 2019 would start Medina after a bigger fall to #14 in the farm system, as Medina moved up to the Charleston RiverDogs (Class A) for the first time in his career. And again, his ERA continued to balloon as after his time at the level he had a total 6.00 ERA over 20 games and 93.0 innings pitched. His bumped his GO/AO back over 1.00 with a 1.05, at the level but at mid-season he was drastically bumped from the top spots in the farm down to #20. He did have a quick 2 game stint at the end of the season with the Tampa Tarpons (Class A Advanced) and showed very good numbers with a 0.84 ERA over 10.2 innings, although those stats also included an extreme groundout rate of 3.20 (!) and a K:BB of 12:3, of which both are incredibly unsustainable. However, this showing has definitely won over scouts again as he pumped up to #10 going into 2020.
Overall, the biggest thing for Medina is command and control. His ground-out numbers have looked very promising through his years in the minors, and with his good K:BB rate in 2019 (127:70) it is a hope that this is a change for the better in his career. If so, Medina could be a legitimate starter in the MLB. His fastball sits between 96 and 99 MPH, topping out at 102 (!) and has natural movement which deserves its 75 ranking (out of 80). Combined with a low-80s curveball with great movement that also ranks above-average at 65 and a changeup which some scouts say also is a 65 and shows more a splitter, it’s clear Medina’s ceiling is grand. However, because the command and control is such an issue to work through his floor is incredibly low to the point that he may not even taste MLB experience if he cannot figure it out over a long season.
.What Will the Future Hold?
With a great showing in Tampa at the end of last season, I would keep Medina pitching there for 2020. While it’s hard to justify continuing to elevate a pitcher whose career ERA is 5.51 after parts of 4 seasons, it may be that he has found a coach that was able to show him how to get a proper feel for his craft. For a player like Medina who could very well not be an MLB contributor but has great potential to maybe be a top starter, I think its fair to throw out the traditional playbook with his development and try and see if the coaching at Tampa is finally what he needed.
As a prospect, Luis Medina is going to continue to jump around from being high and low depending on how his most recent showings have been. If good, scouts are going to hope on his ceiling, if bad, scouts will point towards his floor. With a great season, Medina should be in the Top-7, with a bad season, Medina could legitimately jump out of the Top 30 as well. While i’ve had trouble with trying to place my expectations on other prospects, Medina is truly a wild card.