Yankees Top 30 Prospects for 2020: Miguel Yajure (RHP, #14)
Today we continue our Yankees Top-30 Prospects Countdown for the 2020 season with RHP Miguel Yajure.
The Yankees signed Miguel Yajure for just $30,000 as par of the $34 Million 2014-15 international signing period, yet nobody was talking about the right-handed pitcher. He started his career quick in 2015 and showed great promise before Tommy John Surgery ended his 2016 season and kept him out of 2017. Yajure has quickly moved and performed well at every level before and after TJS, including a brief stint with the Trenton Thunder last season. He projects to be a back-end rotation piece as early as 2021 and has some of the best command in the Yankees farm system.
(Screenshot From New York Yankees Video, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kYvcSXUfCk)
Miguel Yajure, RHP (#14):
Age/Date of Birth: 21 Years Old (05/01/1998)
2019 Team(s): Trenton Thunder (Double A), Tampa Tarpons (Class A Advanced)
2019 MiLB Statistics: 9-6 Record, 2.14 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 138.2 Innings, 133 Strikeouts, 30 Walk, (24 Games, 20 Games Started)
Height/Weight: 6’1”/175 Pounds
Acquired: Signed by the New York Yankees as part of the 2015 IFA Class
MLB ETA: 2021
Miguel Yajure Scouting Grades (20-80 Scale):
What to Know:
Signed by the Yankees during their insane 2014-2015 international signing period in which they signed 52 players for $34 million and brought in prospects like Dermis Garcia, Hoy-Jun Park, and Juan De Leon, of all of them only one still remains: Miguel Yajure. Coming out of Venezuela, he signed for only $30,000 and has added to the Yankees legacy in finding international talent for under $300,000, a list that in recent history includes Luis Severino and former prospect Jorge Mateo (who was part of the package for Sonny Gray in 2017). Going back to Yajure, just a few months after signing, he started his professional career in the Dominican Summer League (DSL), which doesn’t happen too often with international talents as they often sign with little time left in the season.
That first professional year, playing only in the DSL, Miguel Yajure started in 14 games, pitching to a 1.42 ERA with a 1.30 WHIP over 57.0 innings. He was unlucky in having recorded an 0-2 record at seasons end, but still pitched very well in his first showing against comparable competition.
Going into 2016, Yajure began his American tour, starting with the Yankees East of the Gulf Coast League. With this being a very hard transition for international players from Latin America, often statistics increase, as it did with the right-handed pitcher, yet he kept it in check. Over 31.1 innings from 9 games and 6 starts, Yajure recorded his first professional win, but still lost two games even though his ERA (2.87) and WHIP (0.93) pointed that he was pitching well. This was also seen in his K:BB rate of 21:5. However…
His 2016 season was cut short, and he missed all of 2017 due to needing Tommy John Surgery (TJS). Yet, his comeback has been incredible to watch.
In 2018, a year after recovering from TJS, instead of going back to Rookie level ball as a 20-year-old- which by no means would be out of the ordinary- the Yankees opted to send him to play above where he previously was with a move to Class A ball and the Charleston RiverDogs. He started the season about halfway through on June 8th, and over the final half started in 14 games and 64.2 innings. Pitching to a 3.90 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP, this was his first “winning” season with a 4-3 record, yet his most notable stat was his K:BB rate of 56:15, showing obvious signs of his control and knowing how to command the zone.
In 2019, the Yankees looked to challenge him again with a move to the Tampa Tarpons (Class A Advanced), where he spent a majority of the season, recording 22 games and 18 starts. During this stint he pitched to a 2.26 ERA over 127.2 innings and a 1.08 WHIP, yet again his K:BB rate of 122:28 was mesmerizing. Come late August, Yajure was promoted up to the Trenton Thunder (Double A) where he would start 2 games and end the season. With a 0.82 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over 11.0 innings (also 11 strikeouts and 2 walks) Yajure shows promise at this higher level of play.
Overall, Miguel Yajure came back incredibly quickly from his Tommy John surgery which has seemed to have little to no long-lasting effects. With only a 92-95 MPH fastball, Yajure wont overpower a hitter as a fireball pitcher, but his command allows it to be an average pitch. His best pitch however is a changeup, which combined with his cutter helped spark the big increase in his 2019 stats and skills. On top of this, Yajure rounds out a 4-pitch arsenal with an average curveball that he is able to spin well.
What Will the Future Hold?
Given his impressive 2019 season and brief showing with the Trenton Thunder last season, Yajure should be expected to start 2020 where he left off. A bump up to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre seems to be a long shot after just 11.0 innings and would be very uncommon for a pitcher to do. If a full season was in play a move up to could have very well been in the cards but looks to be a much decreased expectation. With a 2021 break-in date to the MLB, Yajure would need to continue to show his skill set with the Thunder again this season before moving up to start 2021 with hopes of being a call-up piece when needed.
Miguel Yajure will always have a looming doubt about his health because of his Tommy John Surgery, but still seems to still comfortable be projected as a starter in the big leagues. Because of this, I could see a slight increase to his prospect stock with another solid season in the minor leagues. While back-end rotation pieces aren’t incredibly hot commodities, having good depth at a position where everything can fall apart quickly (see: Luis Severino and James Paxton getting injured before 2020) is very important for teams that want to contend.