Monday, January 5, 2015

DrB's 2015 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #12 Luis Ysla

Luis Ysla, LHP.  DOB:  4/22/1992.  6'1", 185 lbs.

2013 Rookie AZL:  4-0, 2.65, 51 IP, 13 BB, 52 K, GO/AO= 1.69.
2014 Low A:           6-7, 2.45, 121.1 IP, 45 BB, 115 K, GO/AO= 1.11.

Luis Ysla was not signed as an international FA until he was 20 years old in 2012.  He saw his first pro action at age 21 in Rookie ball.  I do not have any information on what he was doing from age 16 when he was first eligible to be signed and age 20.  As you can see, he pitched successfully in both his pro seasons in the lower minors, although his K and BB numbers don't jump out at you.

What he does have that is exciting is a FB that goes 92-96 MPH.  The variations in velocity seem to be purposeful.  There are multiple videos of him pitching against Hickory Crawdad batters in which someone was tracking pitches with a radar gun and calling out velocities and pitch types.  There was one sequence to one batter where the first pitch was 90 MPH and the tracker said, "he took something off there."  The next pitch was 93 and the one after than was 96.  Pretty nifty if you ask me!

Ysla has a low 3/4 delivery slot with a lot of effort.  As mentioned, he seems to be adept at varying speeds on the FB and seems to command it to both sides of the plate.  He also has a slider that goes in the mid-high 80's.  It has some glove-side lateral movement, but very little, if any downward bite.  Likewise, the changeup shows nice velocity separation with good deception, but very little downward tumble.

With that kind of FB, I think if he can get some downward movement on the offspeed stuff, his strikeout rate will jump up into elite levels.  That should be easy enough to accomplish with some grip changes, although his low arm slot may tend to flatten pitches.  Lefties with that kind of velocity don't grow on trees, though.  We should see him in San Jose in 2015.

44 comments:

  1. I do not know much about Ysla but I am excited that he is a LHP. With Mejia getting a 50 game suspension Ty Blach is the only other decent prospect up there with Ysla. I know there is nothing wrong with having 1 LHP v 4 RHP in your rotation but I think in a perfect world it would be nice to have 2 LHP v 3 RHP. We saw how important that was in the 2012 World Series where Bumgarner was 1-0 w/ 0.00 ERA and Zito was 1-0 w/ 1.59 ERA. Obviously that is a very small sample size but I think the theory of having a balanced rotation is sound. A 96 MPH fastball for a LHP is pretty unique. I can't wait to follow him in San Jose!

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  2. San Jose staff will be legit and will hopefully pick up slack for offense! Seems they should have enough ground balls in them.

    How about Christian Jones, Roger?

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  3. I actually really like Christian Jones and Matt Lujan. I was commenting on DrB's list and he has them down at 49 and 47 respectively. Based on where Ysla and Blach are you would assume they are lower grade prospects. I believe he did that because of their age. When Lujan was in Augusta he was 3.2 years older than the average prospect and 1.8 years older than the average prospect in San Jose. Jones was 1.2 years older than the average prospect in Augusta. 2015 will be a big year for both of them. Jones just needs to work on consistency. I cannot find his game logs but I can remember he would be lights out and get 11-12 K's one night and then get lit up the next start. I have a little more faith in Lujan but he is a little older and needs to progress through the system faster.

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  4. I saw his write-up at Giant Potential and Covechatter was there in the comments and seemed to like him as well. Though Covechatter characterized Ysla's deliver as easy:

    http://sfgiantpotential.squarespace.com/home/luis-ysla-emerges-left-handed-arm


    I'd say he's, probably, our #2 LHP prospect (through the 2014 season) when it comes to the way I try to balance polish + potential in my head.

    Mejia is not #1, btw, because really struggled in AA last year (I read somewhere it was because he got fat) and is now serving a 50-game suspension (for amphetamine diet pills). I have a really hard time when things like that (the getting fat, doing stupid diet pills) happen because the minor leagues are an extended training period/job interview. And if you can't control yourself when you're career is the most on the line... I can't trust you to come to the majors and not screw it up the first time you get some money.

    Also, FWIW, I like Ty Blach as the #1 lefty in the system right now. Everything I read says he's got a good fastball (94MPH 4-seam), four good pitches and good control. He may not be perceived as having the 'upside' of a Mejia and Ysla, but as we taught our daughters -- "Potential is a bad boyfriend."

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    1. 94MPH Is good, even for a righty. Cain doesn't throw that hard - mostly 92-92, I think. And Bumgarner is around there too. Ysla here, according to above, throws 92-96. Doesn't Blach have 'stuff?'

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    2. 94 MPH, might be little generous for Blach. I think he sits more like 90-92.

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    3. Just went back and watched that Ysla spring training video again. I have to admit, his delivery in that video was much more clean or "easy" to me than the 2 or 3 starts I watched him make on MiLBtv last season. The first start that I caught, his mechanics were all over the place. And the reports from David Lee say it was basically a work in progress all year. Sounds like his changeup wasn't much of an offering in AUG either, although lefties with that kind of heat don't really need a changeup to get through Low A hitters.

      I like Ysla. He's still so new to professional baseball. If the Giants can tone his mechanics down and help him with that changeup, you've got to like his chances as a starter. If not, nothing wrong with a hard-throwing fasbtall/slider lefty coming out of the bullpen (like Steven Okert).

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    4. I'm beginning to get that vibe on Blach's velocity as well. It's kind of like Edwin Escobar. Some reports had him up to 96 in Richmond a couple years ago, yet I don't think he threw a single pitch harder than 92 in spring training last year. Velocity reports are so dang varied it isn't even funny.

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    5. I saw Escobar at Fresno hitting 94-95 consistently, then another start topping out around 92-93.

      -Ry

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  5. Good stuff Moses. Man, prospects will break your heart.

    I'm reminded of a lefty I really liked, Edwin Escobar, even if his upside was somewhere between a 3 and a 5.

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  6. I don't know that Mejia took stupid diet pills. He took what seem to be effective ones that are sold OTC, no problem, in his home country. It would have been smart of the Giants to figure that the young players in their system don't lug around a pharmaceutical guide to MLB taboos, and to issue appropriate warnings. Maybe they in fact did that and Mejia either forgot or chose to flout the warning. I haven't seen any clarification from the team or the press. But I strongly doubt that legal OTC diet pills (legal at home) are predictive of dumb behavior later.

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    1. Agree and I don't think I would characterize last year's experience for Mejia as "really struggled". Was he as spectacular as we all hoped he would be and his numbers from the lower minor suggested he might be? No, but I also don't think he "struggled."

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    2. speaking of Mejia, I saw that BP had him ranked as the Giants #1 overall prospect - probably by someone who wasn't paying attention- but hey, maybe they see something others don't and have hopes for him.

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    3. Not that we should get worked up over someone else's rankings any more than mine here, but no way would I put Mejia anywhere close to the #1 Giants prospect at this time.

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    4. I hear that. It must have been a typo or errant cut and paste. Somewhere around #10 sounds fine, but as you suggest, these lists are not empirical, but exist just to familiarize the fans with the farm hands.

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    5. It is not a misprint. Read the comments sections and the author Nick goes into detail about he has more control than Crick. He also lists that the numbering can go several ways and that 1, 2 or 3 is very arbitrary.

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  7. For me it would be hard to put Mejia ahead of a guy such as Susac who has been to the show already and had a decent amount of success.

    I will give Mejia the benefit of the doubt that he didn't knowingly take a PED. I hope he comes back strong and stays in good shape while on his suspension.

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    1. He didn't take a PED at all. He took a pill to help him lose weight, one found (see the Wikipedia article "sibutramine), sometimes with no indication of this drug on the label, in numerous OTC weight-loss products. It has been banned in the U.S. since 2010 because of dangerous side-effects, not because it functions as a PED to build muscle or endurance. It has structural similarities to amphetamine, but it acts differently, to slow down the uptake of certain neurotransmitters, already naturally produced, in the manner of many antidepressants. It does not spur the body to produce "unnatural" amounts of neurotransmitters, as amphetamines do.

      You do not have to give Mejia the benefit of the doubt as to PEDs. He did not take any. If you have a contrary account of this drug, indicating that it is a PED, can you post a link with a reference to that account, please? Thanks.

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    2. who cares anyway? He needs to get his ass in shape, get back on the field motivated and let his fastball/change-up combo do the talking.

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  8. It was reported last week that the Giants were out on Scherzer and Shields. However, I still see reporters saying the Giants are quietly watching. Does anyone think we are one of the teams that gave him an offer? I personally think no but who really knows. I didn't think we would resign Romo. I also thought we would sign Upton after we lost the bid for Lester. My instincts have been way off. I think they are off because I thought like many of you we would make a splash or two. I think the Shields signing might hurt us in years 3,4 and 5 if we were to sign him which sounds like a bad thing to do.

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    1. Oops. Meant trade for Upton.

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    2. I have always thought that a big splash signing was a longshot even when the Giants proclaimed their interest in Jon Lester. At this point the only way for them to go big would be to go way above the Luxury Tax threshold, at least according to currently available information about that threshold. I just don't see the Giants ownership as being willing to do that, but hey, bidding on Lester does not make much sense in that paradigm, does it? So, what do I know.

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    3. Lester would probably have pushed them over the Luxury Tax threshold and I do think they were in on Lester. Tomas they were only luke warm in my opinion and were seeing if they could get him at a huge discount. It is nice to know they were willing to change their budget for Lester if they were able to get them. Shows dedication to winning which is always good to see from a front office.

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    4. What do your instincts tell you about Zobrist, Roger?

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    5. I think he could really help the Giants in 2015 and provides a lot of depth for injury. The whole question is what will he cost. I heard a Florida reporter saying it would take Crick and Susac. I am not in on him at that price. Crick and a low level prospect and you are starting to get my attention. Blach and a few lower prospects and I am sold.

      Tons of teams love Zobrist. He would be very valuable if we fell out of contention by June or July and could get a nice haul in a trade. Otherwise he should be able to receive a Qualifying Offer and chances are we would get a nice compensatory pick for him in 2016.

      So, I am for Zobrist but not at the price I have heard they will want. I am not 100% convinced on what Crick will be able to do in the future. Will his command come? Will he be a frontline starter? Who knows. The front office might deal him because they are uncertain as well. I just don't agree Crick and Susac is a fair price. I think it is way too much. Zobrist will bring above average hitting and decent defense. He is not an elite defender but can play multiple positions decently.

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    6. Heck no on Susac. Crick is expendable, IMO. But then need a mid level prospect to go with. So Crick + Blackburn? or Arroyo?

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  9. Giants are going to sign another proven starter or trade for one. No way they go into the season with their current rotation. Whether or not that is Shields, I don't know but they can't possibly feel comfortable with what they have.

    Billy Baseball

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    1. I would like to agree with you but that would mean that we have an $18M reliever in Lincecum. That is a really huge pill to swallow. I think to sign another starter we would have to trade Lincecum even we paid most of his salary. That is also assuming someone would want him as a reclamation project. I personally think when we signed Peavy we were done except maybe a few minor league signings to compete in ST.

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    2. The Giants currently have 5 starters and an excellent swingman: Bumgarner, Cain, Hudson, Peavy, LIncecum with Petit as the swing man. All 6 of those players are guaranteed to make the 25 man roster, barring injury. There are only so many roster spots available to stash backup starters. Look for the Giants to sign a couple of minor league deals with ST invites in case someone gets injured in spring training, but the current rotation is set, like it or not.

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    3. Petit = #6
      Blackburn, Blach, & Heston=7-9.

      they got this covered. Need another bat.

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  10. I wouldn't rule out Haren.

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    1. If the Giants traded for Dan Haren, would they also get the $10 M the Dodgers gave to the Rays in the earlier trade? Now THAT would be too cool!

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    2. Haren could do quite well at AT&T. Could be a good acquisition if we had somewhere for Timmy to go. I don't see him as a reliever.

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    3. I am not sure why everybody is so down on Haren right now, although the way he is demanding to only pitch on the West Coast makes you wonder how much he really wants to play at all.

      Even if the Rays gave the Giants the $10 M to pay him, it would still count against the Luxury Tax threshold. I don't see Giants management/ownership busting through the LT threshold for a guy like Haren.

      And yeah, the only guy in the current rotation who could reasonably go to the bullpen is Timmy and $18 M says he's going to start the season in the rotation.

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    4. Didn't Haren go to the Marlins, not the Rays? If he were a Ray we could take him off their hands for a discount on Zobrist, in a special Alice in Wonderland deal. But.

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    5. Marlins, Rays? Some Florida team. LOL!

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    6. True. What is the difference? Either way you can hear a pin drop in their stadiums. Can only pull 30000 people if it was a playoff game and even that is a stretch.

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  11. Did anyone read the comments section in BP's Giants Top 10? It was an attempt to justify putting Meija #1. Does any of it make any sense to you? Doesn't to me!

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    1. Read up about 20 or so posts at 12:47PM and there is a section about it. I don't think anybody here is buying into it.

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    2. They can have their unique order, the write up I'm looking forward to is the one that should appear in fangraphs by Kiley McDaniel. It's nice to see scores on the 20-80 scale and future value estimates with risk!

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    3. Is it a free article or subscription only? Jason Parks did the Giants top 10 for BP last year... he works for the Cubs now I believe. I wasn't incredibly fond of his list, although I don't recall much about it anymore. Just goes to show how important these things end up in the long run, doesn't it? Says the guy who is currently working on a Giants top 100 list....

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  12. Hot Tip: It seems like BA has taken the paywall away from the Team Reports. Nice writeup buy Baggs about Joan Gregorio right now. Maybe I should have ranked him higher?

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    1. Cool. Will have to check it out. I think you're just fine on Gregorio DrB. He took a step back this season in my book, although he showed a brief flash of dominance in the Cal League.

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