Coming in as our runner up is right-handed pitcher Miguel Yajure. Yajure was the headliner in the Taillon deal. Despite flying under the radar, he has the potential to be one of the Pirates’ top of the rotation arms in the near future.
Yajure, who’s entering his age 23 season, put up outstanding numbers in 2019. Through 138.2 innings, Yajure had a 2.14 ERA, 2.51 FIP and 1.07 WHIP. Most of his innings came at High-A, but did pitch some at Double-A nearing the end of the season. At both levels, he had a 2.88 xFIP, showing he wasn’t just getting lucky to get outs.
Yajure put up a 23.9% strikeout rate, which is the highest single season mark of his career so far. However, he’s increased it since making his pro debut in 2015 when he had a strikeout rate of 15.3%. He’s also great at limiting home runs and walks with a sub-0.5 HR/9 in each of his four minor league seasons. Yajure has shown great control with a 5.4% walk rate during 2019.
While he may not be an overpowering pitcher, he makes up for it in terms of command and pitch mix. Yajure uses four pitches to get outs, all of which project as average or better. His four seam fastball averages out in the 91-95 MPH range, tops out at 97 MPH and has a 55-future grade. He also uses a cutter variant of his fastball which projects as a 60-grade offering. He also throws a change-up which is seen as a 55-future grade pitch. His worst offering is his curveball, but this is still seen as an average pitch at the very least and has plus spin with 2600 RPM. Impressively, he has a 60-future command grade.
Yajure may not be a flamethrower, but he has pinpoint control and a pitch mix some would kill for. 2021 will be his age-23 season. He’s already gotten a taste of big league action, pitching 7 innings with the Yankees last season. However, with little experience above High-A, he may start the year out at Triple-A and potentially be a mid-season reinforcement if he’s healthy and keeps pitching like he has.