Pittsburgh Pirates: Best Prospect From Each Country
By Noah Wright
Venezuela – RHP Miguel Yajure
Like the Dominican Republic, Venezuela is also a baseball powerhouse. 438 players have come out of Venezuela; however, surprisingly, there is only one Venezuelan Hall of Famer. That’s Luis Aparicio, but all-time great Miguel Cabrera will likely join him once he retires.
Currently, the best Venezuelan prospect the Pirates have is right-hander Miguel Yajure. When the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Yajure, he was a notable prospect coming out of the New York Yankee system. He was joined with three other prospects (one of which was now consensus top 100 prospect Roansy Contreras) was sent to the Pirates in the Jameson Taillon swap.
Yajure only pitched 58.2 innings between Triple-A Indianapolis and the major leagues. He had a solid 3.09 ERA, 4.35 FIP, and 1.05 WHIP at Indy. On the plus side, he did have a much better 4.15 xFIP mark. Throughout the minors, he’s shown a strong ability to command his offerings and limit home runs.
We’d probably be talking about Diego Castillo, the Pittsburgh Pirates second-best Venezuelan-born prospect, right now had it not been for an injury that kept Yajure out for a good chunk of 2021. The injury took a toll on the right-hander as he was hitting 91-94 MPH at the beginning of the year and was only around 89-90 MPH at the very end of the season.
Still, a healthy offseason could do good for the right-hander. Yajure has six offerings, three of which play at an above-average level. That includes his fastball, change-up, and cutter. He’ll also throw a curveball, two-seamer, and slider. He uses his sinking two-seamer almost exclusively against right-handed hitters. That’s another trio of average offerings. His cutter is the best among his pitches as it’s a 60-grade projected pitch. His four-seamer and changeup are 55-projected pitches.
If Yajure can get back to the 90-95 MPH range he showed early in the season this year, he may end up as a high-end no. 3 starting pitching. Think of something akin to a Marcus Stroman-lite. Overall, he’s a solid prospect who will look to prove himself next season.