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  • Twins sign Ynoa for $800k

    Shortly after the International signing period opened today at 8am, MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez tweeted that the Twins had an agreement with RHP Huascar Ynoa. Ynoa ranked 17th on MLB.com's top prospects. Baseball America placed Ynoa 14th on their list.

    Ynoa is a 6-2, 190 lb righthander who just recently turned 16. Earlier in the process, there was some belief that Ynoa was the top available pitcher in this signing period.

    Over a year ago, while participating in the 15U WWBA National Championship, Ynoa's fastball sat between 85-91 and Perfect Game called him "among the most impressive arms" at the tournament. As of late, he's been clocked at high as 94.

    But his ability is polarizing...

    Baseball America's profile of Ynoa said this:
    Some scouts still regard him as a potential frontline starter with quality stuff across the board, but his control has vanished at times, which has left him with one of the most uncertain statuses among the top July 2 prospects this year.
    MLB.com said this:
    When Ynoa is on, he's really on and he's arguably the best pitcher on the market. But when he's not on, he frustrates observers and draws the ire of scouts who have high expectations for the teenager.
    Ynoa's older brother, Michael, still holds the record for the largest bonus given to an international pitcher ($4.25m). Michael is 6-7, so there this plenty of time for lots of projection with Huascar. His ceiling is that of someone who could potentially be a top-of-the-rotation starter - he throws four pitches - but saddling anyone at 16 with that label is irresponsible.

    At the minimum, the Twins have added a potentially high-upside arm for less than $1m. He'll get all the time in the world to develop and will join the DSL Twins in 2015.

    The Twins still have $2,886,600 to play with in this signing period, but it sounds like Ynoa will be the most expensive signing.
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    Comments 111 Comments
    1. tobi0040's Avatar
      tobi0040 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      Here is some video, although you can't see the ball to the plate. Looks like a nice sign with upside. He looks big for a 16 year old, 94 mph heater. 90-91 cutter, splitter, and a good change. 17th rated among international free agents.

      http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/min/...&vkey=news_min

      BA has him as the 14th rated guy. flashes of brilliance and at times puzzling inconsistencies. Potential frontline starter. You take that in a 16 year old for $800K

      http://blogs.twincities.com/twins/20...-huascar-ynoa/
    1. Dman's Avatar
      Dman -
      Glad the Twins are still going after solid pitching talent. I guess I had resigned myself to them not being able to pull this off. I am surprised they got this done considering the money other teams have. Nice to know they will get one of the top 20 guys. Well done FO.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      This is great news. He's not a top 10 international player but he's arguably the best pitcher. When the Twins said they were unlikely to sign anyone for over $1 million, I thought any top 30 kind of guys would be off the table since the Yankees proclaimed to want to blow the bank signing guys this year. I thought many teams would follow suit, I still do, but unless Ynoa's leaving money on the table, teams may not be going as crazy as advertised.

      Edit: Upon further review of contracts, guys ranked below Ynoa are getting $1 million contracts so perhaps he did leave money on the table. Either that or Ynoa doesn't have the stature with front offices as he does with the prognosticators.
    1. tarheeltwinsfan's Avatar
      tarheeltwinsfan -
      I find it normal for a 16 year old fire-balling pitcher to be inconsistent. We all were somewhat inconsistent with many phases of our lives when we are only 16 years old. But how many 16 year olds can throw a baseball at 94 mph? Plus he has a 6'7" older brother. Great signing by the Twins. Huge upside at a reasonable expense. I salute the FO.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      Upon further review of contracts, guys ranked below Ynoa are getting $1 million contracts so perhaps he did leave money on the table. Either that or Ynoa doesn't have the stature with front offices as he does with the prognosticators.
      It could be a lot of things. Maybe he reached this agreement with the Twins when the ball started rolling downhill and thought he was going to miss out on much more.

      This was exactly the reason I thought he'd keep working to try and get a better deal. But when you start hearing that teams are spending tons of their money, you need to find a match with a team who's willing to give it.

      Hopefully JO can take him under his wing...
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I remain skeptical of the approach of having a lot of money, and buying quantity over quality, I guess we will know more in a few years. I have not paid attention to the international stuff this year at all, under the premise they would be praying on the top ranked guys again. Good luck to them and their new players. I hope it works.
    1. maxisagod's Avatar
      maxisagod -
      There was a rumor a few days ago that 800,000 was his asking price after the bad outings. Some scouts felt that a team had already agree to it. So I'm guessing his trainer told the teams what they wanted, and the Twins agree to it first. Right now He's got a ceiling of a number 1 starter, 100 million dollar pitcher and a floor of a guy who never get's out of rookie ball. In a couple years, who knows what that range will be.
    1. righty8383's Avatar
      righty8383 -
      Question for anyone able to answer. Why can't he join the DSL Twins right now? Would that mess with his minor league service time?
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Just about every intl FA has a floor of never making it out of rookie ball. That's the problem with projecting those guys. I like the signing. I'm all for high ceiling guys, and I don't care if they pay 2M or 20K to get it.
    1. Dantes929's Avatar
      Dantes929 -
      "His ceiling is that of someone who could potentially be a top-of-the-rotation starter but saddling anyone at 16 with that label is irresponsible." That kind of sentence makes me chuckle. Thanks for being responsible and not labeling him a top-of-the rotation-starter by using the qualifiers "potentially and ceiling". Not singling you out Jeremy. Prospect writers want to extol the talent but then caution since only 1 in 20 (pure guess) such prospects even get to the majors. I just laugh at the double speak sometimes.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Big risk but for that price it's hard not to find the signing appealing.
    1. twinsfan34's Avatar
      twinsfan34 -
      '16 years old' and 'consistent'...in the same sentence? Not likely.

      Wonderful 'lotto pick' if you will. Looking forward to a few more $500K+ signings and many of the $50K fliers.

      I was 5'10'' 135 lbs as a 16 year old. I was 6'1'' 180 as a 17 year old. Lots can change at that age.
    1. tobi0040's Avatar
      tobi0040 -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsfan34 View Post
      '16 years old' and 'consistent'...in the same sentence? Not likely.

      Wonderful 'lotto pick' if you will. Looking forward to a few more $500K+ signings and many of the $50K fliers.

      I was 5'10'' 135 lbs as a 16 year old. I was 6'1'' 180 as a 17 year old. Lots can change at that age.
      It is rare to even see an 18 year old high school prospect that is consistent. Most of the time they only have a feel for 1-2 pitches, rarely a change up. Mechanics are not always repeatable, etc. If they are 18 and have 3 plus pitches they are a top 3 draft pick and get paid $4-7M. Extreme example alert....Brady Aiken was rated in the 20-30 range a year before going #1 overall (17 years old at the time). I am guessing he had some incosistency or questions about a pitch or two.

      This kid is 16 and has good size. 94 mph sounds good, 91 mph cutter sounds good. He will likely add velocity. They think he can have a change that is an out pitch. I really like this move.

      To many of the points made, maybe he does not make it out of A ball, but you add a guy like this every year and you will likely be rewarded at some point. Heck, Homer Bailey's numbers look like a #2 or #3 starter and he received $100M. You can sign 125 guys like this for $100M. My guess is that is a better long term investment.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      I like it - he's the kind of profile I like them to take a risk on.
    1. PseudoSABR's Avatar
      PseudoSABR -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      I remain skeptical of the approach of having a lot of money, and buying quantity over quality, I guess we will know more in a few years.
      Normally, I'd agree with you, but in the international market, quality is pretty fungible--the distance for these guys from the major is immense, and rarely do prospects like Sano emerge as such obvious quality investments. Given the higher risk, it does make more sense to spread out that risk over many players rather than a few.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Right, I'd say I'm skeptical, but not convinced they are wrong. I'm curious how random the outcomes are, though. I don't know if we have enough data yet to know, given the likelihood that international rankings probably haven't been widely available for a super long time.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Quote Originally Posted by righty8383 View Post
      Question for anyone able to answer. Why can't he join the DSL Twins right now? Would that mess with his minor league service time?
      These are all "Future contracts" meaning they are signed for the 2015 season, even though the Rule 5 clock starts immediately.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dantes929 View Post
      "His ceiling is that of someone who could potentially be a top-of-the-rotation starter but saddling anyone at 16 with that label is irresponsible." That kind of sentence makes me chuckle. Thanks for being responsible and not labeling him a top-of-the rotation-starter by using the qualifiers "potentially and ceiling". Not singling you out Jeremy. Prospect writers want to extol the talent but then caution since only 1 in 20 (pure guess) such prospects even get to the majors. I just laugh at the double speak sometimes.
      I'm picking up what you're putting down. People want to talk ceilings of college guys, fine. There isn't a lot of development yet in a 23 year old. High schoolers at 18 or 19 are hard.

      Now take a kid that just turned 16. Really all you have is a fastball speed, some other pitches they might know and a dream.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      This is a great signing. It's cheap and I laugh at "inconsistency" complaints about a 16-year-old kid! Drawing the "ire of scouts" . . . .hahahahahaha! What? At that age I was consistent about absolutely nothing except for not getting girls.
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      Quote Originally Posted by PseudoSABR View Post
      Normally, I'd agree with you, but in the international market, quality is pretty fungible--the distance for these guys from the major is immense, and rarely do prospects like Sano emerge as such obvious quality investments. Given the higher risk, it does make more sense to spread out that risk over many players rather than a few.
      Another fact about quality and quantity: there are 30 teams, so by definition there will be teams that don't sign a "Top 25" guy. The Twins have signed one or more such high-ceiling prospect in each of the past several years, so no one can legitimately complain that they don't get their share of "quality". The record clearly shows that they get both quality AND quantity. You might put Arcia and Santana in the "quantity" category, and Polanco and Thorpe in the "quality" category, for example.

      Nice to see the Twins continue to be aggressive in the international market. They're getting terrific results.
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