The 2017 season was a special one for the New York Yankees. The team received an injection of youth that had been missing in years past.
The Baby Bombers, a group consisting of Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, Greg Bird and more, exceeded expectations. So did the Yankees. A team playing well beyond its years came within one game of the World Series. The kids, as they say, are alright.
The scary thing is, there are more coming. As though the future didn’t look bright enough in the Bronx after a surprising 2017 season, the Yankees still have one of the best farm systems in baseball. With so many more Baby Bombers in waiting, we at FanRag Sports thought it would be fun to take a look at one each week to pass the offseason.
The last profile focused on power pitcher Ben Heller. This week we’ll get to know another righty, Luis Medina.
Only 18, Medina is still years away from the majors — and being able to purchase alcohol. That has not stopped him from turning heads in his short two years of professional baseball. With MLB.com’s rankings recently updated, he now sits at No. 7 in a system rich with pitching.
A 100-mph flamethrower before he even turned pro, Medina signed with New York for a bargain $280,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2015. With a curve and a change to accompany his heater, MLB.com’s scouting report claims Medina has the best pure stuff in New York’s system. Expectations for him are already sky-high despite his age.
Here’s more from the report:
“Medina is still young and extremely raw, so he’ll need time to reach his lofty ceiling as a frontline starter. He’s has yet to learn to tame his electric stuff, though New York believes he can develop at least average control and command because his delivery doesn’t feature much effort. The Yankees are loaded with quality pitching prospects, and he could be the most successful of them if he can add some polish.”
What he has done
While Medina’s rank may be high and his stuff sensational, he has only 13 professional outings on his resume. A 17-year-old in the Dominican Summer League in 2016, he pitched just 4 2/3 innings before his first season of pro ball came to an end. He looked sharp, but the sample size was small.
Medina got another 38 2/3 innings under his belt in 2017, spending more time in the DOSL and the Rookie ball Appalachian League. He struggled in 10 games (nine starts), recording a 5.35 ERA with 24 walks. Nonetheless, he has emerged as one of the more touted pitchers in the organization.
An ideal but realistic 2018 for Medina would mean mastering Rookie ball before getting a crack at Low-A and Single-A. His MLB ETA is 2021, so again, he still has some prerequisite levels to conquer.
While he hasn’t been around long, Medina appears to have the arsenal of a future starter. What he doesn’t have right now is the control, something he will have to work on in 2018. The sooner he does that, the sooner he will advance in the minors.