Long-time asset, Michael Ynoa, has finally reported to Oakland A’s camp. The 6’7″ right hander was signed for $4.25 million dollars when he was just 16 years old. Now, at the ripe age of 21, Ynoa will get his first taste of big league spring training.
The holdup? A bad case of chickenpox, perhaps the least severe setback Ynoa has experienced in his young career. As a starter, Ynoa is imposing, with a large frame and excellent stuff. Even Athletics’ coach, Bob Melvin, was taken aback by his size. “”I didn’t realize he was that size,” Melvin said. “He could probably reach out and drop the ball in the catcher’s mitt.”
Easier said than done.
Ynoa has yet to finish a complete season since entering the A’s system, starting his rookie season in the Arizona Fall League on the disabled list with a strained right elbow. At 16, he ended up missing the whole season. Since then, Ynoa has continued to struggle keeping his arm healthy, making just three more starts in 2010 before being shut down for surgery. A series of elbow ailments lead to reconstruction of Ynoa’s ulnar collateral ligament.
That surgery sidelined the righty until last June. Since then, Ynoa has made 12 starts and two relief appearances, for two different A’s affiliates and was awful trying to get back into the swing of competition. In 30.2 innings, Ynoa struck out 25, but managed a 6.45 ERA.
The A’s believe their pitcher is now finally healthy and in good spirits as he will try to add a cutter to his arsenal this spring as well as turn some heads in the organization.
Ynoa is expected to throw him a game over the next two weeks, using the time until then to catch up with the rest of the pitchers who have been in camp since February 14th.