Luis Medina started the game and pitched two scoreless innings. His stuff was electric with his fastball sitting 97-98 and touching 100 mph once. His curveball was 83-84 with tight spin. He did not throw a change-up. Medina faced seven hitters, striking out two and walking two.
Command has always been Medina’s issue. He threw 28 pitches, 14 for strikes. Facing an experienced but less talented Orioles’ line-up, Medina fell behind five of seven hitters. However, he was close to the zone, and when he came over the plate, Oriole hitters could do nothing against him.
Lead-off hitter Jean Carmona took two fastballs low and away before hitting a 2-0 98 mph heater into CF for a lazy fly-out. Next up was Martin Cervenka. After missing away with a curve, Medina battled back to work the count 1-2, featuring a fastball, curveball, fastball sequence. The curveball was plus, and Cervenka swung through it. The next set of pitches is where I think Medina gets himself in trouble. He overthrew three straight fastballs, two up and 1 (100 mph) away. I liked Medina showing the FB up with a 1-2 count, at 2-2, the better sequence would have been to go curve or change-up.
After the walk, Adam Hall grounded a first-pitch fastball into a 4-6-3 double play. The pitch was running into Hall’s hands. A perfect example of less being more and using plus stuff to induce weak contact. Medina faced Robert Neustrom, a lefty hitter to start the second inning. He missed with a 95 mph fastball away to go 1-0 and then threw three beautiful pitches to get the swinging K. Neustrom fouled back a 95 mph outside heater and then looked fooled entirely, half swinging at 97 away. Medina did not try to muscle up and blow Neustrom away with high cheddar. He went to a plus curve that Neustrom had no chance to hit.
Cervenka came to the plate again….the fun of Instructs, and worked another long at-bat. Medina got to 1-2 on CB away for ball 1. Cervenka took the next two – a curve and fastball for strikes. Medina then went curveball and fastball away to get a full count. This time he dropped in another plus hammer to get Cervenka swinging. Medina walked the next hitter, Ian Evans on six pitches. He battled, missing primarily with fastballs. After the walk, Brandon Becker grounded the first pitch he saw, 97 away, for a 6-3 put out.
Overall, I thought Medina looked relaxed and poised on the mound. He was able to follow up the walks with plus fastballs on the corners that generated weak contact. However, advanced hitters that know of his command struggles wouldn’t have bailed him out so easily. His fastball has serious sink and run and only straightens out when he muscles up. I was expecting, based on all the reports, to see an erratic pitcher that struggled to repeat his delivery. Instead I saw an athletic, but still raw, pitcher that was around the plate. There is a lot to like….nay love about his upside.
Following Medina was the Yankees 11th round pick this past June, Tanner Myatt. Myatt is a 6’7″220-pound RHP from Florence-Darlington Tech in South Carolina. Myatt’s delivery is deceptive, with a 3/4 slot and a cross body arm action. His FB sat 94-95 mph and his curve, 76-77 mph, flashed tight spin with two-plane movement.
Myatt pitched two innings, retiring all six hitters, striking out four in a row. He threw 26 pitches, 17 for strikes. Myatt was the most impressive pitcher of the afternoon, using his FB to both sides of the plate, flashing occasional run. His curve is a nice wrinkle, and he showed an ability to command it down in the zone to both righties and lefties. I was impressed with his pitchability. I thought he threw one change-up at 90 mph but based on how firm it was, it could have been a fastball as well.
Glen Otto followed Myatt and allowed a lead-off double before retiring the next three batters in order. In his lone inning, Otto’s fastball touched 96, and he flashed a hard-spinning curveball. Young RHP Jhony Brito pitched the sixth inning, throwing a fastball (92-93 mph), curve (78 mph), and a nice change-up (84 mph) that flashed depth and fade.
Up until the 7th inning, the Yankees had allowed only one hit, an Adam Hall double off Otto. Juan Then entered in the 7th and was hit hard. After retiring his first hitter, he allowed a single, and back-to-back doubles (both were smoked), and a walk. A visit to the mound seemed to settle him down; he retired the next hitter via strikeout on three pitches. An impressive sequence, starting with two curveballs followed by a high 92 mph heater. Another double plated two more runs. Then ended his afternoon with another 3-pitch strikeout.
Overall, the young right-hander struggled with fastball command. Leaving pitches up in the zone. The fastball was straight and lacked life. His curveball is an average to above-average offering at present, and he showed a good feel for the pitch. He was at his best when getting ahead with the curve and locating the fastball. Of the four hits allowed, all hard contact, three came off the fastball when he was behind in the count.
Alexander Vizcaino and Rodney Hutchinson pitched the eighth and ninth innings, facing the minimum to close out the game. Vizcaino’s fastball touched 96 while Hutchinson relies on location and movement to generate weak contact.