Yohander Mendez Scouting Report (2014)
As a 19-year-old in the South Atlantic League, Texas Rangers pitching prospect Yohander Mendez is stymieing the competition. Against a lineup with top Rockies prospects David Dahl, Raimel Tapia and Ryan McMahon, Mendez struck out 10 in six shutout innings. The young lefty dominated hitters by changing eye levels with a fastball and sinking changeup. Is Mendez another command/control Sally-League dominating Sally hitters or a legitimate prospect?
Listed at 6-foot-4 and 178 pounds, Yohander Mendez presented as shorter and a lighter on the mound. To compete at the upper levels, Mendez needs to add muscle mass — especially in the lower half. At present, his upper body is responsible for creating the velocity Mendez has. The result is effort in his delivery. Plus, his arm drags behind his lower half until it’s forced to catch up. Mendez’s violent arm whip is an injury concern and he’s already missed time with elbow issues. In the windup, Mendez pauses prior to delivering the pitch. This pronounced hesitation keeps opposing hitters off balance initially, but his arm slot and throwing motion is generic otherwise.
Mendez throws a two-seam and a four-seam fastball. Throughout the appearance, the left-hander controlled the strike zone, working the corners more effectively than most teenage pitchers. His two-seam fastball sat 86-87 MPH with a touch of arm side run and drop. The pitch was effective because Mendez kept the pitch at the knees.
To change the eye level of hitters, Mendez threw a four-seam fastball at 88-89 MPH with sneaky, late life. As hitters adjusted for change-ups and two-seam fastballs at the knees, Mendez would pop 89 MPH at the letters, resulting in a number of swings and misses. The velocity of both fastballs played up in game action.
His breaking pitch was an 80-81 MPH slider with early, slurvy break. He gives away the pitch by hooking his wrist hard as he snaps the pitch. This causes it to flatten out and be less effective. Used sparingly, it’s is a below average offering at present.
Mendez’s best pitch is a 78-81 MPH change-up. This pitched kept every Asheville hitter off balance and was the catalyst behind his domination. A potential plus change-up, Mendez is able to replicate the spin of his two-seam fastball. The pitch features late drop and ideal speed differential. At the upper levels, the change-up should continue to miss barrels even if Mendez’s velocity isn’t enough to keep more advanced hitters honest. Later in the game, Mendez slowed his arm action when throwing the pitch. With the Rangers history of developing pitchers with good change-ups, this flaw will be corrected.
Yohander Mendez is an impressive 19-year-old pitcher with physical projection left. If the left-hander grows into a low-90’s fastball, then the two-pitch combination will be enough for him to reach Texas. Regardless, left-handed pitching prospects with a solid fastball/change-up shred hitters in the lower minor leagues. A healthy Mendez will thrive until he reaches the upper levels. At that point, the real test begins.
TOOL PRESENT FUTURE PROJECTED ROLE FOURTH STARTER WITH FLOOR OF TWO-PITCH RELIEVER Fastball 35 50 Slider 25 35 Changeup 45 60 Control 40 55 Command 40 50
Owning Yohander Mendez
In Reality Fantasy Baseball, a league with 24 teams and 85 roster slots, Mendez is worth owning. In any other format, it’s too early to spend a roster spot on him. If anything, add Mendez to deep A.L. only watch lists and see how he holds up over a full season as Yohander Mendez is currently on the 7-day disabled list.
29 Apr 2014 / Chris Blessing /
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