The Rays have a tremendous number of high-quality prospects in their system. We at RCG are bringing you an in-depth look at those we consider to be the Top 50.
While gathering as much information as possible from various sources, we’re going to put it all together for your enjoyment and raise the bar on what you expect from a prospect knowledgable site. Stay tuned, check-in often, and please let us know how we’re doing.
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Being such a lengthy process, some encouragement will go a very long way. We hope you’ll enjoy reading this series as much as we enjoy putting it together. If anything, all of us will know that much more about the quality of the Rays system.
The rankings will be based on all aspects of each prospect, but will focus first on how likely the player is to make an impact in MLB, and ceiling next.
Once completed, the Top 50 will be updated mid-season with an explanation to why they’re moving up or down, and the entire process will be repeated each season.
The fifth player to be examined in detail is our first pitcher covered….
#41: Angel Maria (Torres) Yepez, SP, 20 years old
- Throws: Right Ht/Wt: 6’1″ 215 lbs
- Signed: As an international free agent February 20th, 2013
- 2015 Affiliate: Hudson Valley Renegades
- Anticipated MLB Arrival: 2019+
- Twitter: @angelpray_67757
Yepez’ 2015 Splits
- Was not listed on BA’s Top 30 International Prospects list in 2013
- Suspended 50 games in 2013 for testing positive for metabolites of Nandrolone
- Hudson Valley Renegades coach had this to say about one of Yepez’ best 2015 starts: “He walked the leadoff man in the second, and then he just caught fire and retired the next 15 in a row. It was great to see.”
- Made the NYP Mid-Season All-Star team in 2015 alongside OF Joe McCarthy
- Did not allow a single HR in 2015 and only 4 of them over his 144 innings in the minors
- Threw 67% of his pitches for strikes in 2015
- Has steadily increased his K/9 from 5.91 in 2013 to 7.57 in 2015
- Simultaneously, his H/9 improved from 10.97 in 2013 to 8.60 in 2015 and his BB/9 from 4.22 in 2013 to 1.97 in 2015
Tweeted the following before a start, showing us a bit of his spiritual side:
Best Tools & Abilities
- Reaches Mid 90s
- Poise and Aggressiveness
- Improving Secondary Stuff
There are a few gems lower down in the minors that few Rays fans know about. There are two that we’ll expose higher up in our Top 30 range, but Yepez is then first that we touch on based on how we’re releasing each ranked player. The unfortunate event in his case is the positive drug test, but that’s years behind us now and we’re moving forward with what he’s accomplished since then.
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If the stats above aren’t enough to grab your attention, let me point you to his FIP progression since 2013,
- 6.31 in 2013, 2.75 in 2014 (GCL), 3.49 in 2014 (Rk), and 2.63 in NYP in 2015
Yepez has the stuff and ability to be utterly dominant when he’s on and he rarely makes big mistakes that result in a big inning for his opponents. He only allowed 4 ER once in 2015 and though 8 of his 12 starts he gave up 2 runs or less while averaging 5 IP per start.
There a chance that Yepez wore down over the last few starts, as indicated by his allowing 3 or more ER in 3 of the last 4 starts he made. However, he also struck out 7 hitters twice over his last 3 starts, both season highs, and one of those was a 6 inning no-hitter against the baby Yankees.
In short, stamina may be an issue he has to overcome going forward, but with a likely assignment to full-season ball for the first time, Yepez should have every opportunity to build up his strength and stamina.
Another couple of aspects that makes Yepez intriguing are his ability to get RHB out handily (.240/.269/.310) and his performance against older hitters (.251/.292/.335), both of which bode well for his continued success in LoA.
As with so many international free agent signing, it’s hard to peg down exactly what our expectations should be for Angel Yepez. He’s definitely an intriguing talent that deserves more attention than he gets but to call him an elite prospect at this point would be stretching it.
All-in-all, if he can show everyone that he can translate his stuff as a starter in full-season ball, he’ll put himself on the map as a Top 30 Rays prospect. With the way he’s handled older hitters and RHB so far, we expect him to have a good chance to make MLB as a reliever at a minimum, possibly as a starter if his stamina holds up going forward.
We expect him to jump up these rankings by mid-season and to be one of a trio of international free agents to become prominent pieces of the Rays pitching prospect core. As they continue to promote pitchers at an outstanding rate, Yepez is simply a continuation of the Rays dominance in developing pitchers for the majors.
For timing, we expect Yepez to make it to LoA in 2016 and possibly HiA/AA in 2017 depending on how strong he pitches in 2016.
A nice slow-motion video of Angel Yepez and his mechanics: