Rays Top 50 Prospects includes a tremendous number of high-quality prospects. 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. Mikie Mahtook and Enny Romero have been graduated to the majors and will not be included in these rankings.
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 next player to be examined in detail is …
#34: Yonny Enrique Chirinos, SP, 21 years old
- Throws: Right Ht/Wt: 6’2″ 170 lbs
- Signed: as an international free agent Jun 29th, 2012
- 2015 Affiliate: Mostly Bowling Green, LoA
- Anticipated MLB Arrival: 2020+
Chirinos’ 2015 Splits
- Started off his LoA career with 2 starts, 11 IP, 3 H 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 Ks while simultaneously earning the pitcher of the week award
- Hot Rods Pitching Coach Bill Moloney on Chirinos: “He kept the fastball down, but for me tonight, the big difference was he threw some more sliders than he did in his last game. We wanted to get them involved early, and it worked out really well for him.”
- Dominated so much while in Bowling Green (July) that many wondered more about how he’d handle adversity than whether or not he had great stuff
- Only allowed 2 walks in 29 IP in July
- Finished the season with two 7 IP starts where he allowed 2 ER each time, 1 BB, and 13 SO
- While in Bowling Green, did allow a .330 AVG and 1.58 Whip vs LHB, but balanced that with a .184 AVG and 0.72 Whip vs RHB
- Allowed a worrisome .357 AVG with a runner on 1B, but also managed a .241 AVG and 1.13 Whip with bases empty and an even better .196 AVG and 0.73 Whip with runners in scoring position
Best Tools & Abilities
- Effective 92-94 MPH Fastball
- Good Splitter and Slider
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The video included above gives you a good look at the kind of break and location that Chirinos was able to work with most of 2015. He made tremendous strides in improving his overall package and was tested as much as a result, pitching at 3 levels (albeit shortly in HiA). That allowed Chirinos to almost double his IP year-over-year and with the way he ended the year, he also showed he had plenty left in the tank.
Chirinos does have work to do to improve his outcome at higher levels. His approach vs LHB needs to be improved and he needs to work on his change up in order to be able to keep batters at higher levels off-balance. His ability to command his pitches is the key for Chirinos. He doesn’t have an overpowering fastball, but he locates it so well and is so aggressive on the mound that he is able to get ahead and stay ahead most of the time.
Thankfully for Chirinos and the Rays, he did face some adversity in 2015 and needed to work through it in order to end the year on a high note. His dominant start sure left us wanting more of it, but it’s good to know he can handle the pressure of adversity and make the needed adjustments to overcome them. His month of July remains one of the most outstanding accomplished in the entire Rays system in 2015, and that’s saying a lot when you consider the competition.
The next season will tell us how high the ceiling is for Chirinos. With his innings count about to go up substantially and with a full season ahead of him, he’s going to be tested and will do so in HiA to begin the season. As in 2015, if he has enough success for 2/3 of the season, a promotion to AA isn’t out of the question.
At this point, it’s easier to see Chirinos become a dominant back-end of the pen reliever than it is to see him as a starter. That would be his floor at this point. But if he’s able to improve his approach vs LHB and to improve his change up to the point where he can use it effectively – even if sparingly – he could remain a starter.
The list of intriguing Rays pitching prospects continues to grow and to show that the stream of potential starters has yet to diminish at all. If anything, it continues to defy the odds and remains one of the deepest pitching programs in the Majors.
Yonny Chirinos has the potential to become a workhorse starter and could reach a ceiling of a number three starter. But it’s the fact that his floor as a back-end-reliever is so high that makes his a prospect to keep an eye on in 2016. He may not have the pedigree of others in the system, but he sure has a ton of potential. We wish him all of the best as he heads to Charlotte and hope he remains healthy in 2016 and beyond.