It was a dominant two-start week that forced us to award the third MMN Pitcher of the Week award to Gabriel Ynoa today. On the 27th, he earned the win against the Greenville Drive by throwing eight innings of one-run ball, allowing six hits, no walks, and six strikeouts. He followed that performance with one eerily similar yesterday against the Kannapolis Intimidators. Ynoa once again threw a complete game while allowing only one run, five hits, no walks, and four strikeouts. Talk about consistency.
In yesterday’s victory, Ynoa matched zeroes for the first three innings with Kannapolis starter Kyle Hansen, but the Sand Gnats busted the game open in the top of the fourth with a five-run inning, which was more than enough for the young right-hander. His total stats for the week are ridiculous, and Montero-esque: 2-0 record, 16 innings pitched, one run, 11 hits, no walks, and 10 strikeouts.
This is the second time Ynoa hasn’t allowed a walk in consecutive starts in 2013. The last time he accomplished this was against Kannapolis on May 2nd and the Hickory Crawdads on May 7th, which were also back-to-back wins. Ynoa hasn’t lost since dropping two straight decisions in the middle of April, spanning seven starts. He’s received one no decision in that time, while collecting six victories.
With Rainy Lara promoted to Advanced-A St. Lucie, this is Ynoa’s time to shine as a top of the rotation pitcher for the Gnats. He currently owns a 6-2 record with a 3.19 ERA, 50 strikeouts and nine walks in 53.2 innings pitched. Out of his 10 starts in 2013, the right-hander has lasted at least six innings on seven occasions. The most innings he’s thrown in his professional career to this point is 76.1 frames, which he accomplished last season with the Brooklyn Cyclones. As he starts to get into uncharted territory with regard to workload, it will be interesting to see how he reacts on the mound.
Before yesterday’s start, this week’s race was neck-and-neck with Ynoa and his teammate, Luis Cessa. On Saturday in Kannapolis, Cessa put together his best start of the season; he threw 7.2 shutout innings, allowed two hits on no walks, and struck out 10 hitters en route to earning his third win of the season. However, it was the second-straight dominant performance from Ynoa yesterday that set him apart from the rest of the pack in earning this week’s award.
Congratulations, Gabriel! It must have been a fun week for him to pitch, and really a fun month of May (4-0 record, 3.06 ERA, three walks, 31 strikeouts in 32.1 innings pitched). Let’s hope we’ll continue seeing this kind of success from the tall right-hander as we move closer to mid-season.