YACKSEL RIOS, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: June 27, 1993
Drafted: 12th Round, 391st Overall, 2011 (Phillies)
How Acquired: Waiver claim (from Phillies)
High School: Doctora Conchita Cuevas HS (Gurabo, Puerto Rico)
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|The Phillies drafted Rios out of Puerto Rico and he made his way slowly through their farm system. He never made any of Baseball America’s prospect lists, even in the years when the Phillies had one of baseball’s weakest farm systems. Rios’ fastball sits around 96 mph and he throws his slider a little over a third of the time. He also throws a change on infrequent occasions. Rios is not a groundball pitcher. He hasn’t had a platoon split in the minors, but in the majors left-handed batters have piled up an OPS of 1.087 against him. He’s had gopher ball problems at the major league level, giving up two for every nine innings.
Rios relieved in ten games after signing and had a rough time, with significant control problems.
The Phillies sent Rios back to the Gulf Coast League, where he appeared in 13 games, four starts. He made great strides with his control, but got hit hard and didn’t miss many bats.
Rios moved up to the New York-Penn League, where he pitched mostly as a starter. He got solid results, with a low K rate.
Moving up to full season ball, Rios began the season as a reliever, pitching in relief 20 times, but made his last 13 appearances as a starter. His overall results were nearly identical to the previous year. He pitched a good deal better as a reliever, with a 3.08 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, as opposed to 4.06 and 1.51 as a starter.
Rios put up improved numbers, although that probably had at least partially to do with the pitching-dominated Florida State League. He continued to divide his time between starting and relieving.
The Phillies sent Rios to AA to open the season, but a high walk rate and opponents batting .294 against him, the Phillies sent him to high A. He got hammered severely as a starter, but pitched better when he moved back to relief.
The Phillies moved Rios to the bullpen, except for one start, and he had his best season. He dominated at the AA and AAA levels, with a much higher K rate. The Phillies added him to the roster and called him up in late August, and he pitched decently the rest of the season.
Rios spent the season shuttling back and forth between AAA and the majors. He wasn’t effective at either location, although he maintained a good K rate.
Rios spent most of the season’s first four months in AAA pitching very badly. He made a few dismal appearances for the Phillies, who finally designated him for assignment at the trade deadline. The Pirates claimed him on waivers. Despite the ERA, he didn’t pitch especially well there, but the Pirates called him up in September. He didn’t pitch well in the majors, either, with opponents batting 263/370/474 against him. He continued to struggle badly against left-handed batters, allowing them a 1.332 OPS between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
There’s nothing at all in Rios’ history that suggests he can be a useful pitcher at the major league level, but the Pirates’ inability to develop pitching has left them claiming other teams’ rejects. Rios has an option left, but the Pirates could do better if they were serious about trying to improve.
|2020: Major league minimum|
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2011
MLB Debut: 8/22/17
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2024
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 11/18/2016
Options Remaining: 1 (USED: 2018, 2019)
MLB Service Time: 1.036
|June 7, 2011: Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 12th round, 391st overall pick; signed on June 13.
August 22, 2017: Contract purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies.
July 29, 2019: Designated for assignment by the Philadelphia Phillies.
August 3, 2019: Claimed off waivers from the Philadelphia Phillies by the Pittsburgh Pirates.