Yoervis Medina

Born: July 27, 1988
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 245
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Signed: Int’l free agent, 2005 (Mariners)
How Acquired: Waiver claim (from Cubs)
Country: Venezuela
Agent: Sports One Athlete Management


Medina developed slowly with Seattle, spending four years in the Venezuela Summer League and not reaching AA until near the end of his sixth year as a pro.  He reached the majors after moving to the bullpen.  He had two good years with the Mariners, although his FIP and xFIP were higher than his ERA both years.  During those two years, Medina threw his fastball mostly in the 94-95 range, with his main secondary pitch being a curve.  He missed a lot of bats and had a very high groundball rate.  He was effective against both left- and right-handed hitters, but did have trouble throwing strikes.  In 2015, Medina mysteriously fell off a cliff, with his velocity and groundball rate both dropping sharply, along with his overall effectiveness.  Seattle traded him to the Cubs, who kept him in AAA most of the rest of the year and put him on waivers after the season.  The Pirates claimed him.

VSL:  3-4-1, 3.60 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 50.0 IP, 2.5 BB/9, 4.0 K/9

Medina pitched decently in his debut, although he struck out very few batters.

VSL:  4-2-2, 3.42 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 50.0 IP, 3.4 BB/9, 6.5 K/9

The Mariners sent Medina back to the VSL and he got hit much harder.

VSL:  4-3-5, 1.79 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 43.1 IP, 2.7 BB/9, 8.0 K/9

Medina went back to the VSL for his third year and served as a closer, putting up good numbers.

VSL:  3-4-1, 2.65 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 68.0 IP, 3.0 BB/9, 8.2 K

The Mariners sent Medina back to the VSL for a fourth year, this time mainly as a starter.  He had another good year, with solid numbers across the board.

A-:  3-2-0, 4.20 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 40.2 IP, 3.3 BB/9, 10.6 K/9
A:  5-0-0, 2.50 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 36.0 IP, 3.0 BB/9, 10.5 K/9
AAA:  1-0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 5.2 IP, 6.4 BB/9, 6.4 K/9

The Mariners moved Medina up to short season ball, where he mostly struggled as a starter, apart from a very high K rate.  They moved him up to low A for six late-season starts, though, and he pitched very well, again with a very high K rate.  Baseball America rated him the Mariners’ 30th best prospect after the season and Seattle added him to its 40-man roster.

R:  0-0-0, 7.20 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 5.0 IP, 1.8 BB/9, 16.2 K/9
A+:  1-13-0, 6.50 ERA, 1.75 WHIP, 101.0 IP, 3.4 BB/9, 6.5 K/9
AA:  0-1-0, 4.68 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 25.0 IP, 3.2 BB/9, 6.1 K/9

The Mariners sent Medina to High Desert in the California League, which is probably the most extreme hitting environment in organized baseball.  He had a terrible time there, as opponents batted .333 against him, with 19 HRs.  Seattle moved him up to AA for four late-season starts and, oddly enough, he was much more successful.  Medina went 0-7 in the Venezuelan Winter League, leaving him with a total of one win and 21 losses on the year.

AA:  5-5-5, 3.25 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 69.1 IP, 4.5 BB/9, 10.0 K/9

The Mariners moved Medina to relief in AA and he put up a very high K rate, but also had control problems.  He had a large platoon split, allowing a .649 OPS to right-handed hitters and .857 to left-handed hitters.

AAA:  0-1-0, 1.50 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 6.0 IP, 4.5 BB/9, 10.5 K/9
MLB:  4-6-1, 2.91 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 68.0 IP, 5.3 BB/9, 9.4 K/9

Medina appeared in four games in AAA, then spent the rest of the year in the Mariners’ bullpen.  He was very hard to hit, fanning over a batter an inning and holding opponents to a .201 average.  He did, however, have significant control issues.  He didn’t have a meaningful platoon split.

MLB:  5-3-0, 2.68 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 57.0 IP, 4.4 BB/9, 9.5 K/9

Medina spent the year with Seattle and produced similar results, although his walk rate improved from very high to just high.  He had a reverse platoon split, holding left-handed hitters to a .563 OPS and right-handed hitters to .691.

AAA (Sea):  1-0-1, 1.59 ERA, 0.35 WHIP, 5.2 IP, 1.6 BB/9, 6.4 K/9
AAA (ChiC):  0-2-1, 6.29 ERA, 1.78 WHIP, 34.1 IP, 5.5 BB/9, 9.2 K/9
MLB (Sea):  1-0-1, 3.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 12.0 IP, 5.3 BB/9, 6.8 K/9
MLB (ChiC):  0-0-0, 7.00 ERA, 1.78 WHIP, 9.0 IP, 4.0 BB/9, 7.0 K/9

Medina had a rough season, as everything about his game went south.  He lost a full two mph off his fastball, his K rate plummeted, and his ground ball rate went from over 53% to under 39%.  He also continued to struggle with the strike zone.  Seattle sent him to the minors in early May and traded him to the Cubs two weeks later.  Chicago called Medina up briefly twice and he struggled in the majors.  He spent most of the rest of the season with the Cubs’ AAA affiliate and pitched poorly there as well.  After the season, the Cubs designated Medina for assignment and the Pirates claimed him off waivers.

Medina will be one of a number of hard-throwing, right-handed relievers in spring training trying to win bullpen jobs with the Pirates, along with Juan Nicasio, Guido Knudson and Jorge Rondon.  All appear to be projects for pitching coach Ray Searage, who’ll be trying to duplicate his success with Arquimedes Caminero.  With Medina, the obvious questions will be why he lost velocity and whether the issue can be resolved.  Medina has no options left and have had to make the team out of camp, but the Pirates designated him for assignment to make room for A.J. Schugel.  He cleared waivers and was outrighted to Indianapolis.  If he does well there, he stands a reasonable chance of reaching Pittsburgh.

2016: Major league minimum
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2006
MLB Debut: 4/16/2013
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2020
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 11/19/2010
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2011, 2012, 2015)
MLB Service Time: 2.079
July 25, 2005: Signed as an international free agent with the Seattle Mariners.
November 19, 2010:
Contract purchased by the Seattle Mariners.
May 19, 2015: Traded by the Seattle Mariners to the Chicago Cubs for Welington Castillo.
December 17, 2015: Designated for assignment by the Chicago Cubs.
December 23, 2015: Claimed off waivers from the Chicago Cubs by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
January 19, 2016: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates; outrighted to AAA on January 29.