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Prospect Profile: Luis Gil

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With 60% of their rotation on the IL (injured or COVID), the Yankees turned to young righthander Luis Gil to step into the rotation. And, if you’ve been paying attention the past few weeks, you’ve seen that he has been marvelous. In 2 starts, he has thrown 11 innings without allowing a single run and only walking 3 batters total. Here is how good his first two starts have been:

https://twitter.com/nyyankeesstats/status/1424447221651628044

He has become must-watch television, so, let’s get to know him in preparation for his start against Boston this afternoon.

The Particulars

  • Position: SP
  • Born: 06/03/1998
  • Bats: R
  • Throws: R
  • Height: 6’2″
  • Weight: 185

Background

The lean 23 year-old righty was signed for just $90,000 by the Twins from the Dominican Republic in 2015. He was acquired in what seemed to be a minor trade in spring 2018 when the Yankees traded outfielder Jake Cave for him.

The Story So Far

Gil’s career got off to a rocky start due to shoulder surgery in 2016 that kept him out the entire year. He spent all of 2017 in the Twins rookie ball affiliate throwing 41.2 innings across 14 starts with a strong 27.7% K rate and a less-than-desired 11.3% walk rate. Batters hit a weak .204 against him leading to a 3.34 FIP.

The Yankees started him out in rookie ball as well, where he upped his K rate to a staggering 35.8% while the walks remained at 15.4%. He ended the 2018 season with the low-A team making 2 starts for them.

In 2019, Gil moved his way up to A ball and high-A ball making 20 starts. In those 96 innings across two levels he pitched to a 2.72 ERA striking out 123 and a far-too-high 47 walks.

After being sequestered at the alternate site for 2020, the Yankees bumped Gil up to AA to start his age-23 season. He made 7 dominant starts there where he struckout 38.5% of batters faced while walking a better 10% of them. That got him a promotion to AAA where in 8 starts, he struggled pitching to a 5.74 ERA and 5.91 FIP. The K’s were down to 27.7% and the walks back up to 16.8%. Despite clearly needing more time to adjust to AAA, Gil was called into action for the Yanks on August 3 against Baltimore and again on the 8th against Seattle. In those two starts, he has a 0.00 ERA, 1.45 FIP, 2.38 xERA, 32.6% K rate and 7% walk rate. Dominant. Enjoy some video:

Scouting Notes

As you’ve undoubtedly seen watching him and in that video, Gil dominates with his fastball. MLB Pipeline gave it a scouting grade of 75 out of 80, and ranked it the best fastball in the Yankees system. In his two starts, he has thrown the heater 54% of the time, and it averages 96 mph with an elite 2,450 rpm spin rate. For reference, that would rank him 17th in baseball, just behind Gerrit Cole. Thanks to elite velocity and movement, Gil has a strong 35.2% whiff rate on the pitch. Gil clearly uses the north-south approach to throw his heater up in the zone.

We’ve written extensively about the necessity to locate four-seamers up in the zone, and that is what Gil has done thus far through two starts. Notably, see the lack of fastballs wasted way above the zone. That tells me a lot about his fastball command.

Gil’s main off-speed pitch is his slider, which he throws 34% of the time. That pitch has a 2,500 rpm spin rate and a 28.6% whiff rate. Unlike his fastball, Gil does not have great command of his slider as seen by this pitch plot:

For the north-south approach, you would expect Gil to consistently throw his slider down in the zone and below the zone to get swings-and-misses, but it is clear that is not what is happening. Interestingly, Gil uses his slider early in the count to try and steal strikes, throwing it nearly 33% of the time as a first pitch to hitters or in 0-1 counts. His count breakdown tells an interesting story:

Gil’s most common put away pitch is actually his fastball, followed by the slider. That data combined with the slider pitch plot tells the story of a young pitcher who has control but not command of his slider. He can throw it for strikes but he struggled to locate it well within and below the zone. Take another look at that slider pitch plot and notice how there are virtually none in the bottom right quadrant which is exactly where you want to throw a slider.

Gil’s third pitch is a changeup which he uses barely 12% of the time. It functions more like a sinker since he throws it at 93mph.

From a scouting perspective, it is clear Gil’s room for growth is with his off-speed pitches. Honing his slider command and gaining trust in the changeup will cement Gil as a starting pitcher moving forward and a key cog in the Yankee rotation.

Prospect Lists

As you might imagine, Gil is all over the Yankees prospect lists. He is 6th on the preseason MLB Pipeline list, 12th according to FanGraphs, and 5th on the recently updated Baseball America list. Here is a snipped of the MLB scouting report:

Gil has higher-octane stuff than most starters, beginning with a fastball that operates at 95-98 mph for several innings at a time and regularly reaches triple digits with significant riding life up in the strike zone. He made progress last year with his power breaking ball that features slider velocity in the mid-80s and sometimes has more of a curveball shape. He also has a hard changeup that parks around 90 mph with fade and sink, though it lacks consistency. 

Gil generates premium velocity with relatively little effort but has difficulty harnessing his stuff. He reduced his walk rate to a career-best 4.2 per nine innings in low Class A in 2019 but will have to throw more strikes and continue to refine his secondary pitches in order to make it as a starter. His live arm potentially could make him a closer if he winds up in the bullpen.

MLB Pipeline

That scouting report jives with what we have seen thus far from Gil. Elite fastballs, developing breaking balls, and question marks about his control.

2021 Outlook

Based on his two starts, I’d say Gil has earned the right to stay in the big leagues, at least above Andrew Heaney. Granted, it’s just been two starts against middling offenses. Today against Boston will be a huge test for Gil. No matter what, this year has been an unmitigated success for Gil. Even MLB Pipeline didn’t think he would reach the big leagues until next year.

The biggest thing to monitor with Gil is the walks. They have plagued him throughout his minor league career, and although they haven’t been an issue in his 2 starts, I worry once the league figures him out they could be a concern. The scary parallel is what is happening with Deivi García. After consistent walk rates of 11% in the minors, he came up last year and only walked 4% of batters. People thought he turned the corner, yet he is now walking a career high 16% of batters down in AAA. That is why I am cautiously optimistic about Gil and will continue to monitor his walks going forward. For a guy who hadn’t thrown above A ball before this year, it is a huge accomplishment for Gil and the Yankees pitching development staff that he is in the big leagues having success. So let’s all enjoy the young stud pitching the Yankees towards October glory.

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DoTF: Volpe continues to mash, Frazier starts rehab

News & Notes

  • Clarke Schmidt was scheduled to throw a rehab game in Somerset tonight but the game was rained out. Corey Kluber will start there on Thursday.
  • Clint Frazier began a rehab stint with Tampa tonight.
  • Got a slew of promotions and demotions:

Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

The RailRiders got blown out 8-1 against Lehigh Valley due to another poor start from Deivi. They are 49-31 overall.

  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Deivi García: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 5 BB, 4 K – 53% strikes…has 43 walks allowed in just 59 innings. INWYW
  • In Relief: RHP Reggie McClain: 1.2 IP, zeroes, 2 K – 70% strikes
  • In Relief: RHP Braden Bristo: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K – 70% strikes
  • In Relief: RHP Ron Marinaccio: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 4 K – tough AAA debut after sealing Somerset’s nono on Sunday
  • In Relief: Greg Weissert: 0.1 IP, zeroes – 75% strikes…has a 1.88 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in AAA
  • Offensive Star: C Donny Sands: 1-3, 1 HR, 1 BB – responsible for the only run of the game…has a .940 OPS in 13 AAA games after the promotion
  • Florial Watch: CF Estevan Florial: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 K – hitting below the Mendoza line in AAA
  • Leftovers: Kyle Holder had a multi-hit game…Socrates Brito had a hit and so did legend Greg Allen

Double-A Somerset Patriots

Their game against Portland was rained out. It will be made up tomorrow.

High-A Hudson Valley Renegades

The ‘Gades had a nice 7-4 win behind homers from Anthony Volpe, Pat DeMarco, and Everson Pereira moving them to 54-31 on the season.

  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Mitch Spence: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K – 65% strikes
  • In Relief: RHP Freicer Perez: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K – 54% strikes…nearly 2 K’s per inning, but the rest ain’t so great
  • In Relief: RHP Trevor Holloway: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K – 69% strikes
  • Offensive Star: SS Anthony Volpe: 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI – has 18 HR on the year and is demolishing High-A pitching to the tune of a 1.029 OPS
  • Homer Watch: CF Everson Pereira and LF Pat DeMarco had a homer each
  • Leftovers: C Austin Wells had a single and RF Jake Sanford had a triple

Low-A Tampa Tarpons

The Tarpons lost a close one 3-2 against Clearwater tonight. It was tied 2-2 until the 8th. They are 56-27 on the year.

  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Juan Carela: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 4 K – 59% strikes…has a 4.91 ERA but a great 1.01 WHIP
  • In Relief: LHP Clay Aguilar: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K – 68% strikes…has 42 K’s in 28.2 IP
  • In relief: RHP Wellington Diaz: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 K – 53% strikes
  • Rehab Watch: DH Clint Frazier: 2-4, 1 2B, 2 K – first rehab game for Clint
  • Martian Watch: CF Jasson Dominguez: 0-4, 3 K – the Martian is 1 for his last 15 and is down to a .688 OPS with Tampa. Let’s see how he adjusts
  • First Round Watch: SS Trey Sweeney: 0-4, 2 K – hitless in Tampa so far

Florida Complex League

The FCL Yanks scored 6 in the 8th to beat the FCL Blue Jays 13-5. They are 19-7 overall.

  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Nolan Martinez: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K – the 3rd rounder has a 3.00 ERA
  • In Relief: RHP Alfred Vega: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K
  • In Relief: RHP Osiel Rodriguez: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K – the Int’l bonus baby has struggled thus far in his first stateside action
  • In Relief: RHP Kevin Milam: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K
  • Offensive Star: LF Kyle Battle: 2-5, 2 R, 4 RBI
  • Prospect Watch: SS Alexandar Vargas: 2-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, 3 K
  • Homer Watch: 1B Anthony Garcia: 1-1, 1 HR, 4 BB – wowzers. has 8 HR in just 18 games
  • Leftovers: DH Antonio Gomez also had a multi-hit game with a double

Dominican Summer League

DSL Yankees1 lost 4-1 to Phillies Red and DSL Yankees2 lost 6-1 to DSL Colorado.

DoTF: Homers galore for top prospects

News & Notes

  • Oswald Peraza has not been traded. He was scratched from Somerset’s lineup due to a personal family matter per Eli Fishman on Twitter
  • The Athletic’s Keith Law was in Somerset this weekend to watch the Patriots and he has notes on Hayden Wesneski, Oswald Peraza, and Dermis Garcia. It’s behind a paywall, so here’s the skinny: Wesneski has reliever risk, Peraza has strong hands and power, and Garcia remains as committed to three true outcomes as anyone.

Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

The RailRiders lost this one 7-4 to Rochester despite another home run from Hoy Park, his 2nd in 2 days. They are now 45-23 on the year.

  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Deivi García: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 1 K – 58% strikes…has 38 walks in just 53 innings. Really struggling this year.
  • No relief: RHP Nick Nelson: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 1 K – 54% strikes…nice to know he’s not getting it done in AAA either I guess
  • In relief: RHP Adam Warren: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K – 72% strikes…has a 2.67 ERA in 33.2 IP in AAA, wonder if he could get called back up sometime
  • In relief: RHP Brooks Kriske: 1.0 IP, zeroes, 1 K – 43% strikes…effectively wild as they say
  • In Relief: RHP Nick Green: 1.0 IP, zeroes, 1 BB, 1 K – 47% strikes
  • Hoy Parks One: DH Hoy Park: 1-3, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 BB – see video below of Park’s 2nd straight day with a homer
  • Multi-hit Watch: 3B Armando Alvarez: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI
  • Leftovers: Andrew Velazquez had a triple…Socrates Brito, Frederick Cuevas, and Brandon Wagner had a single apiece to round out the offense.

Double-A Somerset Patriots

Fresh off #MedinaWatch, Luis Medina threw nearly 6 shutout innings to lead Somerset to a nice and easy 7-0 win over Altoona. They are now 43-28 overall.

  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Luis Medina: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 6 K – 56% strikes…a few too many walks, see video of K’s below
  • In Relief: RHP Michael Gomez: 1.1 IP, zeroes, 1 K – 85% strikes!
  • In Relief: RHP Ron Marinaccio: 2.0 IP, 1 H, zeroes – 62% strikes
  • Offensive Star: 2B Jesus Bastidas: 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI
  • Dermis Blastoff: DH Dermis Garcia: 1-5, 1 HR, 2 K
  • Multi-hit Watch: CF Brandon Lockridge and 3B Oswaldo Cabrera were both 2-5
  • Leftovers: Diego Castillo, Jason Lopez, and Max Burt each had one hit.

High-A Hudson Valley Renegades

The ‘Gades singled and walked (12 on the day!) their way to a 10-8 win over Aberdeen pushing them to 47-25 on the year.

  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Reid Anderson: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 3 K – 63% strikes…got hit around but not walking anyone made the difference today, though he did hit 3 batters
  • In Relief: RHP Alexander Vizcaíno: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 0 K – 68% strikes
  • In Relief: RHP Nelson Alvarez: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K – 67% strikes
  • In Relief: RHP Sean Boyle: 1.0 IP, 1 H, zeroes, 1 K – 77% strikes to pick up his first save…yet to allow a run in 12 High-A innings
  • First Round Watch: DH Anthony Volpe: 1-4, 1 HR, 1 BB, 3 R – has 15 home runs on the year now, more power than anyone expected
  • First Round Watch: C Anthony Seigler: 1-4, 2 BB – nice to see the walks
  • Multi-hit Watch: LF Jake Sanford: 2-4, 1 R, 1 BB – .952 OPS in High-A, look for a promotion soon
  • Leftovers: RF Elijah Dunham had a double…CF Pablo Olivares had the other hit…somehow scored 10 runs despite going 3-18 with RISP thanks to those 12 walks.

Low-A Tampa Tarpons

After a close win yesterday, the Tarpons are back to their mashing ways hitting 3 home runs en route to an 8-3 win over Clearwater giving them a 48-23 record.

  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Jhonatan Munoz: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 K – 76% strikes
  • In Relief: RHP Nicio Rodriguez: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 4 K – 69% strikes
  • In Relief: LHP Edgar Barclay: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K – 60% strikes…has 73 K’s in just 48.2 IP
  • Martian Watch: CF Jasson Dominguez: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K – first hitless game with Tampa…bust! jk he still got on base
  • First Round Watch: C Austin Wells: 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 K – the hr had a 109 mph exit velo and the double a 106…that’ll play anywhere
  • Hauver Heat Check: 2B Trevor Hauver: 1-2, 1 HR, 2 BB – also hit a 109 mph exit velo homer
  • Homer Watch: DH Evan Alexander: 1-3, 1 HR
  • Leftovers: Ryder Green, Luis Santos, and Pedro Diaz had 1 hit each to round out the offense

Florida Complex League & Dominican Summer League

All had their regular Sunday days off

DoTF: Siegler Powers Hudson Valley to Wild Comeback Win

Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

The RailRiders dropped this one 6-3 to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs behind another poor start from Deivi García. The loss gives them a still stellar 30-13 record on the year, tops in the minors.

  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Deivi García: 2.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 1 K – 30 of 54 strikes (56%)…don’t think anyone had Deivi with an 8.80 ERA in AAA in the plans this year
  • In Relief: RHP Braden Bristo: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K – 66% strikes…had the elusive 4 K inning in this one
  • Rehab Watch: LHP Justin Wilson: 1.0 IP, zeroes, 1 K – 67% strikes, see you in the Bronx soon
  • In Relief: RHP Greg Weissert: 2.0 IP, zeroes, 4 K – 67% strikes, 25 K in 16.1 IP on the season allowing no runs
  • In Relief: LHP Trevor Lane: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K – 70% strikes
  • Offensive Star: CF Estevan Florial: 1-2, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 3 BB – nice to see three walks on the night for Florial
  • Leftovers: 1B Chris Gittens, 2B Derek Dietrich, and DH Greg Allen had one hit each rounding out the offense that struggled against former first overall pick Mark Appel

Double-A Somerset Patriots

Janson Junk kept his amazing season going leading to a 7-4 victory for the Patriots over the Portland Sea Dogs. They are 30-15 on the season.

  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Janson Junk: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K – 55 of 79 strikes (70%)…the reigning AA player of the week has a 1.07 ERA on the year and is deserving of a promotion to AAA soon
  • In Relief: RHP Kevin Gadea: 2.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 2 K – 69% strikes and struggled big time to close this one out
  • Offensive Star: SS Diego Castillo: 3-5, 1 HR, 3 R – has a .967 OPS on the season
  • Peraza Watch: DH Oswald Peraza: 2-5, 2 R, 3 K
  • Platinum Sombrero Watch: 1B Dermis Garcia: 0-5, 5 K…yikes
  • Leftovers: C Donny Sands had 2 hits including a solo homerun

High-A Hudson Valley Renegades

The Renegades scored 4 each in the 7th and 8th to complete a comeback 11-9 win over the Wilmington Blue Rocks to move to 29-16 on the year.

  • Starting Pitcher: RHP Reid Anderson: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K – 64% strikes…bet the Renegades wish he lasted longer in this one because…
  • Providing No Relief: RHP Nelson Alvarez: 0.1 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 1 K – 54% strikes…ERA jumped from 4.50 to 9.58 after this one
  • In Relief: LHP Matt Minnick: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K – 58% strikes…has a 1.89 ERA so far
  • In Relief: RHP Charlie Ruegger: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 K – 72% strikes and picked up the victory
  • Offensive Star: C Anthony Seigler: 2-4, 1 2B, 4 RBI – had a bases clearing double in the 7th to spearhead the comeback (video below)
  • Offensive Star 2: DH Ezequiel Duran: 3-5, 2 R, 1 RBI
  • Leftovers: 1B Kyle MacDonald and 2B Eduardo Torrealba both went 2-4 with a double each…LF Isaiah Pasteur had a homerun in the 7th.

Low-A Tampa Tarpons

Tampa’s game against Lakeland was rained out. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader tomorrow.

Thoughts as Voit and Kluber head to the injured list

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The Yankees have a double-header this afternoon after yesterday’s washout, and the team will make a handful of roster moves beforehand. A couple will be replacements for Luke Voit and Corey Kluber, who are headed to the injured list. Another will be the 27th man for today’s two games. In the meantime, here are some thoughts on where the Yankees go from here in light of yesterday’s news:

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