He is Hard to Hit
While we looked at the numbers showing that Ynoa gets hit hard when he gets hit, how about the numbers that show how hard it has been to hit Ynoa this year?
- Whiff%- 65th percentile (29.4%)
- K%- 76th percentile (28.4%)
- Chase Rate- 77th percentile (30.4%)
That slider has been nasty. Opposing hitters almost have no chance when Ynoa has his A+ slider.
Check out these numbers on Ynoa’s slider:
- BA- .191
- xBA- .206
- SLG- .309
- xSLG- .349
- wOBA- .235
- xwOBA- .254
- Whiff%- 41.5%
- Average Exit Velocity- 86.2
That is an elite pitch. It helps his fastball play better than the metrics because hitters have to respect the slider. The fastball is a little flat, but 97 is tough when a batter has to respect one of the best sliders in the entire game.
FIP and xFIP Love Ynoa
For those who may not know what FIP is, it is fielding independent pitching, so it basically removes defense from the equation and looks at a pitcher’s performance based on what they can control, such as, strikeouts, walks, hit by pitches, and home runs.
A pitcher with a FIP higher than his ERA is generally considered lucky and could expect slight regression. A pitcher with a FIP lower than his ERA is usually unlucky and should turn it around in the future.
xFIP is to FIP what xERA is to ERA, it looks to give a more detailed look into what a pitcher’s FIP actually should be. In this case, Ynoa’s xFIP is actually better than his FIP, which suggests that Ynoa is pitching really well even though he is really only using two pitches.
So, while his FIP suggests the ERA should come up slightly, the xFIP suggests that it may not come up much at all. In fact, his FIP and xFIP suggests that his performance has not been a fluke.
With the Braves usual strong defense, it is possible that Ynoa can keep these numbers up if he can limit his home runs.
While Ynoa probably will not have a low 2 ERA, these numbers suggest that he may not be in for major regression at all.
He is only 22
Ynoa will turn 23 at the end of May, but I think we can all agree that he does not look like a guy in his early twenties on the mound. He pitches like a guy who has years of experience on a big-league bump.
He has yet to show any signs of losing his composure in the face of adversity. In the game against the Cubs where he gave up six runs, he could have let that affect him in his next outing. However, he would throw six strong innings and only allow two runs to the Arizona Diamondbacks in his next outing.
Even against the Phillies when McCutchen lead off with a home run on the first pitch, Ynoa did not let that bother him. Not only did he not allow another run, but he only allowed four more base runners the entire night.
He may have that “it factor,” that different mentality, that a lot of young pitchers struggle to find.
Ynoa also does not allow free baserunners, his walk rate currently sits at 5.8% which is a vast improvement from 13.0% in 2020.
Hitters have to earn everything from Ynoa. While he is allowing some harder hit balls, he does not hurt himself with free passes. When something bad does happen, he does not let it bother him and moves onto the next batter.
The mental makeup Ynoa is showing at 22 is impressive and not something that can be taught.