Sky is the Limit
So where could Ynoa go from here? Well, for a guy that has really only thrown around 1000 pitches in the big leagues, it is still hard to say exactly.
However, I think he has shown enough to suggest that he may have a bright future.
Coming into 2021, most thought that he was probably best fit as a reliever. Maybe he could slide into that multi-inning role and help cover innings for the bullpen.
While that was a solid floor coming in, I think we can agree that both his floor and his ceiling have been raised.
A lot of people are wondering if Ynoa is the true Ace the Braves have been yearning for over the last several years.
Personally, I think Ynoa has that potential. However, I do think he needs to develop a serviceable third pitch and improve upon his fastball slightly to reach that level.
If he does that, the sky is the limit. Even if he does not turn into an Ace, he could still become a solid second or third pitcher in a rotation.
If not, his current repertoire would fit really well as a high-leverage reliever. I am not talking a multi-inning reliever that helps bridge the gap to the back end of the pen, but potentially as an elite closer.
If he is only pitching an inning at a time, he would not necessarily need a third pitch and he could really let that slider eat. There would be no worries of seeing hitters multiple times throughout a game, just let them see the dominate slider and a 97 MPH fastball.
Those pitches could really play up in a bullpen role. Especially that dominant slider.
However, there is more value in him as a starter long-term. Personally, I do think he needs to develop a third pitch if he wants to become that true Ace. I do think he can be a legitimate number two with his stuff right now, but it would come with a smaller margin of error with only a two-pitch mix.
I really like Ynoa. There are some concerns, but that is to be expected with a pitcher who will only be 23 years old for the majority of the season.
I do think he has shown he has the upside to be a legitimate top of the rotation arm. However, I think he needs to improve upon his fastball and develop a third pitch to truly reach that ceiling.
I would say a realistic outcome would be a solid number two or three, which is still a great career. I know most see what he is currently doing and may disagree thinking he could become a top ten arm in all of baseball, but he still has some work to do before reaching that tier.
I also think that if Ynoa were to show struggles as a starter, that he could be an elite bullpen arm. If he starts showing signs of struggling the second or third time through an order, a late inning reliever may be his landing spot.
Overall, I think Ynoa has shown the talent and mental makeup that elite players need to take that next step. He just needs to continue to take strides in the right direction.
Looking back on that trade, that may be the heist of the century.
So Braves Country, what do we think Ynoa could be in the long run? Are we believers in this young pitcher?