The Royals have made their first addition of the off-season, signing right-handed pitcher Michael Ynoa to a minor league deal. The 27- year old last pitched in the big leagues in 2017 with the White Sox, with a 5.90 ERA in 29 innings that season. He did not pitch last summer, but has fared well in the Dominican Winter League this off-season.
Ynoa was once considered one of the top prospects in baseball. He signed a huge $4.25 million bonus with the Athletics as a teenager out of the Dominican Republic. He was ranked among the Top 100 prospects in baseball by Baseball Prospectus before the 2009 and 2010 season. But just three games into his professional career, he was sidelined and needed Tommy John surgery.
Ynoa struggled with consistency upon his return and was moved to the bullpen. Eventually the Athletics traded him to the White Sox in 2014 in a deal with Jeff Samardzija for Marcus Semien and three other players. He would make his Major League debut with Chicago in 2016, posting a respectable 3.00 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 30 innings, but struggled in 2017, missing time with a hip flexor strain.
Ynoa averages 94 mph with his fastball, throwing a curve and change with it. He is most likely organizational filler for the team at this point, but he did have the tools at one point for teams to offer him millions of dollars, so perhaps there is an inkling of upside here if he can stay healthy. There have been all kinds of interesting comback stories from relievers, and Dayton Moore has found a few gems in the bargain bin before, so keep your fingers crossed.