Monday, July 31, 2017

Welcome to the Blue, Luis Ysla!

While we all wait and wonder whether a "big" name is coming our way, the Dodgers decide to roll the dice and add another recently-DFA'd pitcher to their roster in hopes of finding a gem. On Saturday the Dodgers received left-handed reliever Luis Ysla from the Boston Red Sox for cash. Per a Dodgers press release:
Ysla, 25, appeared in 29 relief appearances with Boston’s Double-A Portland this season going 1-5 with one save and posted a 5.05 ERA (26 ER/46.1 IP). Over five minor league season with the Giants (2013-15) and the Red Sox (2015-17) organizations, Ysla has gone 16-23 with five saves and has posted a 3.85 ERA, while striking out 374 batters against 160 walks in 359.2 innings in 140 career games (44 starts). He was selected as the 2013 Rookie-Level Arizona League Post-Season All-Star, while also being honored as the 2014 Single-A South Atlantic League Mid- and Post-Season All-Star. The Carabobo, Venezuela native was originally signed by San Francisco as an international free agent on September 11, 2012.
He had been DFA's by the Red Rox after a trade that brought Eduardo Nunez from the Giants. Per Connor Byrne at MLB Trade Rumors:
Ysla pitched himself out of the Boston organization’s plans by logging a 5.05 ERA, 8.5 K/9 and 6.2 BB/9 over 46 1/3 innings with its Double-A affiliate this season.
Ysla was originally signed out of Carabobo, Venezuela in 2012, and traded three years later to Boston. Now, he'll be sent to the Double-A Tulsa Drillers to see what we truly have. Per a brief evaluation report by Dan Farnsworth at FanGraphs in early 2016:
Ysla is a power arm lefty with primarily a fastball/slider combination, though his changeup was rated the best in the South Atlantic League for 2014 by Baseball America. The slider has looked like a better offering this season. He is working with Red Sox coaches on determining which is the best off speed pitch for him to focus on. He will focus entirely on pitching out of the pen for Boston, after getting dealt by the Giants for Alejandro De Aza. 
He throws with a lot of effort from a low angle, but he looks like he will be able to throw strikes and get hitters out on both sides of the plate. Though his command can get a little out of whack, he keeps the ball around the plate and has enough life in his arsenal to project well in a relief role. If his secondary stuff hits a wall, he still has a high enough floor to be a very good lefty specialist, but his future profile looks stronger than that at this point. (emphasis is mine). 
Mark Timmons at LA Dodger Talk found even more intriguing information:
In his first full season in the Red Sox organization, Ysla showed the power lefthanded arm that drew Boston to him in the August 2015 trade that sent Alejandro De Aza to the Giants. Ysla sits in the mid-90s with a two-plane fastball that misses bats. That pitch alone should play in the majors if he can throw it for strikes, though its value is mitigated by the fact that he hasn’t developed a consistent secondary pitch as a complement.
Luis Ysla sounds like a project for the Dodgers and a good gamble for a franchise that has proved to be rather proficient at retooling ballplayers for Major League success. Hopefully, he'll be a solution to our need for a left-handed specialist out of the pen. Unfortunately, we aren't likely to know until next season -- which is one of the reason why I love this trade.

The Dodgers front office isn't just concerned about this season. They are making moves today that are meant to affect future years.

In celebration of Ysla's addition to the club I made the above fantasy Baseball card in his honor. I used a pic taken by Kelly O'Connor and grabbed from a MiLB article and the 1989 Upper Deck Baseball card design.

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