One of the most interesting 40-man roster additions yesterday was the A’s choosing to protect 21-year-old pitching prospect Michael Ynoa from the Rule 5 draft despite his throwing a grand total of 39.2 career innings and not yet pitching above Single-A.
Ynoa received a then-record $4.25 million bonus when he signed with the A’s out of the Dominican Republic as a 16-year-old in 2008. He was already 6-foot-7 then and considered an excellent prospect with huge upside, but injuries have repeatedly derailed his career.
Ynoa threw a total of nine innings from 2008-2011, missing all of 2011 following Tommy John elbow surgery, but came back this year to throw 31 innings. Of course, those 31 innings came as a 21-year-old in rookie-ball and low Single-A, and Ynoa struggled mightily with a 6.46 ERA and 25/25 K/BB ratio.
Clearly the A’s believed there was at least some chance one of the other 29 teams would take a flier on Ynoa in the Rule 5 draft next month despite a complete lack of experience or success and they didn’t want to lose their $4.25 million investment for nothing. And so in 2013 he’ll be the only player in low Single-A on a 40-man roster.