Braves: When might we see Huascar Ynoa in Atlanta again?

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A year ago, it looked like the Braves had struck gold with Huascar Ynoa. He worked his way into the rotation early in the season, and after seven starts, he was well on his way to an All-Star appearance. The hard-throwing righty had a 4-1 record with a 2.29 ERA entering a May 16th start against the Brewers — a moment that could one day be looked at as a turning point in his career, and not in a good way.

Ynoa went on to allow five earned runs over 4.1 innings that day in Milwaukee, which really isn’t too bad, especially for a 22-year-old rookie. However, what happened next is where things began to fall apart. After exiting the game, he punched a wall in the dugout, resulting in a fracture that cost him the next three months of the season, and he hasn’t been the same pitcher since.

Ynoa returned on August 17th and made nine more regular season starts, posting a 5.05 ERA. Because of his upside, the Braves did carry him on the playoff roster, but after giving up two earned runs in a relief appearance in the NLDS, he was never seen again in the postseason.

A porous end to 2021 for a young arm is one thing, but unfortunately, Ynoa’s free fall did not stop there. Because Spring Training was shortened following the MLB lockout, there wasn’t much competition. A spot in the rotation was handed to Ynoa, and he failed to take advantage. In two starts, he only made it through a combined 6.2 innings and surrendered 10 earned runs, which led to a quick demotion to Gwinnett, where his struggles have only continued.

Ynoa’s made five starts this year for the Stripers and owns an unsightly 6.04 ERA. Like most young pitchers, the core issues stem from his control, leading to a lot of walks and homers. He’s already allowed six long balls with Gwinnett in just 25.1 innings and also has issued 13 free passes.

It’s difficult to quite put a finger on what exactly is the deal with Ynoa. Were his seven starts to begin 2021 just a flash in the pan, or has the injury he suffered following his incident caused him to feel uncomfortable on the mound? Either way, Ynoa has a lot to figure out before the Braves can trust him again in Atlanta. There is good news, though; he’s only 23-years-old, and there’s no questioning his arm talent. Hopefully, he can figure it out before the season ends and make an impact with the major-league club later this year.

Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire



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