Straight to the chase: The Mariners added a bit of pitching depth today.
We have acquired minor-league RHP Jimmy Yacabonis from the San Diego Padres in exchange for cash considerations. Yacabonis will report to our alternate training site and be added to the 60-player pool. pic.twitter.com/rmkZJBogNr— Mariners Player Development (@MsPlayerDev) August 19, 2020
Jimmy Yacabonis is 28 years old and has pinged in and out of the majors with Baltimore for the last three years before landing in San Diego on a minor league deal this offseason. A part of the Padres’ 60-man player pool, he’ll fulfill the same role in Seattle initially while the Mariners play out the string to the trade deadline. Depending on who they can move, that’s likely his best shot at the big leagues. While he’s made starts before and can provide some length, his best role—I stress, reader, that best is used only as a relative measure—is out of the bullpen.
In 101.2 MLB innings, Yacabonis has a subpar 6.01 FIP. The results haven’t been there. He throws a four pitch mix, heavy on the sinkers (57%) and sliders (30%) and sprinkling in a few changeups and four seamers (about 6.5% each). His four-seamer looks by velo and spin a lot like a sinker, but moves a little less vertically and a lot more horizontally. Looking at his profile, it looks like one very easy fix the M’s could apply is “stop throwing your four seamer, dude”: it gets absolutely murdered: .527 wOBA and .535 xwOBA in 2019, by far the worst of his pitches.
That will only get him so far: his sinker (.426) and changeup (.476) also posted terrible xwOBAs last year, although at least with those two pitches he performed a little better in 2018. What about that slider, though? His slider has consistently posted excellent numbers by wOBA and xwOBA throughout his time in the big leagues. Given that he uses it at a relatively low rate, it’s entirely possible the M’s tell him to just go out there and throw it a ton (here at Lookout Landing, we call that the Connor Sadzeck treatment) to see if that helps him improve his results. In the meantime, he’ll sling baseballs to the Mariners’ array of Tacoma hitters and wait for a call from the big league club.