By Contributing Writer: Chuck Boemmel Jr.
Norfolk Tides (Class-AAA) right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis is a player Baltimore Orioles fans should become familiar with. His performance so far in 2017 is making him worthy of a call-up and a spot on the 40-man roster.
Photo: Nick Stevens
The Tides roster currently lists 16 pitchers: 3 on the DL, 9 on the Orioles 40-man roster and 4 not on the 40-man roster. Orioles fans are familiar with the “Norfolk Shuttle” and so far in 2017 only two players (Andrew Faulkner and Chris Lee) of the 9 on the 40-man have not spent time in Baltimore.
Yacabonis, the Orioles 13th round draft pick in 2013, is currently the Tides de-facto closer. He has converted 6 of 8 save opportunities this season. In fact, his save total (6) is more that that of all the other relievers combined (4).
Yacabonis, in 18 appearances this season, has pitched 23.2 innings. He is sporting a 1.14 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. He has held International League hitters to a .127 batting average while striking out 12 and walking 11. Yacabonis’ ground out to fly out ratio sits at 1.19.
Right-handed batters and left-handed batters have struggled equally against Yacabonis, hitting .120 and .138 against him respectively. Overall his opponent’s slash line is .127/ .231/. 152. He strikes out batters at a 4.6/9 inning rate and has not surrendered a homerun.
I would like to see Yacabonis lower his walk total while increasing his groundouts. Oriole Park at Camden Yards is certainly a place that requires a high degree of ground balls.
Yacabonis has not come out of nowhere by any means. His time at Bowie (Class-AA) during the second half of 2016 showed just what he is capable of. He pitched 44.1 innings over 34 games for the Baysox to a 2-2 record while going 6 for 6 in save opportunities. He had a 2.03 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and .211 batting average against.
I believe Yacabonis is the real deal and deserves a shot in the back end of the Orioles’ bullpen. I think that if he continues producing the numbers that he is he will jump on the “Norfolk Shuttle”. He deserves that chance and may even stay in Baltimore; Orioles fans, keep an eye out for Jimmy Yacabonis, you won’t be disappointed.
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