A 25th Round Pick, 3B Willy Yahn Had an Impressive Debut With Gulf Coast League Orioles

I love seeing players drafted in the later rounds perform well in their first year in professional baseball, and that's exactly what third baseman Willy Yahn did with the Gulf Coast League Orioles this season.

Photo: Baby Birdland

Yahn, 21 (turns 22 on Tuesday), was selected by the Orioles in the 25th round of this year's MLB Draft out of UConn.

Most players drafted in the second half of the draft do not get much publicity outside of their inner circles, and while it is understandable to a point, it's also important to note two things: first, it doesn't matter where you are drafted, you have to realize that getting drafted is a dream come true for these players. Secondly, by getting drafted and signing, you now have a chance, and that's all you can ask for.

Yahn certainly made the most of his chance in the first year.

Over 56 games with the GCL Orioles, Yahn hit .278 with 12 doubles, 33 RBI and scored 18 runs. In addition, he stole nine bases and boasted a .350 OBP.

There are several things that stood out to me about Yahn this season. First of which is his ability to put the bat on the ball. I know that's not necessarily an important thing now-days in the big leagues (except for the playoffs it seems), but Yahn struck out just 16 times in 234 plate appearances, which means he struck out in just 7% of his plate appearances. In comparison, the Orioles' Chris Davis struck out in 37% of his plate appearances. Obviously you can't compare the big leagues to the Gulf Coast League, but I am just throwing out percentages to help make my point about Yahn.

Another thing that stood out to me was Yahn's ability to hit with runners in scoring position. Over 79 at bats with RISP, Yahn hit .316 with a .382 on-base percentage. Those are impressive numbers, no matter what league you are playing in.

Lastly, and it could be as a result of him crowding the plate, pitchers' inability to command the zone or simply a skill he has, but Yahn got hit by a pitch 12 times!

Yahn finished third on the team in RBI and doubles, and finished sixth in the entire GCL in RBI as well.

It's obviously very early in his career, but I am looking forward to seeing Yahn make the jump to the Delmarva Shorebirds next season to see how his numbers can correlate to a full-season.



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