To those of you wondering why this post isn't about Keury Mella, you mustn't worry. I happened to watch Mella throw on Sunday, as well, and will compile some footage of him for later viewing. But a 21-year-old Venezuelan was far more impressive. Let's take a look at Luis Ysla.
Ysla was scheduled to throw two innings on Sunday at minor league camp, and came out pounding the zone. He blew three four-seamers by poor Will Callaway, getting progressively faster with each heater. Ysla's fastball registered anywhere from 90 to 95 on local radar guns, but 93-95 was more common than 90-92.
He threw seven straight fastballs to open up his outing before backing off with a changeup — an 80-82 mile per hour offering that he left up in the zone a few times but was thrown with similar arm speed to his fastball, catching young, inexperienced hitters off guard.
Ysla's best secondary pitch is a sharp, downward biting slider (78-82), which he used to make Jonah Arenado look ridiculous. Nolan's younger brother won the battle, however, doubling to left-center to drive in the only run allowed by Ysla in two innings.
He finished with one hit, one earned run, two walks and four strikeouts.
The 6'1" lefty was signed just last year at age 20, pitching his first season with the AZL Giants. Along with Mella, the two were a potent one-two punch in the rookie team's pitching rotation, combining for seven wins and two losses in 22 starts.
Ysla had the better numbers, going 4-0 with a 2.65 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. He allowed just 38 hits and 13 walks in 51 innings while striking out 52.
Some might compare Ysla to another left-handed starter in the Giants system, Adalberto Mejia, and those comparisons aren't too far off. Both throw low-to-mid 90s fastballs with plus changeups and sliders in their pockets. Remarkably, Mejia is younger than Ysla by 14 months.
So where does Ysla wind up in 2014? Likely Augusta, where he should be a crucial part of a rotation stacked with talent, like his 2013 teammate Mella.
The Keury Mella post is coming, guys. But Luis Ysla needed to be known. And now he is.