Oakland Athletics: Top Prospect Michael Ynoa Earns Promotion

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Kyle Terada – USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics have promoted top prospect Michael Ynoa to the Single-A Stockton Ports of the California League. The 21-year-old right-hander was 2-1 with a 2.43 ERA in 10 starts for the Single-A Beliot Snappers.

Ynoa was originally signed out of the Dominican Republic for a team-record $4.25 million as a 16-year-old almost exactly five years ago. The 6-foot-7 right-hander was recently named to the roster for the Futures Game at Citi Field. The annual exhibition, which is part of the MLB All-Star Game festivities, pits players from all ranks of the minor leagues against each other.

It’s quite the honor for the native of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, who has been troubled by arm injuries since signing with the club back in July 2008. The promotion to the Ports is a big step up for the tall righty, as the California League is known for being extremely hitter-friendly. However, it should prove a good test for Ynoa, whose prodigious talent has finally been on display in 2013.

For all the injuries he has dealt with, it’s worth noting that at 21 years old, Ynoa will be younger than a majority of his teammates in Stockton. It all depends on how his summer at Banner Island Ballpark unfolds, but if Ynoa continues to pitch as he has been in 2013, he could find himself in Double-A, pitching for the Midland RockHounds as a 22-year-old in 2014.

At this point, it’s probably best to take it one start at a time with Ynoa, but with a timeline like that, the right-handed starter could be in the big league picture by the spring of 2015. It’s a big day for Ynoa, and for followers of the team, it’s great to hear that the the man once described as the most impressive Latin American prospect since Felix Hernandez seems to be taking off.

Karl Buscheck is an Oakland Athletics writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @KarlBuscheck or add him to your network on Google+.

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