The Frisco RoughRiders are in search of their first win tonight. The Rangers No.1 prospect, Yohander Mendez, will take the hill. The 22-year-old lefty was named the Nolan Ryan Rangers Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2016. In that season alone, Mendez went from Advanced-A High Desert all the way to Major League Baseball.
Mendez played in two games for the Rangers last season. He lasted only three total innings, and a 18.00 ERA. The young Venezuelan had much better success with the various Minor League teams. In Triple-A, at Round Rock, Mendez started four games and made an appearance in three others. In seven total games, he had an ERA of 0.57 through 31.1 innings pitched. Mendez put in the most work with the Frisco RoughRiders, the Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. He pitched a total of 46.2 innings, starting in 10 games. Mendez finished his stint with the RoughRiders with a 3.09 ERA, and a 1.14 WHIP.
All-in-all, throughout the Minor League system, Mendez made an appearance in 24 games. He went 12-3 with a 2.19 ERA. Across his 111.0 innings, he had 113 Ks.
Mendez throws the majority of his pitches to the center of the zone. He also favors the lower left corner. His contact percentage is lowest in those areas. It looks like he has his own style and rhythm. In 2017, be on the lookout for him to mix it up. If batters know where his favorite part of the zone is, they’ll be able to prep for him better. Mendez will start to gain more confidence in other areas of the strike zone.
Mendez has a sinker that is a bit faster than average. He doesn’t throw it much, but. His four-seam fastball is more of a pop up pitch, versus the normal groundout style. The changeup has remarkable cutting action, and spins a lot more than what other pitchers’ do. His building on a solid repertoire of pitches.
The RoughRiders desperately need a fantastic start from Mendez tonight. The first two games of the season were rough. Connor Sadzeck and Ariel Jurado didn’t quite live up to their expectations. It’s early in the season, though. There is still plenty of time for these guys to find their groove. With that being said, the team is still on the hunt for their first win. Mendez may be the key to the RoughRiders finally get a victory.