The San Diego Padres continue to bring in high-quality arms on Minor League deals hoping to find a diamond in the rough.
They continue to bring in talent with very difficult names after signing Kyle Barraclough earlier this week.
But all three signings are in an effort to catch lightning in a bottle to help put together a stout bullpen behind the young starting rotation.
Hu has pitched just 23 innings in the big leagues — all with the Tampa Bay Rays — and has a respectable 3.52 ERA with 21 strikeouts in those innings with a WHIP of 0.83, a K/9 of 8.2, and a BB/9 of 2.7.
But the righty had a disastrous 2019 season with a 6.87 ERA in 74.2 innings with a WHIP of 1.70 and the highest BB/9 of his career at 4.1.
He throws all four of his pitches (fastball, slider, change-up, sinker) really hard with his fastball averaging 93 MPH in 2018, according to FanGraphs.
The 26-year-old may never be a dominant reliever, but he’s held righties to just a .109 average in his brief big league career.
A former 13th round pick by the Baltimore Orioles, Yacabonis has struggled through three seasons at the big league level with a career ERA of 5.75 in 101.2 innings.
Walks have been an issue with a BB/9 of 5.0, and it’s not like he’s striking a ton of batters out either with a K/9 of just 6.6. Those numbers aren’t much better in his minor league career either.
Maybe the one attractive thing about Yacabonis is he made 28 starts in 2018 and 4 starts this past season, so he has the ability to give you a spot start or be an opener if the Padres get that desperate.
His fastball can get up to the mid-80s and he compliments that with a slider that he threw 30 percent of the time in 2019 according to FanGraphs.
I don’t like the upside of either of these guys as much as I do with Barraclough, but it doesn’t hurt to take a low-risk shot on them and see what happens. You never know when the next Kirby Yates is going to come out of nowhere!