Yacksel Ríos broke into the majors at 24-years old with the Phillies. Since 2017 he has spent time in the majors with the Phillies, Pirates, Mariners, Red Sox and Oakland. Over his career he’s been good in the minors but struggled in the majors. As we know the Mets went into this season needing a lot of pitching depth from the majors all the way through the minors, so the Mets signed him January on minor league deal.
A key sign that Ríos hasn’t figured it out yet in the majors is how he has ended up in so many different organizations. In addition to the teams listed earlier, he has also been a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, White Sox and Atlanta Braves organizations. Ríos has never been traded. He’s either been selected off waivers by different teams, has his contract purchased, or gets released and signs with a different team.
Last season Ríos barely saw any time at the major league level, allowing seven runs over 1 2/3 innings spread across three games. During that time he allowed three hits and six walks. My gut says the reason the Mets signed Ríos though is because of a stretch he had as a member of the Red Sox in 2021. Over 24 1/3 innings (20 games) he had a 3.70 ERA (1.110 WHIP and a 4.90 FIP), by far his best stretch in the majors. In 2021, Baseball Savant had his fastball averaged at 97.1 mph and at the 94th percentile in the majors.
The other reason the Mets signed Ríos is his minor league numbers. In the Braves system last year he had a 2.49 ERA of 25 1/3 innings while keeping his walks down to 2.9 BB/9 (5.1 in the majors). In the winter league before last year he had a 0.65 ERA over 27 2/3 innings. The potential is there!
Ríos has fastball that sits in the upper-90’s that in 2021 he tossed 61% of the time. His slider (tossed 25% of the time) averages in the upper-80’s, but is really spread out between the low-80’s to the low-90’s. He mixes in a mid-80’s changeup.
This spring we are going to look for Ríos leaning into his strength (striking players out) while limited his weakness (walking players). If he can do that effectively throughout March, he’ll start to see his stock rise throughout the Mets system.