Albuquerque, New Mexico —— For the first three weeks of the Triple-A season, I’ve observed Colorado Rockies utility infield back-up Rafael Ynoa play for the Albuquerque Isotopes of the Pacific Coast League in his fourth year with the organization. To read Baseball Census’ feature interview with the Colorado Rockies’ Rafael Ynoa that was also published today, please click here.
Rafael Ynoa scouting report notes
The definition of a taxi squad player, Rafael Ynoa was already a seasoned veteran and new to his second organization by the time he finally got a chance to play in the big leagues in 2014 for the Colorado Rockies. He’s spent time there in each of the last three years, but he’s nearly 30 now and may be on the downside of a super-utility type infield role. That said, his veteran presence is explicitly appreciated by the Albuquerque Isotopes, and Ynoa fills the role of the do-it-all infielder in the Rockies’ organization. He’ll show satisfactory defense anywhere in the infield, with his most natural fit being at second base. He’s also played left field in the big leagues when the Rockies were pressed on roster moves two years ago, and can do so in short spurts as a simple stop-gap, though he’s an infielder in the core.
At the plate, Rafael Ynoa is a switch-hitter who handles the bat well and puts together quality at-bats, and even though he doesn’t hit for power and generally won’t wow for average, he certainly isn’t lost at the plate. He’s a .281 career Major League hitter (199 at-bats) and while that alone wasn’t enough to keep him in the big leagues for an extended period, it proves he’s got the chops to survive enough there to be a replacement-level type of utility man. He’s a good athlete and even though he’s not really a base stealer, he’s smart on the base paths and now is to the point where he’s experienced enough to know the book on most of the Triple-A and big league pitchers he stares down.
All of this is ultimately irrelevant from the Major League perspective right now because Rafael Ynoa is 29 years old (he’ll be 30 in August) and he’s not on the Colorado Rockies’ 40-man roster. Because of that, it’ll be a tough road for him to get back to the big leagues this year—and, maybe, ever. But perseverance paid off for him before, and with as much versatility as exists in his game, I suppose you can never say never.
For our feature interview with Colorado Rockies infielder Rafael Ynoa, please click here.
To visit Rafael Ynoa’s player page, please click here.
Rafael Ynoa scouting report: 140 characters or less
A proficient up-and-down infielder with an advanced understanding of the game, Rafael Ynoa’s biggest impediment at this point is his age.