From BR Bullpen
Michael Jose Ynoa Ventura
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 7", Weight 210 lb.
 Biographical Information
Pitcher Michael Ynoa set a record before he threw a pitch.
He was signed by the Oakland Athletics and scout Raymond Abreu in 2008 for a $4.25 million bonus, almost $2 million more than Wily Mo Pena's 1999 record for largest bonus for an international amateur free agent. Assigned to the AZL Athletics for 2009, he did not pitch due to injury. He only pitched three games for that club in 2010, with 11 strikeouts and 5 runs in 9 innings, going 0-1. He then had Tommy John surgery and missed all of 2011. In 2012, he returned but did poorly for the AZL A's (0-1, 5.40, 9 BB in 10 IP) and Vermont Lake Monsters (1-3, 6.97, 16 BB, 10 WP in 20 2/3 IP). He tied Evan DeLuca and Sebastian Vader for 4th in the New York-Penn League in wild pitches. To that point, his record stood at 1-5, 6.13 with 27 walks to 29 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings in four years after his record deal.
The A's put Ynoa on their 40-man roster that winter. He began 2013 with the Beloit Snappers and finally seemed to be putting together, starting off 2-1 with a 2.14 ERA, 48 strikeouts and 18 walks in 54 2/3 IP. Still only 21 years old, he was picked for the World team in the 2013 Futures Game. He took the loss in a 4-2 game. Relieving Brazil's Andre Rienzo in the 4th with a 2-1 lead, he retired George Springer but C.J. Cron singled and Matt Davidson homered. The hard-throwing righty's woes continued as Joc Pederson walked and Christian Yelich singled him to third. He recovered to fan Addison Russell then Austin Hedges grounded out to Miguel Sano, but the damage had been done. Rafael De Paula relieved Ynoa in the 5th. He finished that season with the Stockton Ports, where he went 1-2, 7.71 in 7 games. He was back in Stockton in 2014 and continued to have poor results overall, with some promising flashes. His record in 31 relief appearances was 4-2, but with an ERA of 5.52; the main positive was that he struck out 64 batters in 45 2/3 innings while walking 21, giving him something to build on in spite of the inconsistency.
In December 2014, Ynoa was traded with Jeff Samardzija to the Chicago White Sox for infielder Marcus Semien, right-hander Chris Bassitt, catcher Josh Phegley and first baseman Rangel Ravelo. He spent 2015 with the Winston-Salem Dash of the Carolina League, going 0-2, 2.61 in 28 games. He recorded 6 saves and struck out 40 in 38 innings. He finally reached AA at the start of 2016, being assigned to the Birmingham Barons of the Southern League. If his climb to the majors had been excruciatingly slow until that point, he suddenly stepped on the accelerator pedal. After 3 games with Birmingham, he was promoted to the AAA Charlotte Knights. In 21 games between the two teams, he went 1-3, 3.90 with 4 saves before getting the call to the majors. His debut came on June 14th against the Detroit Tigers, relieving Matt Purke with a 10-6 deficit in the top of the 7th. He pitched two innings in relief, giving up a pair of walks and nothing else while striking out two batters before Dan Jennings relieved in a game the White Sox lost, 11-8.