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2023 Braves Season in Review: Huascar Ynoa

Though he did not pitch in 2023, hope remains Huascar Ynoa can be a contributor in 2024 and beyond.

MLB: APR 18 Braves at Dodgers Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Huascar Ynoa missed the 2023 season while recovering from having undergone Tommy John Surgery back in September 2022. However, he is expected to be ready to contribute as 2024 arrives. Furthermore, with the departure of other arms from the organization, Atlanta has hopes Ynoa could provide needed pitching depth for 2024 and beyond.

How Acquired

Ynoa signed with the Minnesota Twins as an international free agent back in 2014. He was acquired by the Braves in 2017 in a deal that sent Jaime Garcia and Anthony Recker to the Twins. He has appeared for the Braves across four seasons from 2019-2022, and is under team control through 2026.

What were the Expectations? and wrong with ?

In brief, there weren’t any. Ynoa was recovering from Tommy John Surgery, and wasn’t expected to pitch at any level competitively during 2023.

2023 Results

Ynoa did not throw a pitch in 2023.

What went right?

No news is good news in this case: there have been no reports of any set backs in his recovery,

What went wrong?

Nothing, beyond having to miss essentially two seasons now as a result of injuries and the recovery from surgery.

2024 Outlook

The Braves expect Ynoa to be available and healthy for the start of the 2024 season.

To date, Ynoa has appeared in 31 games for the Braves across four different seasons. He has made 24 starts and seven relief appearances, and has a 121 ERA-, 103 FIP-, and 90 xFIP- for his career. Those numbers make it tempting to believe that he could be an effective starter or bulk guy, as he showed before injuries derailed his 2021 season.

A major vote of confidence in Ynoa occurred last Friday at the non-tender deadline. The Braves had 13 players whose status could have been affected by the deadline, and only Max Fried, A.J Minter, and Ynoa were tendered contracts. The fact that some other notable arms that have recently dealt with injury were traded away but Ynoa was retained and tendered a contract seems to indicate the Braves feel confident he can be valuable depth next season. Ynoa is projected to earn about $1M in his first year of arbitration eligibility; he missed his chance to leverage a platform year into bigger paydays due to the injury.

Ynoa gives the Braves pitching depth in both a starting and relief capacity, should it be needed. He has a decent career strikeout rate (over 24 percent). Perhaps most importantly, he also has an option year remaining, so he could work his way back to a normal workload at Triple-A Gwinnett. After a season in which the Braves experienced the need for versatile pitching depth, Ynoa could provide that for 2024 and beyond.

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