“Gabriel Ynoa is young, strong, durable and talented,” executive vice president Dan Duquette said in a statement. “Our scouts feel he can develop into a major league starting pitcher by developing a consistent breaking pitch. We look forward to his contributions to the Orioles this season and beyond.”
Ynoa, 23, made his major league debut with the Mets last season and compiled a 6.38 ERA in 10 appearances (three starts) over 18 1/3 innings. Ynoa struck out 17 batters but walked seven and allowed 26 hits in his first stint in the big leagues.
Ynoa, at age 20, went 15-4 with a 2.72 ERA in his full-season debut at Class-A Savannah in 2013 to put himself on the map, and was added to the Mets’ 40-man roster after a 2014 season that saw him post a 4.07 ERA in 25 starts between High-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton.
After posting a 3.90 ERA for Binghamton in 2015, Ynoa spent most of 2016 at Triple-A Las Vegas, where he went 12-5 with a 3.97 ERA before being summoned to the majors on Aug. 13.
His purchase adds to the Orioles cast of pitchers they hope can make the next step and establish themselves as major league starters in the coming years. With five starters returning from the rotation that ended the season well in 2016, Ynoa joins the likes of Tyler Wilson, Logan Verrett, Mike Wright, and Jayson Aquino as a starter with major league history who the club will hope grows into a bigger role in 2017.
Ynoa will have one minor league option available to the Orioles, and took the place of catcher Francisco Pena on the 40-man roster. Pena was designated for assignment on the eve of spring training in a move that all but ends any conjecture that Pena, who has no remaining minor league options, could have beaten out incumbent Caleb Joseph for the backup catcher job behind starter Welington Castillo.
The Orioles have a week to trade Pena or place him on waivers before he can be assigned to the minors.