Three Arizona Diamondbacks pitching prospects to watch in 2024

Let's take a look at some Arizona Diamondbacks pitching prospects who could be in for a big 2024 season.
2021 NCAA Division I Men's Baseball Championship
2021 NCAA Division I Men's Baseball Championship / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages
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Atlanta Braves v Arizona Diamondbacks
Atlanta Braves v Arizona Diamondbacks / Norm Hall/GettyImages

Ricardo Yan

The D-Backs signed Ricardo Yan during the 2020-2021 International Signing period. Yan’s numbers in 2021 and 2022 were solid but nothing spectacular. But in his age-20 season, Yan turned in his best season yet and even was able to make it to High-A Hillsboro before the end of the year.

Yan pitched a total of 103 innings between the two levels, working to a 3.65 ERA, 3.90 FIP, and 1.09 WHIP. The right-hander held opponents to a sub-Mendoza batting average at just .184 with a home run rate of 0.54-per-9. Yan’s 51.3% ground ball rate helped him keep such a good HR/9 last year. Yan’s 10.4% walk rate was about league average between the two levels he played at. But he had a well above average 31.9% K-rate.

Yan’s mechanics are not what you’d typically see from a starting pitcher. His motion and arm slot are similar to that of former Pittsburgh Pirates’ long-time closing pitcher Kent Tekulve. While Yan has this low arm slot, he’s able to run his sinker into the low 90s and get batters to jam it into the ground. Yan’s best pitch is his sweeping slider that has a ton of horizontal break in the opposite direction of his sinker. Yan throws a change-up, and while it shows some above-average attributes, he struggles to throw it for strikes compared to his sinker and slider.

There are some questions about his command in the long term, but his walk rate has decreased each and every year since his 2021 debut. If he improves his command just a bit more, he could definitely stick as a starting pitcher long-term. The righty could reach Double-A next year, and that will be the real challenge for him. But if he’s able to pitch well in just his age-21 campaign, you may see him take some major steps forward in Diamondbacks’ prospect rankings.