Hector Yan Presents A Tough Look
The Angels sent lefthander Hector Yan to their alternate training camp at Long Beach State this summer with one goal: find the strike zone more often.
Yan, 21, had a breakout season at low Class A Burlington in 2019. He went 4-5, 3.39 and finished second in the Midwest League with 148 strikeouts—the most in the Angels' system. But that also came with a walk rate of 4.3 batters per nine innings, actually an improvement over his career average.
Through the opening weeks of camp, it was so far, so good.
“He’s in the strike zone, which with Hector is what you’re mainly looking for,” Angels minor league field coordinator Chad Tracy said. “This kid has such good stuff, and the arm angle with which he steps across, all these different things make him deceptive. He’s been in the strike zone very consistently here, and he makes it tough on hitters when he’s doing that.”
Yan, who signed for $80,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, has some of the best stuff in the system. His fastball sits 92-95 mph and touches 98, and he backs it up with a wipeout slider scouts rave about.
It all comes out of a funky, low-three quarters arm slot and deceptive, crossfire delivery that makes him difficult for hitters to square up. Opposing batters hit just .190 against Yan last year, lowest among qualified starters in the Midwest League.
“He’s not an easy target as far as lining up where that fastball is going to land with where he throws it from,” Tracy said. “It makes it really tough on hitters.”
The Angels added Yan to their 40-man roster last offseason. He pitched against Angels big leaguers during an intrasquad game and showed his potential, drawing four weak ground balls and retiring five of the six batters he faced—with no walks.
If he can keep throwing strikes, the Angels expect to see more of that in the years ahead.
“He’s still young enough that he’s learning how to pitch,” Tracy said. “As he continues to learn and couple that with his stuff, he’s going to get better and better.”
— Righthander Chris Rodriguez sat 98 mph on his fastball and got swings and misses from all six batters he faced in his first outing since season-ending back surgery a year ago. He is building up his endurance and is currently up to three to four innings per start.
— First baseman Jose Rojas, who hit 31 home runs at Triple-A last year, led all Angels players in homers at the alternate site camp and was drawing strong reviews from Angels coaches.