By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There are many ways Major League Baseball organizations measure the development of young pitchers in their systems.
Some are tangible like ERA, strikeout/walk ratio, how hard he throws, what he throws etc. Some are intangible. How does he react in a tight spot? How does he react when faced with adversity?
The importance of those intangibles makes this a big spot in the development of former St. Joseph’s University standout Jimmy Yacabonis in the Baltimore Orioles’ system.
The right-handed reliever was selected in the 13th round of the 2013 MLB Draft by the Orioles and he hit the ground running last season with a 1.52 ERA in 18 games for Low Class-A Aberdeen. He started this season a step higher at Class-A Delmarva and it was more of the same – 1.07 ERA and 14 saves in 21 appearances. That success earned him a promotion to High Class-A Frederick (Md.) and it is here we come back to the intangibles, because for the first time as a pro, Yacabonis is dealing with a bit of adversity.
He allowed 13 runs in his first four appearances with the Keys in late June and early July. Then he seemed to find his stride before a rough outing on Saturday night in Wilmington, Delaware, against the Blue Rocks. It’s a credit to Yacabonis that the first rough patch of his pro career has come more than a year into it and he is confident he will get through it.
“Overall, it’s just a mental thing,” Yacabonis tells KYW Newsradio. “It’s definitely not physical. Kind of like a mental block right now, but I’m getting there.
“It’s really just getting behind guys (in the count),” Yacabonis adds. “Got to get ahead of guys, just get that first strike over. Pretty much from there it’s pretty easy. Get ahead of guys.”