(#1) Jonathan Loaisiga is the only lock from this list to place on our Top 125, and though the Yankees aren’t deep in upper-level prospects, this system is poised to be among the game’s most improved over the next two years. New York has been extremely aggressive on the international market, the end result being an impressive group of prospects stockpiled at the complex level. The complexion of this list will change drastically as those players age and start moving through the system. The Bombers are competitive at the big league level and will continue to be, putting them in a position to be patient with a bounty of high-risk, high-reward prospects. By our count, the Yankees could see as many as five players on this list move into Top 125 territory in the next 12 months. This is definitely a system trending up.
–HIGH-CEILING, LOW-LEVEL TALENT
As we mentioned, there are quite a few players near the top of this list that could move into Top 125 territory with strong 2019s. (#2) Estevan Florial has fallen out of that range but has the tools to bounce back quickly. (#3) Albert Abreu, (#4) Anthony Seigler, (#5) Antonio Cabello, and (#6) Deivi Garcia all have helium and could take jumps in the next year.
–LACKS A TRUE TOP-30 PROSPECT
There’s a lot to be excited about, but this system doesn’t have a top-of-the-minors blue-chipper entering 2019. There are a handful of prospects on this list that could finish in that range at some point down the road, however.
–IMPACT UPPER-LEVEL BATS
None of New York’s best position prospects are likely to debut in the near future. Thairo Estrada (On the Horizon) and Kyle Holder (On the Horizon) are two high-floor bench types that could surface in the Bronx over the next two seasons. This isn’t much of a hindrance given the Yankees’ star-studded lineup at the Major League level, especially seeing as young hitters like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, and Miguel Andujar have all come through the pipeline in recent years.
TOP 15 PREF LIST
CREAM OF THE CROP
(#1) Jonathan Loaisiga, RHP
Loaisiga exploded onto the national prospect radar in 2018 and now ranks as New York’s best prospect. He showed glimpses of his potential across 24 Major League innings last year by striking out over 30-percent of hitters faced. Loaisiga’s 95-to-97 mph fastball, power curve, and late-diving changeup all can miss bats, giving the ceiling of an above-average starting pitcher if he’s able to stay healthy. That’s a big if, however, as durability has eclipsed Loaisiga throughout his time as a professional. Originally signed by the Giants, he was released after being unable to get in an official game for two full seasons (2014-2015) due to injury. New York took a flier on the power-armed righty soon after, but Loaisiga required another surgical procedure and missed most of 2016 and 2017 rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. Presuming he’s able to stay on the field, the ceiling is a potential mid-rotation starter.
ON THE HORIZON
(#3) Albert Abreu, RHP
Abreu has the stuff for an impactful rotation role if he shores up what’s presently 40-grade control/command. His lively fastball works into the mid-90s with armside run, able to elevate and blow it by hitters high in the zone. Both a curveball and changeup can miss bats, giving numerous above-average pitches to keep hitters off balance. Abreu is a good athlete with a starter’s frame, giving reason to project on his mechanics the adjustments necessary to improve his control.
(#6) Deivi Garcia, RHP
Garcia’s mature feel to pitch is his best attribute. He has a polished ability to throw strikes for his age and is already able to compete deep into starts as a teenager. He was excellent across two A-Ball stops last year, finishing 2018 in Double-A as a 19-year-old. Garcia’s fastball sits at 92-to-94 mph with a high spin rate that gets an above-average amount of whiffs on the pitch over the plate. His best off-speed is a high-70s curve that shows above-average spin and sharp two-plane depth. A mid-80s changeup is the third pitch and less advanced than his curve, though still shows enough flashes to project on the pitch.
(#7) Domingo Acevedo, RHP
Acevedo was added to the Yankees’ 40-Man Roster prior to the 2018 season, so he used his first option last year by pitching most of last season with Double-A Trenton. The extra-large righty carries an imposing figure on the mound and has the heat to match. Acevedo’s fastball has touched the high-90s at times and peaked in the 95-to-96 mph range last year, though minor arm issues dimnished his velocity later in the season. Neither his slider or changeup projects as an above-average pitch, limiting his ceiling to more of a back-rotation type than a starter who profiles higher in a rotation. That’s still plenty valuable, especially if Acevedo is able to stay healthy and put his 6’7” and 250-pound frame to use by eating innings. He has tools that would play well in the ‘pen if something forces him from a starting role.
(#8) Clarke Schmidt, RHP
Ceiling: 50 Risk: High ETA: 2020 Role Description: League Average Starter (#4/#5 SP)
Ht/Wt: 6’1” / 200 lbs. B/T: R/R Highest Level: SS-A Age (as of April 1, 2019): 23y, 1m
Showing four pitches, Schmidt impressed in his return from Tommy John surgery in 2018. He throws his 92-94 mph fastball for strikes to work ahead, then mixes his three secondaries for whiffs and weak contact, including a future above-average change-up to neutralize lefties. His slider works well for chases to same side hitters, and an average curveball rounds out the repertoire. His arm action isn’t the prettiest, but he repeats his low-effort delivery with a sturdy lower half. While there isn’t a true plus pitch in the arsenal, the control/command of a wide repertoire could make Schmidt a backend starter.
(#10) Trevor Stephan, RHP
Stephan impressed during his first full pro season, reaching Double-A by the end of 2018. New York’s third-round pick in 2017 from the University of Arkansas, he’s likely to return to Trenton to start next season and could keep moving quickly through the system. Stephan’s fastball sits in the 91-to-94 mph range (touching 95 mph at best) with above-average armside run. His primary off-speed is a mid-80s slider that plays like an above-average pitch to righties at best. Stephan’s funky delivery and borderline changeup hint at a pitcher that could wind up in the ‘pen. New York will keep developing him as a starter in hopes he grows into a back-rotation type, though Stephan has the tools to move quickly in a setup role if he’s placed in the ‘pen.
(#12) Chance Adams, RHP
There’s reason to speculate whether Adams profiles best as a starter, but he’s been a model of durability in the rotation the last few years. Adams has logged more than 113 innings in each of the last three seasons, maintaining strong strikeout rates over that stretch. His heavy low-90s fastball has some heft on it that could lead to more groundball outs moving forward, backed up by a solid-average slider with sharp bite down in the zone. Both his curve and change grade as serviceable pitches, though the depth of Adams’ arsenal could be short for a true back-rotation profile. He’s ready to contribute next year and is the type of arm that could pitch in a number of roles.
(#13) Michael King, RHP
Not even the Yankees could have expected what 2018 had in store for King when they acquired him from the Marlins just after the conclusion of the 2017 season. The righty went from deep follow to top prospect in just one season, rocketing to Triple-A and being voted MiLB’s Pitcher of the Year. He pitched to a 1.79 ERA across 161 innings spread between three levels, holding opposing hitters to a paltry .202 battng average and striking out nearly a batter per inning. King has the stuff to back up that performance and prove his 2018 was no fluke. He commands a low-90s heater well and throws strikes with a slider and change that grade as average pitches. No one aspect of his game wows you, but the sum-of-parts could make King a low-end #5 type or solid swingman option.
Garrett Whitlock, RHP
Ceiling: 45 Risk: High ETA: 2020 Role Description: Swingman
Ht/Wt: 6’5” / 190 lbs. B/T: R/R Highest Level: A+ Age (as of April 1, 2019): 22y, 9m
Whitlock was an unheralded 17th round pick in 2017, though he’s on the radar now after a breakout first full pro season that saw the righty pitch his way to Double-A Trenton. His fastball works in the 92-to-94 mph range with above-average armside run, able to rack up ground balls when he pitches to contact. The primary off-speed is a mid-80s slider that’s especially tough to righties from Whitlock’s funky delivery and closed front side. His changeup lags behind the fastball and slider, thrown too firm in the high-80s and speeding up bats.
Freicer Perez, RHP
Ceiling: 45 Risk: High ETA: 2020 Role Description: Setup Relief
Ht/Wt: 6’8” / 240 lbs. B/T: R/R Highest Level: A+ Age (as of April 1, 2019): 23y, 0m
Perez had a lost year in 2018, though his size and flashes of dominant raw stuff are enough to place him on this list. He struggled through six starts in the Florida State League before missing the rest of the season with a right shoulder inflammation. Perez’ fastball touches the high-90s, with a power slider that’s his go-to secondary pitch. The 6-foot-8 righty has a high ceiling but a ton of risk. He’s a tough player to grade right now and likely moves to the ‘pen, in big need of a bounceback year heading into 2019.
Thairo Estrada, SS
Estrada was slated to spend 2018 with Triple-A Scranton but was injured for most of the season. The Yankees sent him to Fall League to make up some lost reps. He be just 23-years-old next year, and while he’ll likely spend the bulk of 2019 in Triple-A, Estrada could surface soon in the Bronx. A glove-first infielder with defensive versatility, Estrada profiles as a bench piece.
Ben Heller, RHP
Ceiling: 40 Risk: High ETA: 2018 Role Description: Middle Relief
Ht/Wt: 6’3” / 205 lbs. B/T: R/R Highest Level: MLB Age (as of April 1, 2019): 27y, 7m
Heller came to the Yankees in the deal that sent Andrew Miller to Cleveland in 2016. He briefly debuted in the Bronx in 2017 after spending most of the year with Triple-A Scranton. Heller missed all of last year recovering from a complex injury in his throwing elbow, undergoing both Tommy John surgery and a procedure to remove bone spurs. When healthy, the righty has shown a high-90s fastball and hard slider that could immediately contribute to the Yankees’ bullpen presuming he’s ready to pitch in 2019.
Kyle Holder, SS/INF
Ceiling: 40 Risk: High ETA: 2020 Role Description: Bench Player
Ht/Wt: 6’1” / 185 lbs. B/T: L/R Highest Level: AA Age (as of April 1, 2019): 24y, 10m
Holder’s glovework at shortstop was unquestioned heading into the 2015 Draft, but questions about his bat made him somewhat of a surprise first-rounder from the University of San Diego. The rap on Holder is largely the same: he’s an excellent defensive infielder who won’t hit enough to play every day. He profiles as a defensive-minded bench player who can move all over the dirt.
(#2) Estevan Florial, OF
Florial’s tools and athleticism have long made him one of the top prospects in New York’s system, but his stock is down a bit after a rough 2018 season where he struggled to turn a corner with his approach. He missed time with a hamate injury, something that’s partially behind a fairly pedestrian showing in the notoriously pitcher-friendly Florida State League (.255/.354/.361). The Yankees sent Florial to Fall League to make up for lost reps, and despite being one of the few players repeating the league (Florial was also a 2017 AFL alum), he struggled with Glendale against more experienced compettion. There’s legitimate five-tool potential but he has a long way to go cutting down strikeouts and protecting the zone. Florial will only be 21 for the entirety of next year, so there’s time to start working out some of the kinks at the plate. That said, the clock is ticking to turn tools into performance, and 2019 represents somewhat of a make-or-break year for the young outfielder if he is to stay close to the top of Yankees prospect lists given the system’s up-and-coming talent.
(#4) Anthony Seigler, C
The Yankees’ 2018 first rounder (23rd overall selection) brings a dynamic collection of tools to the field beginning with a switch-hitting stick that produces comfortably to all fields. There’s some natural lift in the swing, which already produces good line drive and fly ball contact, and a chance for Seigler to develop into average playable power at maturity taking doubles production and homers into account. His compact swing, patient approach and advanced feel for the zone should help Seigler maintain solid contact rates and he has enough potential to do damage that upper-level arms will be forced to work to the margins, which should help him produce solid on-base rates. He’s also a fringe-average runner who could be an asset on the bases. Behind the plate the former Florida commit is an athletic backstop with good side-to-side actions, soft but firm hands and a very good catch-and-throw game. He projects as a future above-average everyday producer and should be ready for full-season ball in 2019.
(#5) Antonio Cabello, OF
The Yankees added to their international bonus pool in the 2016-2017 signing period in order to make a run at Shohei Ohtani. The Bombers didn’t land their top target but picked up Cabello and other amateur prospects as a consolation. Cabello was originally scouted as a catcher, but tools that didn’t fit with the position (plus speed, fringy arm, offensive upside) caused the Yankees to move the 18-year-old to CF. He thrived thre, dominating Rookie-level competition across the DSL and GCL. Cabello has a short, efficient stroke that makes lots of contact while also showing an advanced approach. There’s surprising raw power in his bat that projects to show more in games as he gets older. As a catcher-turned-outfelder, Cabello is a bit of an enigma and carries plenty of risk given his age and proximity. We’re bullish on the ceiling despite this, as his offensive upside at a center-diamond position gives the ceiling of an above-average contributor.
(#9) Luis Gil, RHP
Lean and athletic, the hard-throwing Gil projects for two plus pitches. He runs his fastball up to 99 mph, sitting 94-95 mph with life and bat-missing qualities. He pairs the gas with a sharp low-80s curveball that lacks consistency but also projects to generate whiffs. Gil’s change is rough at present, often firm and lacking fade, but his athleticism and arm speed offer some promise the pitch will come along. Gil’s future role will ultimately be determined by his ability to repeat his delivery and throw strikes. His ceiling is highest in the rotation, though his plus stuff affords room to move to a ‘pen role if it doesn’t click as a starter long-term.
(#11) Roansy Contreras, RHP
Contreras is undersized but athletic, allowing him to control his body and limit walks well for a young power arm. Both his fastball and hard breaking ball show above-average potential. Contreras’ heater sits in the mid-90s and he has advanced feel for spin on the bender. In order to remain a starter in the big leagues, Contreras will need to improve a little-used changeup and prove his slight frame is durable enough to eat innings. There’s risk given Contreras’ age and proximity, though he brings plenty of upside as well.
(#14) Luis Medina, RHP
Ceiling: 50 Risk: Extreme ETA: 2023 Role Description: League Average Starter (#4/#5 SP)
Ht/Wt: 6’1” / 175 lbs. B/T: R/R Highest Level: R Age (as of April 1, 2019): 19y, 11m
Video #1 | Video #2 | Spotlight
Medina is undersized but twitchy and extremely athletic, able to generate top-scale armspeed that produces high-90s heat despite a smaller body. His power curveball (81-to-84 mph) shows the makings of a future plus pitch, and paired with his fastball, Medina projects to have at least two miss-bat weapons. Like many young power arms, Medina’s changeup and control are behind the fastball/breaking ball combo. Though he was only 19, a troubling walk rate (25-percent) in the Appy League sheds light on how far he has to go with limiting free passes. Medina has a high ceiling–potentially a mid-rotaiton starter or impactful ‘pen arm–but he’s more lottery ticket than sure thing at this stage.
(#15) Nick Nelson, RHP
Nelson played both ways in junior college before the Yankees took him in 2016’s fourth round and converted him to the mound full-time. Considering his lack of time spent focusing solely on pitching, Nelson has moved quickly through the system and was a pleasant surprise in 2018. His fastball touches 98 mph and sits in the 94-to-96 mph range. He flashes feel for two secondaries, a curve and change, with the bender grading as the better of the two right now. Nelson’s best-case ceiling is a power #4/#5 type starter, though it’s easy to see him making the transition to a ‘pen role if he falls short of that projection.
Everson Pereira, OF
Pereira signed for $1.5 million in the summer of 2017, and the Yankees thought enough of his polish to send him straight to the Appy League as a 17-year-old last season. The Venezuelan outfielder held his own, a testament to the polish and game skills that enticed international scouts. We’re chalking his 30-some percent strikeout rate and general issues with breaking stuff up to being somewhat over matched in pro ball. Pereira has above-average feel for the barrel, paired with the bat speed and strength to develop enticing offensive upside for a CF. He’s best on defense, already able to play a quality defensive outfield and projecting to remain at a center-diamond position long-term.
Anthony Garcia, OF
Garcia is a physical beast with an intriguing mix of plus raw power and switch-hitting ability. He’s a boom-or-bust type bat and might always be given the length of his levers, able to generate monster power with similarly intense strikeout issues. Garcia paced the Gulf Coast League with 10 home runs last summer but finished second in whiffs, too. He’s currently a corner outfielder but might wind up too large to play anywhere but 1B. Garcia is the epitome of a risk/reward prospect: he’s numerous years from ready and might never make enough contact, but his power output will be immense if the hit tool finishes anywhere close to average.
Josh Breaux, C
A two-way standout at McLennan (TX) Community College, Breaux’s carrying tools are his easy double-plus raw power and arm strength (reaching triple digits on the bump). Elbow troubles limited his time behind the plate and on the mound last spring, but the Yankees saw enough to make Breaux their second round selection in last year’s First-Year Player Draft, inking the JuCo product for just under $1.5 million – about $500,000 over slot for the 61st overall selection. Breaux has an aggressive approach at the plate that has the potential to drive up his strikeout rate and limit his walk rate, though that will be of limited concern if he’s able to grow into the above-average power producer scouts envision. Defensively, Breaux has the potential to grow into a capable defender with an above-average throwing game, though detractors worry there isn’t enough natural athleticism for him channel his big raw arm strength through a consistent and accurate delivery. With an offensive profile hinging on playable power production and a fair amount of development still to come behind the dish, Breaux comes with a high risk label but the potential to grow into an above-average offensive contributor from the catcher position.
Kevin Alcantara, OF
Ceiling: 50 Risk: Extreme ETA: 2024 Role Description: Everyday Player
Ht/Wt: 6’5” / 175 lbs. B/T: R/R Highest Level: DNP Age (as of April 1, 2019): 16y, 8m
Alcantara is a part of New York’s most recent international class, signing for a hefty bonus as one of the top prospects on last summer’s J2 market. He’s a physical specimen with an enticing blend of size, speed, and power. Alcantara’s body type might be able to stay in CF despite already standing 6-foot-5, a surprisingly fast runner for his height that covers ground with galloping strides. The length of his arms provides excellent natural leverage, and the fact Alcantara already is showing above-average raw power is scary given his age and remaining physical projection. He’s still likely a year away from coming stateside, but we expect Alcantara to feature prominently on future Yankees lists to come.
Nolan Martinez, RHP
Ceiling: 45 Risk: High ETA: 2021 Role Description: Swingman
Ht/Wt: 6’2” / 165 lbs. B/T: R/R Highest Level: A Age (as of April 1, 2019): 20y, 9m
Martinez was the Yankees’ third-round pick in 2016 from a Southern California high school. He’s an undersized righty with more pitchability than pure stuff. His fastball sits in the high-80s and cracks the 91-to-92 mph range at best, backed up by a usable curve and changeup he lands for strikes. The body and pitch mix likely aren’t here for a true three-times-through rotation option, but Martinez’ control and moxie gives the ceiling of a swingman or long reliever. He has a higher floor but less ceiling than most prep pitching prospects.
Jio Orozco, RHP
Orozco has spent parts of the last two seasons with Class A Charleston, pitching all of 2018 in the South Atlantic League. His fastball sits in the low-90s and is backed up by a solid changeup and decent curveball. Orozco’s change is his best weapon, able to sell the pitch with fastball armspeed and still get quality movement. His curveball shows like an average pitch at best, but issues with a long arm-circle detract from the breaking ball’s consistency.
Osiel Rodriguez, RHP
Ceiling: 45 Risk: Extreme ETA: 2024 Role Description: Swingman
Ht/Wt: 6’3” / 205 lbs. B/T: R/R Highest Level: DNP Age (as of April 1, 2019): 17y, 4m
The Cuban righty was a part of the Yankees’ 2018 international class, agreeing to a $600K bonus this past summer. His fastball touches 97 mph and already sits comfortably in the mid-90s, with a frame strong enough to hold that velocity without muscling up. Like many Cuban pitchers, Rodriguez works with a wide arsenal and has some “junkball” to his game, often changing release points or throwing in a hesitation move to disrupt timing. His delivery has some violence to it and will need to become more controlled in order to improve his fastball command, but the size and athleticism are here to make adjustments. He’s a lottery ticket at this stage, but Rodriguez’ frame and stuff merit mention on this list.
Matt Sauer, RHP
A prep arm from California, Sauer went to the Yankees in 2017’s second round. He stayed back in Extended Spring Training to begin 2018 before reporting to Short-Season Staten Island in June, making 13 solid starts in the New York-Penn League. Sauer has a durable frame and the chance for three average pitches, profiling as a swingman or low-end #5 starter. He could take a jump with a strong showing in full-season ball.
Wilkerman Garcia, SS/INF
Garcia was one of the crown jewels of New York’s 2014 J2 class. He has come along slowly, though he was only 20-years-old last season at Class A Charleston. A switch-hitter, Garcia struggled at the plate this year in the South Atlantic League. He could wind up a bit of a tweener–lacking the plus glove for a true SS and the offensive tools for regular at-bats anywhere else in the infield–giving the ceiling of a utility infielder a decent bat for that role. Garcia will need to turn a corner on both sides of the ball to reach that projection.
Rony Garcia, RHP
Garcia requires projection but checks the boxes of a potential back-rotation starter that eats innings. A durable 6-foot-3, his clean delivery allows advanced control for a young pitcher. Garcia’s fastball works in the 90-to-94 mph range with solid armside run. Reaching his ceiling will come down to whether both secondary pitches–a curveball and changeup–are able to finish as average-or-better offerings. In a system flush with young pitching prospects, we see Garcia as somewhat of a sleeper entering his age-21 season.
Oswaldo Cabrera, SS/INF
Cabrera was part of New York’s 2015 international class, best known for his defensive acumen contact ability at the time. That’s still the player Cabrera is, though a lack of physical development since signing has caused him to struggle at the plate despite not striking out much. He’s still young, but it doesn’t look like he will hit enough to profile as a regular. Cabrera’s glovework still gives him a chance at the big leagues, however, as he’s arguably the system’s best defensive infielder. He has struggled mightily in the South Atlantic League the last two years and might return to the level for a third time in 2019.
Josh Stowers, OF
Selected in the second round of the 2018 First Year Player Draft by the Seattle Mariners, Stowers made his way to the Yankees system this offseason in exchange for Shed Long (acquired from the Reds by New York in the Sonny Gray deal). Stowers slashed .341/.475/.570 for Louisville last spring and followed that up with a strong pro debut with Short-Season Everett where he slashed .260/.380/.410. Stowers is a plus runner underway and his speed plays well both in the outfield and on the bases, where he shows good feel and reads. At his best, Stowers utilizes a compact line drive swing that should produce plenty of doubles power to the gaps. He should be able to handle center field though his arm can be a bit light for some of the longer throws from the gap.
Ryder Green, OF
Ceiling: 45 Risk: Extreme ETA: 2023 Role Description: Role Player
Ht/Wt: 6’0” / 205 lbs. B/T: R/R Highest Level: R Age (as of April 1, 2019): 18y, 10m
The Yankees nabbed Green with their third round pick in the 2018 First Year Player Draft, with the talented young outfielder securing a $997,500 signing bonus to buy him away from three years at Vanderbilt (which, incidentally, still managed to land the top recruiting class last year). Green has emerging power from the right side thanks to good strength, some bat speed and natural lift. Green is an athletic and physical defender with above-average speed and enough feel and instincts to give him a chance to stick in center field. long term. Though his limited exposure to advanced arms in high school will present a steep learning curve at the pro ranks, Green impressed with his approach at the plate and the ease with which he drove the ball in limited Gulf Coast action after signing, despite striking out in over one-third of his plate appearances.
Isiah Gilliam, OF
Gilliam’s calling card is his raw power, which grades out as an easy plus from both sides of plate (and a little more natural loft from the left side). He’s an aggressive hitter who can get himself in trouble early in the count by expanding the zone, limiting his ability to find drivable pitchers once behind. When he does find the ball with the barrel he can do significant damage both to the gaps and over the fence. He’s a well below-average runner with a passable glove on the outfield corners, so there is a lot of pressure on the stick to develop into a true above-average playable power threat. That will mean tightening up his approach and more consistently working for pitches he can lift with authority. He’ll get a stiff test at Double-A in 2019 with a chance to up his stock significantly if he can produce.
Dermis Garcia, 1B
Garcia received a whopping $3M amateur bonus, headling the Yankees’ banner 2014-2015 J2 class. His massive raw power still flashes but Garcia has had issue avoiding strikeouts and making contact. An extra-large frame with softness through the middle, he moved across the infield from 3B to 1B in 2018 despite having more than enough arm for the hot corner. The Yankees have toyed with the idea of moving him to the mound because of his throwing arm, though he’ll likely get more time to develop as a hitter in 2019.
Ceiling: 40 Risk: Extreme ETA: 2021 Role Description: Middle Relief
Ht/Wt: 5’10” / 175 lbs. B/T: L/L Highest Level: A+ Age (as of April 1, 2019): 24y, 6m
Despite being fairly short, Severino is well-built throughout with a whippy arm-stroke. This produces high-90s gas and hard breaking ball spin, though his control is well below-average and holds back his overall value. Severino’s left-handed velocity makes him a prospect to some degree, but he won’t yield any value at the Major League level unless he finds a way to throw more consistent strikes.