Yohander Mendez

Position: LHP
Born: 1/17/1995
Height: 6'5
Weight: 200
B/T: L/L
Acquired: Signed as an international free agent (Venezuela) on July 2, 2011 (TEX).

Most Recent Stats at Time of Debut
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 12-3 with a 2.19 ERA in 24 games between High Desert (High A), Frisco (Double-A) and Round Rock (Triple-A), combining to strike out 113 batters in 111 innings, walking 41 while scattering 71 hits.

Info & MLB Debut Date
Recalled from Round Rock on September 2.
MLB Debut Date: 9/5/2016

Debut Details
September 5, in a 14-6 loss to the Seattle Mariners. The third of five pitchers on the night, he allowed five runs on four hits in one-plus innings, walking one. Of 39 pitches thrown, 23 were for strikes. Mendez came on to start the bottom of the fifth inning in relief of Alex Claudio. The first batter he faced, Jesus Sucre, singled to center field before Ketel Marte grounded into a force out and Guillermo Heredia flew out. With two outs, Marte stole second base and came around on a single to left field by Franklin Gutierrez before Robinson Cano grounded out to end the inning. In the sixth, Nelson Cruz got what would be a six-run Mariners rally started by leading off with a single to left field and moved to third on Kyle Seager’s double to right. Dae-Ho Lee then reached base safely on a fielder’s choice to second base, allowing Cruz to score. Leonys Martin drew a walk to load the bases with no outs, at which point the Rangers brought in Jose Leclerc in relief of Mendez. Leclerc promptly uncorked a wild pitch with pinch-hitter Seth Smith at the plate, scoring Seager, and then intentionally walked Smith to reload the bases to re-set the force at any base. After Marte struck out looking, Leclerc walked Heredia to drive in Lee, after which Gutierrez doubled to left field to score Martin, closing the book on Mendez for the night.

Player Notes
One of the youngest players in the majors at 21 years old, Mendez’s out pitch is his changeup, which Baseball America ranks as tops in the Rangers’ farm system. His climb has been pretty meteoric, as 2016 marked the first time he’d ever pitched above Class A – in 2015, he was 3-3 with a 2.44 ERA at Hickory in the South Atlantic League, striking out 74 while walking just 15 and allowing 57 hits in 66 innings, a span of 21 games, eight of them starts. He’s shaken off injury issues from the past which limited innings earlier on, and brings a toolbox that includes a low-90s fastball along with a slider and changeup. Signed at 16 years old, the Rangers have wisely taken their time with him, and that patience is already paying dividends.