In 2011 the New York Yankees signed right-hander Luis Niebla out of the Mexican League at 20 years old. The Mexican League is considered a Triple-A level league, equivalent to the Pacific Coast League and the International League in the United States. But unlike those leagues, the teams that make up the Mexican League are not affiliated with Major League Baseball teams.
At 19 years old in 2010 he appeared in just one game in the Mexican League, throwing two innings and allowing a run on four hits. In 2011 he went to the Dominican Summer League where in 17 relief appearances he was 6-1 with a 1.72 ERA. He came over to the United States in 2012 where he got his first chances as a starter, starting 4 out of the 12 games he appeared in. He continued to work as a starter in 2013 when was with the Charleston RiverDogs. He opened the 2014 season on the disabled list but came back to pitch in 13 games for the Gulf Coast Yankees, Staten Island Yankees and Charleston RiverDogs.
With an injury shortening his 2014 season he went back to Mexico to play in the Mexican Winter League. So far he has not disappointed for the Caneros de los Mochis. In nine games this season he owns a 2-3 record with a 2.87 ERA. His innings were limited early on but in his last few games he has gone five innings in each start.
Niebla has struck out 27 batters in Mexico, while walking 18 and limiting opponents to 29 hits in 27.2 innings. Right-handers are hcig the most trouble against him, hitting just .130 in 22.2 innings. While his opponents’ batting average for lefties is .293 he does have a lower ERA against them.
If he continues with this progress there is a strong likelihood that he will start the 2015 season with the Tampa Yankees in the Florida State League.