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Yankees Top Prospect #47 – Gabe Encinas

The New York Yankees drafted right-handed pitcher Gabriel Encinas in the 6th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of St. Paul High School in Santa Fe Springs, California with the 205th overall pick.  In August 2010 he signed with the Yankees for a $300,000 signing bonus.

After signing Gabe would wait until the 2011 Gulf Coast League Yankees season to make his professional debut.  During the 2011 season he appeared in 12 games, 11 of which were starts.  In 51 1/3 innings of work he struck out 46 batters while walking just 18.  His performance earned him a promotion to the Staten Island Yankees for the 2012 season where he went 3-7 in 16 games, 15 starts, striking out 48 in 70 2/3 innings, walking 39 batters and allowing 39 runs for a 4.97 ERA.

In 2013 Encinas would start the season with the Charleston RiverDogs of the South Atlantic League.  With the RiverDogs he was 3-0 with a 0.77 ERA in 7 games, 35 innings, with 31 strike outs and 16 walks.  On May 12, 2013 he was placed on the disabled list with a shoulder injury and would end up losing the rest of the season after he needed surgery.

Gabe would make his return to game action in June 2014 after having Tommy John surgery with the Gulf Coast Yankees on a rehab assignment.  In 3 games for the GCL he had a 3.24 ERA over 8 1/3 innings with 7 strike outs and 4 walks.  On July 8 the RiverDogs activated him from the disabled list and he spent the rest of the season and earned a 0-4 record with a 5.81 ERA.  In 11 starts he threw 31 innings, striking out 29 batters and walking 16.

Earning a promotion to the Tampa Yankees of the Florida State League in 2015, Encinas went 3-7 spiting time between the bullpen and starting rotation.  He threw 98 1/3 innings, striking out 116 batters while walking 63.  As a reliever he held opponents to a .102 batting average.

Gabriel was once considered one of the best starting pitcher prospects in the Yankees system before losing time to injury.  He has since come back with a fastball that usually sits in the low-90s and occasionally hits 96 miles per hour.  He compliments it with a two-seamer that is usually in the low-90s along with a curveball.

Encinas is one pitcher that would benefit from a permanent move to the bullpen.  Currently there looks to be a rotation crunch in the upper levels of the farm system and it would be difficult for him to find innings in the rotation.  A move to the bullpen helps ease that crunch and could help him reach the big leagues sooner.  He is slated to open the 2016 season with the Trenton Thunder of the Double-A Eastern League but it is yet known if it would be as a starter or as a reliever.

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