Raynel Espinal

From BR Bullpen

Raynel Joseph Espinal

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 3", Weight 215 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Raynel Espinal pitched for the Dominican national team before making his major league debut.

Espinal was originally signed by the New York Yankees. He was 5-1 with a 3.55 ERA for the 2013 DSL Yankees 1 in 2013, then 2-2 with 12 saves and a 3.54 ERA for the same team a year later (41 K in 28 IP). He was third in the Dominican Summer League in saves, three shy of leader Yanuel Cuevas. He missed 2015, presumably due to injury.

Returning to action in 2016, he pitched for the DSL Yankees 2 (0-2, 3.60 in 4 G), GCL Yankees East (0-4, 4.26 in 6 G), Staten Island Yankees (0-1, 14.73 in 2 G) and Pulaski Yankees (1-3, 4.12 in 4 G). While his ERA was 4.63 and he walked only 9 in 70 innings, his composite record was 1-10, leading the Yankees chain in losses. He fared much better in 2017, again bouncing around, this time with the Charleston RiverDogs (2-1, 1.16 in 10 G), Tampa Yankees (0-1, Sv, 1.69 in 8 G) and Trenton Thunder (2-0, 0.46 in 9 G), with a .71 WHIP and 1.09 ERA overall. He led minor league relievers (60+ IP) in WHIP. [1]

Espinal made his Dominican Winter League debut with the 2017-2018 Gigantes del Cibao, allowing two walks and a hit while only retiring one batter but not giving up a run. He spent all of 2018 in AAA with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Despite a solid season (7-2, 2 Sv, 3.09 ERA, 95 K in 67 IP), he was not called up to the big club. He was 5th in the Yankees farm system with 41 games pitched; among primary relievers in the chain, only Phillip Diehl fanned more. He was 1-1 with a 2.35 ERA for the Gigantes in the winter.

Moving to the rotation for most of 2019, he was 5-7 with a 4.32 ERA for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, still averaging over a K per inning (79 K, 75 IP). The Boston Red Sox took him in the AAA portion of the 2019 Rule V Draft. [2] The 2020 minor league season was wiped out by COVID-19, though. He was 1-0 with a 0.87 ERA in seven games (two starts) for Cibao in 2020-2021. He began 2021 by going 6-1 for the Worcester Red Sox.

He then got a break to pitch for the Dominican team in the 2020 Final Olympic Qualifier (the 2020 Olympics were still known by that name even though they had been pushed off to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic). He started their opener against Venezuela and allowed five hits and one walk in three innings; three of the hits were solo homers (two by Alexi Amarista, one by Alexander Palma); Luis Castillo took over in the 4th with a 3-2 deficit but the Dominicans rallied to win the game and would win the tournament for a spot in the Olympics. [3] He was 3-3 for Worcester after returning and was at 9-4, 3.74 when he was promoted to the majors when Martin Perez and Matt Barnes went on to the COVID-19 list at the end of August. [4]

Espinal made his MLB debut as a reliever for Hansel Robles with a 4-1 deficit in the 7th against the Tampa Bay Rays on August 30, 2021. He went 1-2-3 against Joey Wendle, Manuel Margot and Kevin Kiermaier. In the 8th, he walked Mike Zunino then got Brandon Lowe on a liner. Nelson Cruz doubled and Wander Franco singled them both in before Austin Meadows lined out to leave him with a 9.00 ERA for his debut - and his only major league game that season.

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