Cuban pitcher Yunesky Maya had an up and down start in his Potomac Nationals debut Sunday at Pfitzner stadium.
Maya sailed through the first three innings but then got into some trouble in the fourth inning, when the first six batters reached base. Winston-Salem scored five in that frame and went on to win the game, 9-8.
Maya threw a lot of off-speed pitches and they were very effective. Maya ended up going two batters into the fifth inning, allowed seven hits, six runs, three walks, four strikeouts and one home run. He threw one wild pitch and hit one batter.
Although the overall numbers wouldn't make headlines, there was a lot of good that came out of Maya's first game.
Pitching coach Paul Menhart says Maya's slider really stood out.
"He didn't throw many change ups, but that pitch was also very good," Menhart said. "He was very impressive. Maya got a little wild up in the zone in the fourth, but overall, he has good stuff and is a great athlete."
Menhart believes Maya will be a great get for the organization.
Will Flemming, Potomac's play-by-play announcer, agreed. "It was easy to see how Maya has had so much success. He makes pitches and keeps hitters off balance. The first time through the order, Maya forced a lot of awkward swings."
Maya also battled a blister on his pitching thumb, and considering he hadn't pitched competitively in several months, it was a good first step in pro baseball. Now the big question is: "Will his off-speed pitches translate to success in the big leagues.
His fastball was clocked from the high 80s to a couple of times at 90 MPH. His breaking pitches went from the 70s to low 80s and one curveball, according to Flemming, dropped to 65 MPH.
Maya is still with Potomac today, and nothing has been announced as to where he will pitch next.