Ryan Mattheus took his fist to a locker after giving up five runs on four hits and two walks against the Padres. In those cases the metalic objects usually win. After the punch Mattheus found himself with a broken hand. He is not the first player to do that and he won’t be the last. As a result of his anger and a stretched out pen Yunesky Maya was called up by the Nationals along with Fernando Abad. The Nationals put Mattheus on the disabled list and sent down outfielder Eury Perez.
Yunesky Maya defected from Cuba about the same time as Aroldis Chapman. He was considered the more polished pitcher than Chapman, but lacked the overall stuff. Myworld had thought Maya would be pitching in the major leagues as a number three or four starter while Chapman struggled to get his command and find a third pitch in the minors. The reverse has happened. Chapman has become a closer for the Reds while Maya has been locked in AAA for the Nationals.
Maya stands only 5′11″. His pedestrian fastball and other underwhelming stuff does not seem to have the same effect on major league hitters as it did with Cuban hitters. In the Nacional Series he was considered a better pitcher than Chapman and for the 2009 WBC he was the top starter for Cuba. Aroldis Chapman was a back of the rotation starter for the Cuban team, but got most of the buzz because of his 100 mile per hour fastball.
His best year in the Cuban League was in 2008-2009 when he won the equivalent of the Cuban Cy Young Award finishing 13-4 with a 2.22 ERA. He struck out 119, second to Aroldis Chapman who had struck out 130. He signed with the Nationals in July 2010 and zoomed through their minor league system, getting two starts for AAA Syracuse before the season ended.
Maya had his best year last year when he finished with a 3.88 ERA at AAA Syracuse after 28 starts. This did not result in a promotion to the Nationals, even though he is listed on their 40 man roster. This year he is a less impressive 1-4 with a 5.07 ERA in eight starts. The opposition is hitting 30 points higher off him this year than they did last year. He still got the call up.
He has shown improvement with his last three starts, all quality outings. He has given up only four runs in his last 20 plus innings. The Nationals rewarded him with a callup to their bullpen. In the majors his record is 1-4, 5.52 ERA. He is going to have to improve on those results to stay in the bullpen.