Born: August 22, 1987
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 180
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Drafted: 8th Round, 257th overall pick, 2008 (Rockies)
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
College: Chapman University
Agent: N/A


Yacko was a shortstop and closer at Division III Chapman.  Aside from one start, he was strictly a reliever in the Rockies’ system.  He had high K rates in the low minors, but they dropped as he moved up and he’s gotten increasingly hittable.  He at least doesn’t walk many.  Yacko threw a knuckleball before he was drafted, but the Rockies told him to stop throwing it and focus on his other four pitches.  He describes it as a hard knuckled that sits around 83-85.  The Pirates signed him after the Rockies released him at the start of the 2013 season and told him to go back to the knuckler.  Initially, he was throwing it around half the time, but expecting to increase that to 80-90% eventually.

R+:  1-1-11, 4.44 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 26.1 IP, 3.1 BB/9, 14.7 K/9

Yacko posted mostly good numbers in his debut, including an exception K rate, but he allowed a HR every five innings.

A:  2-2-4, 3.52 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 69.0 IP, 2.0 BB/9, 11.2 K/9

In low A, Yacko continued to fan a lot of hitters without walking many.  He also got his HR rate down to one every 14 innings, but he gave up slightly more than a hit per inning.

A+:  6-5-5, 3.50 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 64.0 IP, 2.5 BB/9, 9.8 K/9

Yacko had a very similar season to the previous one, and did it in the high-offense California League.

A+:  1-6-3, 1.86 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 72.2 IP, 1.7 BB/9, 7.9 K/9

The Rockies sent Yacko back to the California League and he put up similar numbers again, except he allowed only one HR, which helped cut his ERA roughly in half, and his K rate dropped.

A+:  6-4-1, 3.64 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 59.1 IP, 2.1 BB/9, 7.6 K/9
AA:  0-1-0, 15.43 ERA, 2.14 WHIP, 2.1 IP, 7.7 BB/9, 15.4 K/9

Yacko went back to the Cal League yet again, except for a two-game stint in AA.  He got hit harder and allowed seven HRs this time.

A-:  2-1-0, 3.18 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 17.0 IP, 1.6 BB/9, 7.4 K/9
A+:  0-0-0, 18.56 ERA, 3.38 WHIP, 5.1 IP, 11.8 BB/9, 3.4 K/9

The Pirates signed Yacko after their two class A teams had very rough first weeks, including serious bullpen problems.  He went to Bradenton for three games in May, but that obviously didn’t go well at all.  Once Jamestown’s season started, the Pirates assigned Yacko there.  He pitched out of the bullpen and did reasonably well.

The Rockies seem to have concluded that Yacko was maxed out at high A.  He’s 26 now, but the normal considerations don’t apply with knuckleballers.  The Pirates will probably try him somewhere in class A in 2014 and it’s anybody’s guess what will happen.

Baseball Reference–Minors
2014: Minor League Contract
Signing Bonus: $100,000
MiLB Debut: 2008
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2014
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
June 5, 2008: Drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 8th round, 257th overall pick; signed on June 16.
April 4, 2013: Released by the Colorado Rockies.
April 6, 2013: Signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a minor league free agent.