Get to know No. 11 Draft prospect Trey Yesavage

June 7th, 2024

East Carolina's Trey Yesavage has gone from electric reliever to top-flight college starter in three years, climbing up prospect rankings while building on each successive season.

With a well-developed four-pitch arsenal and ECU's recently earned reputation for developing intriguing arms, Yesavage has a real shot of going within the first 10 picks of the 2024 MLB Draft.

Here's what you need to know about MLB Pipeline's No. 11 Draft prospect.

FAST FACTS
Position: RHP
Ht/Wt: 6-foot-4, 225 lbs.
B/T: R/R
DOB: July 28, 2003
College: East Carolina
High school: Boyertown HS (Boyertown, Penn.)
Born: Pottstown, Penn.
MLB Pipeline ranking: 11

He's had something of a meteoric rise

Yesavage didn't quite come out of nowhere -- more on that later -- but he has catapulted himself from bullpen arm with severe control issues to anticipated first-rounder within a span of three seasons.

As mentioned, Yesavage began his collegiate career in ECU's bullpen in 2022, when he posted a sky-high 15.6 K/9 rate but was undercut by poor fastball command, also ending the year with an also sky-high 6.6 BB/9. After spending the summer of 2022 with the Charlottesville Tom Sox of the Valley League, he cracked the rotation in his sophomore season, and the transition couldn't have gone more smoothly. In 16 appearances (14 starts), the then-19-year-old went 7-1 with a 2.61 ERA, vastly-improved 2.7 BB/9 and 105 K's in 76 innings.

That performance catapulted him to No. 36 on MLB Pipeline's pre-season Draft prospect rankings. But we already told you he's up to No. 11, and you know where this is going. His 2024 season was even better (11-1, 2.03 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 145 K/32 BB in 93 1/3 IP), earning him a unanimous selection for the AAC's Pitcher of the Year Award. And speaking of hardware …

He's racked up a few awards

Despite already mentioning his AAC Pitcher of the Year award, we should probably devote an entire section to awards and honors. An AAC First Team selection following his great sophomore season, he went on to pitch for Team USA and later be named to the 2024 preseason Golden Spikes Award watchlist. ECU were voted AAC favorites by rival head coaches, no doubt related to their burgeoning ace's potential. He since was named a semifinalist for the 2024 Golden Spikes Award (though he didn't make the cut as a finalist) and took home monthly honors in April after striking out 50 batters in 26 1/3 innings.

This isn't quite where he thought he'd find himself

As if we needed any more proof that no two paths to pro ball are the same, Yesavage has admitted that for a long time that baseball was hardly the sport he most excelled the most. Growing up on his family farm in Boyertown, Penn., a young(er) Yesavage spent much of his time doing what you'd expect, given the setting -- riding ATVs and snowmobiles, deer hunting and playing paintball with his brothers and cousins were what came to mind in an interview with D1Baseball.com (subscription required). But within the realm of organized sport, Yesavage described not even being especially good at baseball for much of his childhood, being more of a football player until his potentially million-dollar arm was discovered at a baseball camp when he was 14.

It's hardly a brand new story in Major League Baseball, but "Little League bench player" to "first-round Draft pick" is quite a glow-up.

He's gotten caught up in a few no-hit bids

No-hitters became strangely commonplace for East Carolina this year, so it won't make for much of a shock that their ace had a hand in setting that trend. Yesavage started a run-rule no-no of his own -- ECU's second in four days -- on April 12 against UNC Charlotte, throwing six sparkling innings, allowing three walks and striking out 12. The effort was later finished in seven by teammate Jackson DiLorenzo.

"It's awesome and it just shows the resilience of our pitching staff," Yesavage said of the quick-succession no-nos. "It shows how deep we are. It's great for the staff. Great for our confidence."

Incredibly, Yesavage nearly did it again just two weeks later in his April 26 start against the University of Memphis. He came within an out of a solo seven-inning run-rule no-hitter, and although it wasn't to be, he still ended the night having thrown 6 2/3 shutout innings, allowing two walks and a hit against another 12 strikeouts.

He recently dealt with an odd injury

If you watched as East Carolina made the trip to the AAC Tournament this year, you may have noticed something was missing. If you did, that something was probably Yesavage. We won't leave you hanging -- while he thankfully wasn't battling any arm issues, he was dealing with an unexpected injury. As it turned out, upon ECU's arrival in Clearwater for the AAC tournament, Yesavage was examined for worsening chest pain and was found to have a partially collapsed lung, an injury that hasn't, at least publicly, been sourced to any particular incident.

While an unusual setback, Yesavage only required a brief hospital stay and recovered quickly enough to rejoin his team for the NCAA Regionals. Not only that, but facing a stacked Wake Forest team, he tossed 7 1/3 one-hit, one-run innings to outduel fellow top Draft prospect Chase Burns in a Pirates victory. While that was Yesavage's final outing before ECU was eliminated, it was quite a high note to hit heading into the Draft.