2012: A Chiefs Odyssey – Jason’s #4
Bryce Harper not in the top three? What is wrong with us? What could possibly be more interesting than a near-teenager who electrified the Major Leagues?
4. My Oh Maya
Yunesky Maya originally signed with the Nationals in 2010 for eight million dollars over four seasons. Because he was a Cuban defector, the amount of video on Maya wasn’t plentiful. Maya was such an enigma that there was extensive debate abut whether or not his name was spelled with an i. Some sources referred to him as Yuneski Maya. We quickly learned to spell his name with a y, but we’ve recently uncovered this long-ago-buried list of other rejected spellings which turned out to be relatives of his:
UNESCO Maya (His philanthropic brother-in-law)
Yuneskey Maya (His locksmith stepfather)
Yunesky Mayan (His South American cousin)
Soon-Yinesky Maya (His half-sister who married Woody Allen)
As you can see, it was quite difficult to determine exactly which person we were dealing with. And even when we figured out who he was, we didn’t exactly know what he was. Chiefs pitching coach Greg Booker told us that Maya had at least 12 pitches. He threw a typical fastball, curveball, slider and changeup, but threw each from varying arm angles, leading to more variety than your typical Laugh-In episode.
That grab bag of pitches was a negative at times, though, for Maya. Scouts felt that he didn’t rely enough on his fastball and threw too much “junk.” So, Booker made an effort this year to change that tendency. It clicked, it seemed, on a July night in Rochester.
The first 20 batters in the game for Rochester didn’t reach base. That means Maya went six innings and two-thirds without allowing a baserunner. He only threw to a third ball in the count twice in 20 batters. With two out, Chris Parmelee came to the plate.
Even though Parmelee homered, Maya finished eight innings and got the Chiefs the win. It was part of a five-game win streak for Maya.