Yacksel Rios Melendez
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 195 lb.
- High School Escuela Doctora Conchita Cuevas
- Debut August 22, 2017
Yacksel Ríos was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico. He was Philadelphia Phillies' 12th-round selection in the 2011 amateur draft, out of Escuela Doctora Conchita Cuevas in Gurabo, Puerto Rico. He made his professional debut later that year, with the GCL Phillies where he pitched to a 0–1 record, and 8.47 ERA, in 11 1/3 innings. Ríos returned to the GCL in 2012, where he was 2–2 with a 6.60 ERA in 30 innings pitched. In 2013, he played for the Williamsport Crosscutters, where he was 5–3 with a 3.59 ERA in 15 games (including 10 games started). He started a combined no-hitter, concluded by Mark Meadors and Manaure Martinez. The 2014 season found Ríos pitching for the Lakewood BlueClaws, where he compiled a 6–2 record and 3.69 ERA in 102 1/3 innings pitched.
He spent 2015 with the Clearwater Threshers, where he was 6–5, with a 2.75 ERA, in 26 games (10 starts). The next year, 2016, again found him with Clearwater, the GCL Phillies, and the Reading Fightin Phils, where he was a combined 5–4, with a 5.74 ERA, in 37 games (7 starts). Ríos began 2017 with Reading, then finished that year with the Phillies’ Triple-A farm team, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs; over 37 total minor league appearances that year, he was 1–3, with a 1.92 ERA, with 64 strikeouts, in 56 1/3 innings.
Ríos was called up to the majors for the first time on August 22, 2017. He made his MLB debut that same day, pitching 1 2/3 innings of no-hit baseball against the Miami Marlins. On September 27th, Ríos earned his first career win, pitching in relief against the Washington Nationals. He spent the rest of the 2017 season with the Phillies and in 13 games he was 1–0 with a 4.41 ERA. For the Phillies in 2018, Ríos was 3–2, with a 6.75 ERA, in 36 innings pitched. With Lehigh Valley, he was 0–0 with a 3.97 ERA in 22 2/3 innings in which he walked 17 batters and struck out 26. In 2019 with the Phillies, he went 0–0 with a 13.50 ERA in 2 2/3 innings over 4 games. With the Triple-A IronPigs, he was 1–3 with a 7.41 ERA in 34 innings in which he walked 22 batters and struck out 37 batters. He was designated for assignment on July 29th, then on August 3rd was claimed off waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Pitching for the Indianapolis Indians after changing organizations, he was 0–0 with 1 save and a 2.35 ERA in 9 games (15 1/3 innings). Pitching for the Pirates he was 1–0 with a 5.23 ERA in 10 games (10 1/3 innings).
On June 28, 2020, Ríos was outrighted off the Pirates' 40-man roster, but on August 3rd, he was selected to the active roster again. In 3 games with Pittsburgh, he pitched to a 9.00 ERA. On October 30th, he was again outrighted. He elected free agency that day.
On January 21, 2021, Ríos signed a minor league contract with the Tampa Bay Rays organization and was invited to spring training. In 12 games for the Triple-A Durham Bulls, Ríos recorded a 0.66 ERA with 17 strikeouts. On June 4th, he was purchased by the Seattle Mariners. The next day, his contract was selected to the active roster. Ríos logged a 9.00 ERA in 3 appearances for Seattle before being designated for assignment on June 11th. On June 14th, he was sold to the Boston Red Sox. He made his Red Sox debut on June 16th, retiring the one batter he faced and earning a win in relief against the Atlanta Braves. Overall, he went 3-0, 3.70 in 20 games for Boston.