by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Recently there were a pair of intriguing promotions, with team’s bumping pitchers to Triple-A. They each have significant potential, and now could be on the precipice of an impact in the Major Leagues. Let’s take a look at each of them to try and determine what type of value they possess:
Domingo Acevedo – New York Yankees – Right-Handed Pitcher
Acevedo has split time between High-A and Double-A this season, with significantly different results:
- High-A (41.1 IP) – 4.57 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 11.32 K/9, 1.96 BB/9
- Double-A (33.1 IP) – 1.62 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 8.37 K/9, 0.81 BB/9
The difference in the numbers are strictly luck based, as he carried a .393 BABIP despite a 16.7% line drive rate during his time at High-A. While he possesses strikeout stuff, the most impressive mark may be his control. Standing at 6’7” we would generally expect to see some control issues, but that has arguably been his strongest asset (2.2 BB/9 over his minor league career).
None of this takes into account his groundball stuff, with a minor league career 1.12 GO/AO. His groundball rate did regress at Double-A (35.2%), so it’s something to watch, but given his track record it’s easy to call it an aberration.
The thought from many, though, is that he ultimately settles in as a reliever. As MLB.com said prior to the season:
“Though Acevedo has had no problems throwing strikes, it’s unlikely that he’ll remain a starter. He has yet to show he can hold up over a full season in the rotation, and his mechanics don’t help because he throws with effort and lands on a stiff front leg.”
He’d have closer stuff if he was forced to move, but for now the Yankees have little reason to transition him (unless they need the help later in the season). He’s a starter, and one that we’ve always been higher on than most (we graded him as a B+ and ranked him as the Yankees’ fourth best prospect prior to the season). It will be interesting to see how he fares at Triple-A, but his stock clearly continues to rise.
Current Grade – B+
Upside Grade – B+
Andrew Suarez – San Francisco Giants – Left-Handed Pitcher
Ranked as our #5 Giants’ prospect prior to the season, Suarez continued showing the same skill set over his time at Double-A to open the season:
67.0 IP, 2.96 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 7.39 K/9, 2.01 BB/9
He’s always been a control artist (1.8 BB/9 over his minor league career) and groundball inducer (1.25 GO/AO), but has never missed many bats. Considering his 8.0% SwStr% at Double-A, it’s hard to expect a significant increase in his production as well.
As Prospect 361 described him prior to the season:
“Suarez has a nice three-pitch mix with a fastball that sits 88 to 91 MPH (T93). He complements the pitch with a plus slider and an above-average change-up. Part of the reason he gives up so many hits is that his fastball is not that explosive. Batters seem to have no trouble picking up the pitch and that did worry me when I saw him. To that end, his pitch mix and command will be the keys to his success.”
It will be interesting to see how he takes this skill set and produces at Triple-A, but his upside appears to be limited to that of a crafty lefty who works at the back of the rotation. There’s potential value in that, especially pitching at home, but of the two recent promotions Acevedo certainly opens more upside.
Current Grade – B-
Upside Grade – B
Sources – MILB.com, MLB.com, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, Prospect 361
Make sure to check out all of our 2017 Prospect Rankings: