by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
After a pair of dominant outings at High-A the Angels pushed Jose Suarez to Double-A and he’s continued to thrive. Over 9 starts (38.2 IP) all he’s done is post a 2.79 ERA and 1.27 WHIP as he’s flashed the skills that we look for (mostly):
- Strikeouts – 16.06 K/9
- Control – 2.09 BB/9
- Groundballs – 42.0%
Obviously a .482 BABIP skews the numbers, but the bigger question is whether or not the strikeouts and control are for real. The 20-year old southpaw has shown improved stuff, which does help to add to the intrigue. Prior to the season MLB.com described him by saying:
“While no one will ever mistake the smaller left-hander for a flamethrower, an uptick in overall stuff has certainly helped Suarez, as he missed more bats in 2017 than he had previously in his career. The velocity of his fastball his increased and he’s now averaging 91 mph with it and touching 93 mph, thrown with good life to get ground-ball outs. He might have the best changeup in the system that fooled hitters on both sides of the plate and his big, looping curve improved as well, going from a third pitch that needed a ton of work to a third pitch he can count on. He can throw strikes with all three pitches, all coming from a very easy and repeatable delivery.”
Does that justify an overall 19.6% SwStr%? That may be a tough sell, but he’s continued to prove that he can get the job done. After his most recent outing Suarez’ manager was quoted by MILB,com as saying:
“I guess everything was working for him. This kid can really pitch for a 20-year-old,” Mobile manager Lou Marson said. “Had great command with the fastball, curveball and changeup. He just has great body control out there. He has a great feel for what he wants to do. He’s pretty special for such a young age.”
Last season he posted a 21.5% SwStr%, so it’s hard to call it a complete aberration. Granted he has excellent control (2.3 BB/9 over his minor league career) and against younger competition that can lead to an increased strikeout rate. With a 17.4% SwStr% at Double-A this season, it’s beginning to look like the stuff is for real.
There will be a question about his size, as he’s listed at 5’10” and 170 lbs. Will he be able to hold up to a full workload? Will he be better utilized out of the bullpen long-term? Time will tell, but for now everything is pointing in the right direction.
The more he produces at Double-A, the more you have to believe in the pure stuff. There’s no questioning the control and he’s left-handed to boot. At this point, while we wouldn’t necessarily be all in he’s a pitcher on the rise and well worth stashing in all dynasty formats.
Sources – MILB.com, MLB.com, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference
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