Prospect Spotlight: Dillon Tate

The Yankees made several splashy moves this past season at the trade deadline, moving two prized relievers for packages of prospects that have already been dug into quite a bit. The deal that hasn’t been talked about quite as much however is the deal that flipped Carlos Beltran to the Texas Rangers for a package of prospects including pitcher Dillon Tate.
Photo Credit: Bill Mitchell

Tate was taken by the Rangers in the first round of the MLB draft just one year ago out of UC Santa Barbara and was the first player from there to ever be taken in the first two rounds. He pitched as a reliever early in his college career before moving into the rotation for his junior season, posting a 2.26 ERA over 103.1 innings pitched.

Just 22-years-old, scouts described Tate as having an athletic and muscular 6'2" frame coming out of college. On the 20-80 scouting scale with 20 being the low and 80 being the high, Tate was rated as having a well above average fastball in the 70 range and an above average slider in the 60 plus range according to His fastball usually sits in the mid to high 90s while the slider sits in the high 80s. He also throws a curveball and a changeup, with the changeup being the more developed of the two offerings.

Tate has had a bit of bumpy road since reaching the majors. He pitched out of the bullpen in just six games after being drafted in 2015, starting with the short season Spokane Indians and getting up to the class-A Hickory Crawdads. He got off to a solid start to the 2016 season but was interrupted by a hamstring injury and then plagued by mechanical issues and missing velocity as he continued to try and adjust to the pro level. Before the trade to the Yankees at the deadline, he made 17 appearances for the Crawdads, pitching to a 5.12 ERA in 65 innings. After the trade he was used exclusively as a reliever with the Yankees low-A Charleston affiliate, pitching 17.1 innings across seven appearances while allowing 21 hits and striking out 15. All in all Tate pitched to a 4.70 ERA over 82.1 innings, striking out 70 and walking 33 in 2016.

After struggling through his first full professional season, Tate made his return to the mound in the Arizona Fall League. The results were definitely an improvement as he pitched to 3.86 ERA in 9.1 innings over six games while striking out 11 and only walking one. Perhaps more importantly, scouts that were present said that Tate was back to showing off his live arm and mid to high 90s fastball.

Dillon Tate has not had an easy beginning to his professional career but he seems to have a good attitude and very good stuff to go along with it. Although he has dominated as a reliever and had some success as a starter at various levels he will have to continue to develop and refine his pitches if he wants to make a leap this upcoming season. Two plus pitches can make a top of the line reliever but if Tate has aspirations of being a top of the rotation starter he will have to show a quality third offering. He will presumably start at single-A where he left off but with some health and hard work you might see a step forward from this talented young man this season.

Article by: Matt Graziano


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