Prospect: Jose Suarez
Position(s): Left Handed Pitcher
Level: A Ball
Age: Entering Age 20 season in 2018.
Height: 5’10” – Weight: 170 lbs
*20-80 scale. 20 is not existent, Major League average is 50. Good Major League is 60. Great Major League is 70. The best I’ve ever seen is 80. These aren’t given very often.
Summary: The Angels have had a penchant for signing undersized players in the past. Sometimes it works to their advantage, and sometimes it doesn’t. Generally speaking, prospects that are under 6’0” don’t garner a ton of recognition because scouts have a prototype they prefer in a ball player. 6’2”, 180 lbs, and athletic. Kole Calhoun would be a great example of this. Kole played for one of the premier college baseball teams, Arizona State. Not only did he play, he starred. Leading his team to the College World Series, Kole never hit below .300, flashed very good power, good speed, great patience and great defensive ability. But because he was short and stocky, Kole lasted until the 8th round of the draft, as a college senior. Of course the rest is history, he flew through the minors and became a very slid starting major league outfielder by the time he was 25. Had Calhoun been three inches taller, he’d have gone in the first ten picks of the draft.
Now obviously pitchers and position players a little different. The prospect we are talking about right now, Jose Suarez is more the result of the Angels having no foothold in the D.R., Venezuela or Puerto Rico for the longest time. They ended up having to get creative and signing the kids other teams have passed on. Suarez, was one of them. Short and thin in stature, only throwing in the mid-80’s.
Where other teams focused on a lack of projection, I’m guessing the Angels saw the mechanics and the ability to locate and believed there was more in the tank. And that’s really where we are today. Suarez has grown much stronger, and still hasn’t maxed out physically. His fastball has climbed up to 89-91, which is just a tick below average for a lefty, but we could see him climb to 91-92 by the time he’s done maturing. But the big thing, Suarez can locate, locate, locate. He’s generated gaudy strikeout numbers based off an exceptional change up and keeping the ball down and keeping hitters off balance, but my guess is that doesn’t last much longer.
More likely, as Suarez reaches the higher levels of the minors, the strikeouts go down, but the routine groundouts to shortstop and third base go up. Jose doesn’t have the curve ball you’d expect from such a prospect. It’s slow and loose, but he does get it over as a third option.
Typically, I shy away from making comps, but I think a fair one for Jose Suarez would be Jason Vargas (if Suarez can further develop that curve of his).
What to expect: Suarez pitched well enough in A Ball last year to garner a promotion to Advanced A Ball. The Angels may keep him in A Ball for a month or two as it will be his first season in playing a full minor league schedule. Either way, Suarez should finish 2018 either in AA as a 20 year old, or ticketed for AA. He won’t get a ton of recognition because crafty guys such as himself don’t in most top prospect lists, but because you’ve read this and you’re “in the know” I’m sure you’ll keep tabs on him.
Estimated Time of Arrival: 2020. Jose’s age 22 season.
Grade as a prospect: C+