Brian Cashman continued his raid of top prospects, making yet another haul as the 2016 deadline came to a close. This time he shipped off veteran Carlos Beltran for three Texas Rangers prospects, including last year’s fourth overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, Dillon Tate.
Tate is the 6-foot-2, 165 pound right-hander out of UC Santa Barbara. His collegiate career saw him excel in two roles, closing out games in 2014 while transitioning into a top line starter in 2015. As a closer, he went 2-1 with 12 saves, striking out 46 and walking 17 over 43.1 innings pitched, posting a stingy 1.45 ERA. The following year as a starter, he went 8-5, striking out 111 over 103.1 innings while walking just 28. He posted another impressive ERA of 2.26.
Tate is light, so he does throw with some effort. Here is his delivery, one is which he has been able to be relatively consistent with, in a video from FanGraphs.
The Rangers kept him as a starter and the then-21 year old found his way to Low-A Hickory by the end of his 2015 half season debut. He struggled this season in Hickory as a full time starter, going 3-3 with a 5.12 ERA behind a 55-to-27 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He has been hit hard, as opponents have registered a .376 BABIP on a .311 BAA, but he has kept the ball in the park, allowing only five home runs.
Much of his struggles have been from a bum hamstring he suffered in April, because he has two pitches that are well advanced for the Sally. He has a mid to high-90s fastball and a devastating slider that bites in the high-80s, but have been a bit inconsistent since the early season injury. When he regains full form, he is usually in command of his pitches, maintaining their velocity and movement with ease. He has an improved changeup, but still needs work for him to be a successful top end starter at the advanced levels of minor league ball.
Last season was a grind for Tate, the longest of his career, so a slight fall off this season shouldn’t be too worrisome. He adds yet another elite prospect to the rebuilding Yankees farm system. With two advanced pitches already, the Yankees could toy with him out of the bullpen, especially with the recent departures of Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller and bullpen arms being a need. Still, the Yankees will likely see what Tate has in the rotation before making any decisions.
Joining him in the Bronx will be his Hickory teammate Eric Swanson. Swanson is a 22-year old right hander that was putting together a nice season in Hickory despite a few bumpy starts of late. The 2014 seventh rounder — who stands at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds — was 6-4 for the Crawdads, posting a 3.43 ERA and 78-to-25 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 81.1 innings consisting of 15 starts and four relief appearances. He is coming off an injury-riddled 2015 that saw him pitch at least an inning at four levels (including Triple-A), but only appearing in ten total games, all out of the bullpen.
Nick Green was also added into the trade. Green is 21 years old and was the Rangers seventh rounder in the 2014 MLB Draft. The 6-foot-1, 165 pound right-hander has not made it out of Rookie ball in his three professional seasons, currently pitching for Spokane in the Northwest League. He has a 6-8 record over three seasons, sporting a 5.15 ERA, striking out 85 and walking 45 over 108 career innings.
Swanson could provide some nice organizational depth in a farm system that is thriving right now (seriously, Scranton-Wilkes/Barre, Trenton and Tampa all have at least 60 wins and are at least 20 games over .500, while the Charleston RiverDogs were the Sally Southern first half winners), but Tate is the clear steal of the trade here. Brian Cashman has revamped this farm system in a matter of days, and their top ten prospects are a smorgasbord of top-flight talent from different teams.
The days of the Yankees farm system being an afterthought are long gone, and Tate’s addition may just make them the best in the game.