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MLB Rookie Profile: Wander Suero, RHP, Washington Nationals

After being in Washington Nationals spring training for the last three seasons, Wander Suero gets the call-up to the major leagues. 

Washington Nationals Photo Day Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

With the Washington Nationals looking for bullpen help, they made the decision on Monday afternoon to call up right-hander Wander Suero for his Major League debut. The 26-year-old right-hander out of the Dominican Republic has been in big league camp each of the last three seasons. In 2016 and 2017, it was as a non-roster invitee. This past offseason, he was put on the 40-man roster:

Earlier this winter, John ranked Suero as the 20th best prospect in the Washington Nationals organization. Here is what he wrote about this reliever on the rise:

20) Wander Suero, RHP, Grade C+: Age 26, from Dominican Republic, earned spot on 40-man roster with excellent season in high minors, 1.79 ERA with 65/19 K/BB in 65 innings, 51 hits; middle relief profile with fastball around 90 but plays up due to plus slider and ability to throw strikes; persistent track record of reverse platoon splits is a point of interest. ETA 2018.

Suero came onto the radar last year with the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs in the second half. In his final 21 appearances, he was 2-0 with a 1.44 ERA, 7-for-7 in save chances, and had 18 strikeouts to nine walks. If you look at the final 16 innings he had, the strikeout-to-walk ratio was 15:3.

If Suero hadn’t had an oblique injury during spring training this season, he had a good chance to make the big league club. He was never regarded as a high prospect in the organization, but when you hold opponents to a .209 average and have a 1.79 ERA across Syracuse and Double-A Harrisburg, that is going to get you noticed as a reliever.

During my time as the co-editor of District On Deck, I made an effort to talk to a person that covers each of the Nats affiliates to get their thoughts on certain players. Last year, I talked with Kevin Brown, who was the voice of the Chiefs, about Suero. Let me give you a little bit of what Brown had to say about him:

He has two plus pitches. He has a cut fastball that is excellent and effective against righties and lefties and he has a really good curveball. It has good shape and moves right-to-left. He throws strikes and is not afraid.”

With that cut-fastball, Suero was able to get hitters at Triple-A to hit a lot of groundballs. According to FanGraphs, hitters in the International League hit a groundball 45 percent of the time. While he made not have the velocity on that pitch, the movement is key to not getting the ball hit hard against him.

In the Washington Nationals bullpen, they have a good back-end trio of Brandon Kintzler, Ryan Madson, and Sean Doolittle. With that being said, Dave Martinez has to find that fourth reliever he can depend on when those guys need a break.

Suero has the chance to be that guy if his production at Triple-A last season carries over to this year. the time. While he made not have the velocity on that pitch, the movement is key to not getting the ball hit hard against him.

In the Washington Nationals bullpen, they have a good back-end trio of Brandon Kintzler, Ryan Madson, and Sean Doolittle. With that being said, Dave Martinez has to find that fourth reliever he can depend on when those guys need a break. Suero has the chance to be that guy if his production at Triple-A last season carries over to this year.