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Thoughts on Giants prospect Andrew Suarez

San Francisco lefty sharp so far

San Francisco Giants  v Atlanta Braves Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

From the Minor League Ball mailbag:

“I am a Giants fan so probably biased, but don’t you think that Andrew Suarez needs more attention?”——Ernest from Henderson, Nevada

Sure. Let’s do a quick review.

Suarez was drafted in the second round in 2015 from the University of Miami. Considered highly polished when drafted, he has been effective at all levels of the minors and finished 2017 in Triple-A. He posted a 3.30 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A with a 135/42 K/BB. The only real negative was 166 hits in 156 innings.

As you obviously know he’s made three starts in the majors so far and has been very impressive: 3.06 ERA in 17.2 innings, 15 hits, with an outstanding 18/2 K/BB.

Suarez ranked sixth on the pre-season San Francisco Giants Top 20 prospects list with this comment:

6) Andrew Suarez, LHP, Grade B-: Age 25, second round pick in 2015 from University of Miami Hurricanes; posted 3.30 ERA in 156 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 135/42 K/BB; classic polished lefty strike-thrower with fastball around 90, sometimes higher, a slider/cutter, a curve and a change-up, not overpowering but knows how to pitch, fiercely competitive; generally projected as number four starter but might exceed that; ETA 2018.

The pre-season report is still generally accurate except for one key point: his velocity is up some. He worked at 88-91 in Triple-A last year (at least the one time I saw him, other reports had him as high as 93) but this season he’s been 90-95 with his four-seamer. He was clocked up to 95 in college so this isn’t unprecedented for him. I think his slider is the best of the secondaries but the extra bit of fastball velocity enhances the whole arsenal.

On paper he sounds like a number four starter but as noted in the pre-season comment, I think Suarez can exceed that. Gaudy radar gun readings are all the rage these days but command and control still matter. Obviously his control is a large part of his success. As long as that remains true (and assuming good health), Suarez should continue to perform effectively in the majors.