When the Yankees traded veteran outfielder Carlos Beltran to the Texas Rangers in August, New York obtained three right-handed pitching prospects, which included Dillon Tate, the fourth overall pick in the 2015 draft.
Tate, who turned 22 in May, has already touched triple digits on his fastball, and is considered to be a big league talent within the next few seasons. But one American League scout isn’t quite convinced that Tate will live up to those expectations.
The veteran scout, who wished to remain anonymous, recently told NJ.com that Tate “can’t pitch,” and believes the odds of Tate achieving success in the majors are heavily stacked against him.
“I can’t get into too much of why I know this, but if Tate doesn’t change his pre-game and if he doesn’t change how he goes about his work, he’ll never succeed … period,” the scout said.
“He works hard. It’s not his work ethic. It’s how he works. It’s what he does and his stubbornness in it. If he doesn’t change that, he won’t succeed.”
Tate began the minor league season as a starter with Texas’ Single-A affiliate, where he struck out 16 hitters in his first two professional games. But after a three-week stint on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, Tate returned erratically. His velocity that once lived in the upper-90s dropped to the lower-90s, and his final 17 outings with Single-A Hickory carried a 5.12 ERA.
Due to the inconsistencies, New York elected to send Tate to the bullpen with Single-A Charleston, where the scout believes he belongs.
“The Yankees didn’t make out on the Beltran trade,” he said. “The Rangers absolutely thought Tate was going to be a starter when they drafted him, and I could see why. Tate has a great arm. And he’s a nice kid. A great kid. But Tate’s a guy who’s stubborn in the way that he goes about it, and unless he changes that, it ain’t going to happen for him.”
So far this October, Tate has allowed four runs in three innings with the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League, and has continued to show mechanical issues. While his fastball has seen a gradual increase in velocity, the scout doesn’t envision Tate constructing a three or four-pitch arsenal that would make him a major league starter.
“You can either spin the ball or you can’t,” the scout said. “He is too fastball reliant.”
What are the chances, considering Tate’s fastball got him recognized in the first place.