After 22 less than stellar starts within the Texas Rangers’ organization, Dillon Tate was shipped to the Yankees for Carlos Beltran. One year later, and Tate is beginning to show all the promise of a legit 4th overall draft pick.
It’s hard to believe the Yankees received a promising young right-hander capable of throwing in the mid-90s, armed with a devastating slider and a 62.5% career ground ball rate for the then 39-year-old Carlos Beltran — whom you, me and the guy down the block knew would only turn into a two-month rental piece.
Yet after posting a 5.12 ERA for Single-A Hickory, combined with a questionable work ethic and lack of secondary pitches, the Rangers were ready to move on from Tate, a 6-foot-2, 165-pound shooter, who suffered a severe hamstring injury last season that threw his mechanics all out of whack.
Enter Tate in 2017 — wearing a chip on his shoulder the size of his native California.
In 10 starts for Single-A Tampa, Tate went 6-0 with a 2.62 ERA and 1.08 WHIP to go with a 46:15 K:BB over 58.1 innings.
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Though most scouts continue to doubt his ability to consistently throw strikes, which points to their belief that he’s better suited for an eventual big league bullpen role, Tate recently earned a promotion to Double-A Trenton.
In his first start on Saturday night against Altoona, the Yanks’ No. 15 prospect pitched into the seventh inning — allowing three runs and six hits while striking out two and walking four.
Tate, who pitched very well after giving up two early first inning runs will now need to adjust to a higher pedigree of minor league ball if he wishes to continue his journey toward the Bronx.
"“You did not have to turn the clock back very far to when he was a greatly desired piece in the draft,” Cashman said. “So we decided to see if we could cash a lottery ticket.”“He is one of our best prospects,” Cashman said. “We got a lot of calls on him [at the trade deadline].”“Is he a starter or reliever in the future, who knows?” Cashman said. “But he has a great arm and great athleticism and earned his promotion.”"
Cashman is correct in his assessment, regardless of what the future holds in regards to where Tate pitches for the Major League team — if he continues to pitch up to his potential, there’s no reason he shouldn’t rank as one of 2018’s top 100 prospects in all of baseball.