Acquired: Amateur Free Agent, 2008
Ranking History: #71 (2009), #172 (2010), #39 (2011)
After signing in 2008, Suarez spent two years in the Venezuelan Summer League, hitting .288/.375/.374 in 118 games across those two seasons. He improved both his power output and walk rate from one season to the next, topping out with 12 doubles, two triples and a home run in his final season in the VSL.
After coming stateside in 2011, Suarez hit .341 in an impressive 12-game stretch with the GCL Tigers before a quick promotion to short-season Connecticut. Still just 19-years old, Suarez impressed onlookers in the NYPL, hitting .250 in 58 games while popping eleven doubles, five triples and five home runs.
The Tigers continued moving Suarez up the ladder in 2012 by promoting him to Low-A West Michigan where he saw action in 135 games. Suarez finished his full-season debut with a .288/.380/.409 line that included 34 doubles, five triples and six home runs. On top of all that, he stole 21 bases and played very good defense up the middle.
Suarez has a decent frame with modest strength throughout. He worked hard to add strength heading into the 2012 season but still lacked the muscular development of many of his peers. Suarez tired during the season's second half, raising questions about his conditioning and durability.
Suarez is the type of player that does a lot of things well but doesn't truly excel in any one area of the game. He is a quality defender with good hands and an above-average to plus arm. He has only average speed but his range plays at shortstop thanks to very good instincts and pre-pitch positioning.
While Suarez has the chops to handle the left side of the infield, he doesn't always look smooth in the process. He can get a little loose with his footwork and plays out of balance too frequently. There are scouts that believe he would benefit from a move to second base, while others think he should remain at short.
At the plate, Suarez has good hands with decent bat speed and good control of the barrel. He swung and missed more during his full-season debut than he had at any other point in his career; frequently struggling with quality breaking balls and being beaten by good velocity. He has a good approach at the plate and shows a solid understanding of the strike zone, but he will chase out of the zone and get himself out regularly.
Suarez lacks significant power at the plate, projecting for modest gap power at the highest level. He has strength in his forearms, wrists and hands, generating decent bat speed, but he lacks the ability to classically impact the ball and drive it to the gaps. Barring a serious jump in overall strength, upper-level pitchers will challenge him and force him to beat them by driving the ball; something he is unlikely to be able to do.
As previously mentioned, Suarez is an average runner with solid instincts on the bases. He can get good jumps against right-handed pitchers, but struggles against lefties. He should be a candidate to steal 10-15 bases a year.
Suarez plays the game hard and doesn't give up on any plays at the plate or in the field. He is a solid player overall but doesn't stand out in any one area, leaving him a bit short of a full-time Major League projection. Barring a significant change to his offensive game, Suarez profiles best in a utility role.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% A
Suarez has been healthy throughout his professional career but he needs to improve his conditioning and stamina to handle the grind of a full season.
Suarez will continue moving through the system and will be pushed as long as he continues to succeed. He doesn't have any flashy tools but rather a bunch of below-average to solid-average tools that can play when looked at in the aggregate. He lacks offensive projection beyond a relatively empty .270-.280 batting average, and that will ultimately hold him back from an everyday profile. With his intelligence, versatility (he also played outfield in Venezuela) and hard-nosed style of play, he has a chance to be a quality utility player.
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