Name: Dillon Tate
DOB: May 1, 1994
Repertoire. Fastball, Slider, Changeup.
Fastball. Tate, a former college reliever, is all about the power. He'll sit anywhere from 93-97 mph with his fastball even as a starting pitcher and some days will average 95 mph, and it isn't just a quick fastball either, it shows late-life explosion and it's very difficult to barrel up given how heavy it can be. The control and command are more on the average side, however. Still, given his high-level athleticism there is a considerable ceiling still left to be tapped in both areas, especially as he continues to receive professional coaching and iron out his delivery. The fastball shows good movement given its plus velocity and it can be a big-time strikeout weapon for him. Given his slighter build, there's also a chance the fastball velocity hasn't maxed out yet either, especially if he were to pitch in shorter relief stints.
Other Pitches. Tate's lack of success in his first full season last year can be narrowed down mostly to his still developing secondary pitches. As noted earlier, Tate, a reliever in college, never really had to throw a changeup given his power fastball, power breaking ball combination and in some regards he is still seeking consistency with the pitch a little less than two years into his professional career. The changeup is slowly developing into a solid big league offering though, showing long-term above average or better potential given the fade and depth it currently gets. Just like with his fastball the command is still not yet consistent but it already is a solid strikeout or contact out-pitch, with room to grow. The same can be said of his still developing slider too. Once throwing both a curveball and a slider, the Yankees have had him concentrating more on his upper-80s slider that shows wipeout plus potential. It too is yet another offering that lacks consistent shape and command, but can flash unbelievable potential at any given time too.
Pitching: Tate is more natural plus arm and top-shelf athleticism at this point than a refined pitch-ability guy. Part of the reason for that is the delivery is still not yet consistent, therefore the arm slot can waver at times, and thus the command isn't where it could be either. That has him pitching behind in counts a little more often than he would like despite the great stuff and pitching behind in counts, even for the best of pitchers, can be very tricky. In a true snowball effect, that lack of command and constant fighting back into counts can leak into one's confidence as well, and it can be tough to find rhythm as a result. When he's on, however, he can be extremely difficult to hit when he's ahead in counts because the stuff can be really, really good. He boasts an excellent work ethic and great intangibles, and therefore few scouts have any concerns about him making the long-term adjustment.
Projection. Tate right now is more pure power arm and stuff, and the pitch-ability may take some time to catch up. Beginning his career with a plus fastball and two average big league pitches with long-term above average or better potential given their respective movement, and a ton of room to his improve his pitch-ability, has him often compared to current Toronto Blue Jays youngster Marcus Stroman. Like Stroman, Tate, another slightly built hurler, will get slapped with a ton of future reliever projections early on by many analysts given his blazing fastball, power slider combination but has the ability to sustain his power deep into starts and into seasons, and has the kind of changeup that could wind up being special, enough that his starting potential should absolutely not only be explored but should be exhausted prior to a permanent move to the bullpen. The short-term prognosis could have some initial struggles along the way while he continues to work on his delivery and his secondary pitches but with significant long-term starting potential in the front-half of a big league rotation someday with the nice fallback option as a power setup man or closer if those areas of his game don't come along as hoped.
ETA. 2019. Tate has enough work to do short-term in a starting capacity that he isn't going to be rushed. For now he appears destined to be on a one level per season track until either the slider or changeup make the necessary improvements. However, should he and/or the Yankees decide the bullpen is in his future then all bets are off as he could move very quickly in that role. For now though it seems starting is in his future.