Hey guys I took a run over to Hickory last night to see the Crawdads take on the Kannapolis Intimidators. There was a lot of talent on the field and I’ll be writing about a few of the players I saw. Dillon Tate started for Hickory and I thought I’d start there.
Dillon Tate will turn 22 in a couple of weeks, he’s listed 6’2″ 165 lbs (I’d guess he’s 20 lbs heavier than that. He appeared to be in very good shape and there’s still some projection left.) He bats and throws right.
The Rangers selected Tate 4th overall in the 2015 draft out of University of California, Santa Barbara. He spent his 1st two seasons at college as a closer, switching to the rotation as a junior and his stock soared.
Tate works off of the 3rd base side of the rubber. There’s effort in the delivery but he repeats it well and he remains balanced throughout. He creates some deception with all of the moving parts and utilizes a high leg kick. He’s athletic, a fast worker with a very quick arm. He throws out of a high 3/4 arm slot and gets to a very good plane on his pitches.
It all starts with the fastball for Tate he threw the pitch about 80% of the time 1st time through the order. He sat mostly 93-97 and commanded it very well to all quadrants of the zone. The pitch does have some arm side run to it. He was very efficient with the pitch last night, just painting. He does generate a lot of swing and miss with the pitch. He also induced a lot of early in the count weak contact. 60 pitch but he commands it so well it plays double plus.
The slider is a weapon, he only threw a few of them last night as he was clearly working on the changeup. It’s a power slider thrown in the upper 80’s with good tilt, tight spin and a really sharp bite. It’s not an easy pitch to pick up out of hand as the arm speed and release point are identical to the fastball. It’s a nasty pitch. It’s a double plus pitch for me.
2nd time through the order last night Tate threw quite a few changeups. They sat 82-86 (mostly 84-85), he did an excellent job matching the arm speed of the fastball. The pitch was inconsistent but there was nice fade on many of them. At this level even the ones that didn’t move much were still effective because of the speed differential (8-12 MPH). He located the pitch pretty well. The pitch has a chance to play average/ above average with more consistency.
Dillon Tate was fun to watch pitch, the combination of stuff and command at his level is rare, especially in the low minors. I don’t think he’ll be in Hickory very long and an ETA of late 2017 feels right (I’m assuming he gets to double-A in the 2nd half this year). As for likely outcomes I’m comfortable putting a #2 starting pitcher tag on Tate assuming he can continue to gain consistency with the changeup, which he seems committed to doing.
Here we get an excellent look at Tate from Spring Training, courtesy of Scott Lucas.