Giants Minor League Spotlight: Prospects who are trade bait for a closer

suarez

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Major League non-wavier trade deadline is August 1st at 1:00 PM PDT. The San Francisco Giants are definitely one of the teams that are in the “buyers” category as that deadline approaches. The Giants are said to be on the hunt for a closer to carry them to another championship.

Closers do not come cheap. Even rental players who will be free agents next year can command a king’s ransom. The Yankees 100 mph-plus throwing Aroldis Chapman is the closing pitcher that is receiving the most attention. Chapman is a free agent after this season and the Yankees are not looking like a playoff team. It may be time to get value for your assets.

In today’s baseball business environment, teams want talented prospects that are not too far away from being ready to break into the big leagues. Teams can never have enough depth in their minor league system. The players you do not plan on using in the majors can become valuable trade pieces to bring you talent to fill holes that might open up in your player personnel plan.

Teams have been salivating over the Giants number three rated prospect – right hand pitcher Tyler Beede. Beede is currently pitching at the Double-A level for the Richmond Flying Squirrels. He is 5-5 on the season with a 3.00 ERA in 16 starts. Beede has a two-seam fastball that he throws 90-95 mph that creates ground ball outs. He has an above average changeup to go with a workable curveball. Beede needs to get stronger and develop more stamina but he will be a frontline pitcher. That is why the Giants say he is not available as a trade piece. Unavailable has a tendency to become “a well maybe” at 12:30 on August 1st.

Let’s say Beede really is not available. Then, who else might the Giants be willing to part with in order to get the closer they desire? I must confess that I have spent a great deal of time covering the Oakland Athletics so my thought patterns on going after prospects has been influenced heavily by the thinking and actions of Billy Beane over the years.

If I am the general manger of a team that has a closer that the Giants want, I am looking for pitching in return for my asset. I want a starting pitcher who is at Double-A and is projected to make it to the big leagues by late 2017 or Spring 2018. I want a pitcher who will be a number one to three starter. I also want a left handed pitcher if at possible because you can never have enough “lefties”. I will also try to get a Double-A level player who can hit and an A-ball pitcher who is still developing (a lefty would be nice). Desperate teams make desperate moves.

Do the Giants have a pitcher that meets that criteria? They do and his name is Andrew Suarez.

Suarez is a left hand pitcher who is 6-foot-2, 205-pounds. He was drafted by the Giants in 2015 in the second round out of the University of Miami. Scouts say Suarez has an above average fastball and slider and possesses above average control. He also has a curveball and changeup that he adds into his mix of pitches. Suarez works at 89-93 mph on the radar gun with his fastball topping out at 95.

Suarez started the season at Class-A San Jose where he went 2-1 with a 2.43 ERA. He has struggled a bit since his promotion to Double-A Richmond where he’s posted 3-6 record with a 5.14 ERA but he is getting more comfortable. In his last start on July 18th, Suarez worked 7.0-innings giving up two runs (earned) on four hits. He walked three while striking out 10 opposing hitters. Suarez has worked at least seven innings in his last three starts.

The scouting projections have Suarez ready to pitch in the big leagues in late 2017 or early 2018.

Will Andrew Suarez be a member of the San Francisco Giants organization on Monday? If I have a closing pitcher that Giants want, he wouldn’t be but I am not going to be making that decision. We will have to wait and see what happens.

Charlie O. Mallonee reports on the Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants, Sacramento Kings and is the host of a weekly podcast for Sports Radio Service

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