Scout’s View: Yankees RHP Dillon Tate

Arizona Fall League

Dillon Tate
Dillon Tate (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

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Former Phillies scout Therron Brockish reprises his role for BA with weekly scouting reports from the Arizona Fall League. Brockish has more than 20 years of experience as a college coach and as an amateur scout. He served as an assistant coach at Wayne State, Ball State and Arizona Christian and as head coach at Iowa Western CC, and he worked for six years as an area scout with the Philadelphia Phillies, signing big leaguers Jason Donald, Tuffy Gosewisch and Lou Marson during that time.

SCOUTING GRADES
Fastball 80
Command 55
Slider 55
Command 55
Changeup 50
Command 55
Based on 20-80 scouting scale—where 50 represents major league average—and future projection rather than present tools.

The fourth overall pick of the 2015 draft, righthander Dillon Tate was on the mound in relief Wednesday for the Scottsdale Scorpions. Tate followed up starter Brody Koerner, a fellow Yankees prospect and 2015 draftee. While Koerner made just five starts during the 2016 regular season, Tate also needed the work after logging 82.1 innings in a season that saw him traded by the Rangers to the Yankees for Carlos Beltran.

Tate's stuff was electric as he struck out four in two innings pitched. To the surprise of many of the scouts in attendance, manager Tom Goodwin ran him out there for a third inning, and things got a little ugly. After a leadoff walk, followed by a force out and two singles, Tate was in a bases-loaded jam until he was bailed out by a 6-4-3 double play. Let's take a look at his stuff.

Fastball: Future Grade: 80

Tate came out firing bullets at 96-97 mph. He pitched with a quick tempo and mowed through his first two innings of work, striking out four hitters in six batters faced. He threw from a three-quarters arm slot. His fastball was pretty true but seemed to get on the hitters quickly. He blew two hitters away with fastballs. Not until his third inning did a ball get hit hard off of him.

Fastball Command: Future Grade: 55

Tate got into a rhythm right from the first pitch and was on top of almost every hitter the first two innings. He struggled a little in his third inning as he looked just a little fatigued in that frame. Still, when he's ahead in the count and can go to his hard slider or developing change, his fastball gets on hitters quickly.

Slider: Future Grade: 55/60

Tate throws a hard slider at 87-88 mph with some depth and tilt to it. He used it to put away righthanded hitters twice. Good, tight spin with a short, hard break. Solid average at this point and possibly a plus pitch in the near future. He will get some strikeouts and weak swings with that pitch. His slider command was solid average and he showed the ability to throw it to both righthanded and lefthanded hitters.

Changeup: Future Grade: 50

Tate has a surprisingly good changeup for the high velocity arm he has. His change clocked in at 85-86 mph and showed some fade and certainly had the hitters off-balance when he threw it. I think it can be a real effective weapon for him when combined with the upper-90s velocity that he can go get. Tate was not afraid to use his changeup in different counts and seemed to have a good feel for it. Grading his command as average right now is easy, but I certainly can see this as a pitch he can throw at any point and have confidence in. [Editor's note: Tate retired the first college hitter he faced—Kris Bryant—as a freshman at UC Santa Barbara with a changeup.] His command will continue to improve as he throws the pitch more and sees the success that it could bring.

With the trend of clubs trying to get five-to-six solid innings out of their starters then turning the game over to a three-headed bullpen monster, Tate could fit into one of those bullpen roles quickly. He has enough secondary stuff to go through the order and he has put-away pitches to make him a high strikeout guy in the bullpen. We've seen this formula with several teams recently and it seems to be the trend.

He seems more valuable (and comfortable?) in a reliever role. I can see him in the Yankees bullpen as soon as the end of 2017 or more realistically being able to contribute at some point in 2018. He's young enough to be developed more as a starter but electric enough to move quickly in a relief role.

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