- Full name Sandy Báez
- Born 11/25/1993 in Juan Baron, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 219 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 06/04/2018
Organization Prospect Rankings
Track Record: Baez, signed on the strength of a projectable frame and a fastball that was bumping into the high 80s as a teenager, has slowly developed into the type of pitcher the Tigers hoped they were getting when they signed him as a 17-year-old. He’s moved slowly through the system, but was added to the 40-man roster before the 2018 season and made his major league debut.
Scouting Report: Baez’s fastball is a true 70-grade pitch, sitting in the mid-90s and touching 99. His best secondary pitch is a changeup that shows hints of a future above-average offering because of the confidence and feel with which it is thrown. Baez also throws a slider, but his stiff wrist limits it to a below-average pitch. His frame is quite durable, even though he has a bit of a violent delivery that features a head whack. This hurts his control and causes it to grade out as below-average.
The Future: Baez is another candidate for Detroit’s bullpen in 2019. His plus-plus fastball is a potent weapon, and his changeup gives him a solid, two-pitch combination.
Baez had the frame to add weight and a decent mid-to-high 80s fastball when he signed for just under $50,000. Since then he's developed as hoped. Baez's broad-shouldered frame now is near ideal as he has size and strength. His delivery finishes with a little bit of recoil, but he repeats well. As he's filled out, his fastball has turned into a 94-96 mph above-average pitch. But Baez's biggest weapon is a fosh changeup. Not many pitchers have been able to master the fosh, which is like a split-change but with a different grip. Baez has mastered it, and it has both excellent separation and late dive like a splitter. His slider is below-average and needs to get better. Baez's two present above-average pitches and fringe-average control give him a path to the big league bullpen, but he'll need to improve the slider significantly if he wants to remain a starter long-term.
The Tigers gambled $49,000 on Baez's projectability as a 17-year-old throwing in the high-80s. Now 23 and blessed with an ideal pitcher's body, Baez's fastball sits in the mid-90s and has touched 100 mph. He has continued developing his slider, which had slurvy-type break but tightened gradually this year. Baez throws a pair of changeups, one is a traditional circle-changeup and the other is a "fosh," which is thrown harder with a split-fingered grip and bite. Baez's numbers at low Class A West Michigan weren't outstanding--he went 7-9, 3.81 with 88 strikeouts in 113.1 innings--but the Tigers still saw fit to add him to their 40-man roster in advance of the Rule 5 draft. There is still a lot of development remaining, but the Tigers believe they are beginning to see Baez peek at his potential. He will move to high Class A Lakeland in 2017.
Baez was throwing in the high-80s when he was a 17-year-old in the Dominican Republic who signed for $49,000. As Baez grew into his body, his fastball jumped, now sitting at 91-95 mph and touching 97 with good movement. He has a chance to remain a starter because of his durable build and solid strikethrowing ability. He shows feel for two offspeed pitches, with the best one his curveball, which has power and flashes average, though it's still inconsistent. His third pitch is a changeup, which he has shown some feel for with good arm speed. The 2015 season was Baez's first one outside of the Dominican Summer League or the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, and like a lot of young pitchers, he tended to get too amped up pitching in the bigger ballpark under the lights in the short-season New York-Penn League, so he's still learning to stay calm and under control on the mound. One of the system's more intriguing starting pitchers beneath full-season ball, Baez should get a crack at low Class A West Michigan in 2016.
When the Tigers scouted Baez as an amateur in the Dominican Republic, he had a good frame and a high-80s fastball, so they signed him after the 2011 season for $49,000. Since then his fastball has exploded into the mid-90s, making him one of the organization's most promising arms at the lower levels. Baez has an excellent build for a pitcher and the added strength has taken his fastball up to 92-94 mph and even 96 at times with good movement. He has developed feel to spin a power curveball, which is inconsistent but flashes average and should be a steadier pitch once he gains more experience. He pitches mostly with the fastball and curveball, which are ahead of his changeup. He hasn't had much need to throw his changeup yet, and some think it might develop into an average offering. Baez never has had trouble throwing strikes, so he should remain in the rotation as long as he can bring along his secondary stuff.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Changeup in the Detroit Tigers in 2018