2016 Statistics: 24 G, 4.70 ERA, 7.7 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 82.1 IP
2016 Level/Roster Status: Low-A/Non-40
After playing fairly mediocre baseball for the first half of the season, the Yankees decided to sell at the deadline for the first time in years. Rather than keep Carlos Beltran for the remaining few months of his contract, the Yankees traded him to the Rangers in exchange for Dillon Tate, along with fellow pitchers Erik Swanson, and Nick Green.
Tate was drafted by the Rangers in the first round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of UC Santa Barbara. He tossed just nine innings in the Rangers’ farm system in 2015, and gave up three hits while striking out nine. Tate started his 2016 season with the Rangers’ Low-A affiliate, and did not perform as expected. When he was drafted, Tate’s fastball was consistently clocked between 92-96 MPH, sometimes even touching 100. After the first few weeks of the season, Tate was sidelined with a hamstring injury and ended up missing nearly a month of action. After he returned, his fastball speed reportedly dropped quite a bit, and sometimes he was only throwing in the upper-80s.
If Tate’s velocity dipped because of his injury, then the Yankees may have gotten a steal. Through 65 innings in the Rangers’ system this season, Tate had a 5.12 ERA and 4.37 FIP. The good news is that he did show some improvement during his short time in the Yankees’ system. The Yankees sent him to Low-A Charleston where he pitched exclusively out of the bullpen, despite the fact that he spent nearly all of his time with the Rangers working as a starting pitcher. Tate posted a 3.12 ERA through 17 and one-third innings in Charleston, where his home run and walk rates came down slightly.
Tate ended up being yet another player that the Yankees sent to participate in the Arizona Fall League. During his debut a few days ago, Tate’s velocity was reportedly up to 97 MPH and sat between 94-96. He has only pitched three innings so far, but he has struck out four batters, given up five hits (including two home runs), and surrendered four earned runs. It is certainly an encouraging sign to see that his velocity appears to be bouncing back. For his part, Tate has primarily blamed his struggles in the Rangers’ system this season on mechanical issues.
For now, Tate will be in the AFL working on changing up his repertoire more frequently, and using all of his pitches to get batters out. By the time the AFL finishes up in mid-November, Tate should have a lot more innings under his belt, and we should have a better sense of where he stands. He could start the 2017 season back in Low-A, or he could even find his way to Tampa. Considering his struggles this year, it is unlikely that Tate will reach the majors in 2017.