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MLB Draft Potential #1 Pick: Dillon Tate

Some expect the Diamondbacks to go with Tate, though there are question-marks in some areas. Should they stop Arizona from selecting him?

  • DOB: 1 May 1994 (21)
  • 6' 2" / 185 lbs
  • RHP
  • UC Santa Barbara

Profile: Tate started his career as a reliever, moving into the starting rotation his junior season. He features a mind-90s fastball with arm-side run that he can sustain at 96. His secondary pitch is an 83-84 mph slider which he can throw for consistent strikes and also effectively away from right-handers as a chase pitch. His third pitch is an average curveball which shows the makings of a major league pitch. He also features a change-up that has both decent sink and fade which could become a fourth quality offering with some more refinement. His bread and butter though is his fastball/slider combination that he can mix and match with devastating effect.

Pros: When Dillon Tate is on top of his game, he has TOR stuff and is arguably the best healthy starting pitcher in this year's draft. Since moving into the rotation, Tate has been nothing short of dominant putting together a 77/20 K/BB ratio and a 1.57 ERA across 742/3 Innings.

Cons: Until about two weeks ago, the biggest con simply had to do with the size of Tate's likely signing bonus. However, over the last two weeks, Tate has thrown his fastball much less and become reliant on his slider, showing pointed signs of fatigue here late in the season. This shouldn't be terribly surprising as it is his first season as a starter, but it does raise some concerns as to how much work might be needed to condition his arm for starting duties. Given his circumstances, the one thing that usually goes in favor of college pitchers, their ability to get to the majors quicker, likely does not apply to Tate.

If fatigue is indeed becoming a factor, it is very probable he would be shut down until next year rather than sent out to get late work in for one of the short season teams. In that case, a probable arrival date for Tate would be somewhere around 2019, assuming he is able to stick as a starter. There is always the concern that to condition his arm to start, he will lose the electricity of his mid-90s fastball, meaning that Tate could still wind up a dominant high-leverage reliever instead of a starter.

The Take: Two weeks ago, Tate was my personal choice for 1-1. Even though there is no reason for Tate to sign for a discount, the Diamondbacks have over $8 million allotted for the first pick. Tate is not the sort of talent to command anywhere close to that, likely being a $5-6 million guy, leaving the Diamondbacks with more than plenty of cash to spread around the lower picks. The signs of fatigue worry me a bit though. I wouldn't be sorry to see Tate at 1-1, but I feel there might be better options under the circumstances.