Dillon Tate, the fourth overall pick in the 2015 draft, may not be the best pitcher the New York Yankees received for Carlos Beltran at the trade deadline.
While Dillon Tate was the big name who got all the attention in the package the New York Yankees got from the Texas Rangers in exchange for Carlos Beltran last summer, the real prize may end up being unheralded right-hander Erik Swanson.
Swanson pitched to a 3.46 ERA and 3.07 FIP in 96.1 innings of work in the Low-A Sally League in 2016, striking out 23.1% of the batters he faced and walking 7.5%, seeing action as both a starter and reliever for the Hickory Crawdads and Charleston Riverdogs. He made 24 appearances overall, 17 of them starts.
Selected in the eighth round of the 2014 June amateur draft, Swanson put up mediocre numbers as a reliever in the Northwest League in the second half of that season and then missed the majority of the 2015 campaign with a flexor injury. Last year was really his first extended look as a professional, and the results were definitely encouraging.
The 23-year-old righty has a four-pitch arsenal that begins with a mid-90’s heater that has been clocked as high as 98 mph in the past. He also throws a slider, curveball, and change, all of which project as at least average offerings down the line.
As long as Swanson’s elbow issues are behind him, he could be a safer bet to find success as a major league starter than 2016 teammate Dillon Tate, who is ranked the 11th best prospect in the Yankees system by MLB Pipeline.
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Although Brian Cashman confirmed New York will employ Tate as a starter in 2017 at the annual General Managers’ Meetings, there are definite concerns about his ability to stick in the rotation long-term because of his problems maintaining his velocity, inconsistent mechanics, and small frame (6’2 165 lbs.).
At 6’3 225 lbs., Swanson looks like a potential workhorse if he can stay healthy. He should be ready to tackle High-A Tampa to begin 2017 and could be a quick riser in the Yankees system if all goes well next year.