2018 Level: AA
Current/Future/Ceiling Grades: 40/45/50
What we know:
More hype than production at this point, this former number one pick is now on his 3rd organization after coming to the Orioles from the Yankees in the Zach Britton trade. Some thought he was pressing and he struggled after the trade, but it may had more to do with the fact that Orioles wanted him to focus on his sinking two seam fastball vs his four-seamer that was too straight too often. When his sinking fastball is on, it’s a real worm killer that generates a lot of ground balls. He can flash an average slider and changeup which makes some think he can stay a starter, but they are inconsistent offerings and most think he’s best suited for the bullpen.
What we don’t know:
If he’s moved to the bullpen, can he pitch on successive days and can he recover quickly? If he stays in the rotation, can he find the consistency needed with all three pitches?
What we think:
Tate could be ready for the majors by mid-season next year if the Orioles convert him to the bullpen. Although Tate could still develop into a starter, his lack of consistency will limit his ceiling in that role to a back of the rotation guy. Tate could end up a solid setup guy who can come in and get key double plays.