The SF Giants recalled Andrew Suarez, giving him a shot at redemption after a miserable 2019.
Andrew Suarez was once a highly touted pitching prospect. While Tyler Beede had been the talk of the organization for a while, Suarez slowly started to creep up in the eyes of the organization. So much so, that he was one of the main prospects that the Giancarlo Stanton trade negotiations were based around during the 2017 offseason.
In 2018 he made the jump to the big leagues, appearing in 29 games and striking out 130. He posted a nice 1.30 WHIP, and looked set to build on what was an otherwise successful rookie campaign. Alas, 2019 didn’t go as planned.
In 2019, he posted a 5.79 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP. His K/BB ratio went from nearly 3:1 to 1:1. His numbers in AAA weren’t much better, and it looked like all the positive momentum that Suarez had built had gone completely flat.
After the team recalled him from the alternate site on Wednesday, Suarez made his big-league debut out of the bullpen. But that might not be the best place for him.
Suarez was successful in 2018 because he was given a shot as a starter. His role was defined and he knew how to prepare. If he made it past the second time through the lineup, he was usually going into the 6th and 7th innings.
The biggest question remains how they plan on using him. He’s probably not going to be successful unless given the opportunity to be a starter. His only true reliever experience came last season, in the big leagues, as the Giants were attempting to throw anything at the wall until it stuck. However, at times, the team has gotten away from putting their players in the best position to succeed. Making Suarez a starter is the only way that will happen.
Suarez’s first time through the lineup in 2018, opponents only hit .244 off of him, struck out 57 and walked just 18. If you want to limit his exposure, as the second time of the lineup tends to be rough (OPS of .822 second time through the lineup in 2018), let him start and plan on pulling him after the 3rd inning.
If Andrew Suarez can return to what we saw in 2018, or be even better, it would be a huge bonus to the Giants’ future development, and a bright spot in what’s been a dismal 2020. After all, his slider is nasty, and his fastball can be located well when he’s on. Letting him do what he’s most comfortable will do that.