Yankees prospect Dillon Tate after he was drafted by the Rangers in 2015.
By Brendan Kuty
KANSAS CITY — Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Dillon Tate was “an asset in distress” when he acquired the pitching prospect and other youngsters in return for All-Star right fielder Carlos Beltran before the trade deadline.
That distress might be easing a bit.
Tate’s fastball has reached at least 96 mph with the Yankees’ Single-A affiliate in Charleston, a talent evaluator recently told NJ Advance Media.
A team source said that was encouraging, but that the velocity has been inconsistent as he’s continued tweaked his delivery since leaving Texas.
A recent report also suggested Tate believed the workout regimen the Rangers had designed for him may have affected his fastball.
Tate’s fastball had been stuck in the low-90s while struggling at Low-A Hickory, where the 2015 No. 4 pick had a 5.12 ERA in 17 games, including 16 starts.
Tate has pitched in five games out of the bullpen at Charleston, posting a 2.84 ERA but also a .340 opponent batting average. He last pitched a scoreless two innings on Thursday.
The Yankees moved him to the bullpen, Cashman said, to help him take things more slowly with his development. They also sent minor league pitching coordinator Danny Borrell to Charleston to work with him.
Tate got a $4.2 million signing bonus last year from Texas.
MLB.com ranks Tate the Yankees’ No. 11 prospect overall and their fourth best pitching prospect, behind No. 7 Justus Sheffield, No. 9 Domingo Acevedo and No. 10 James Kaprielian, the Yankees’ 2015 first-round selection.
Tate also throws a slider. The UC Santa Barbara product first showed big-time potential as a reliever as a sophomore. He moved to the rotation in his junior season and, according to MLB.com, became the top pitching prospect in the 2015 draft.