Friday, January 15, 2016

Prospect Nation 2016: #17 RHP Alberto Tirado

Right-hander Alberto Tirado has an arm that scouts can go wild for.  Acquired by the Phillies from Toronto last season as part of the Ben Revere trade, the talented hurler could develop into a top bullpen arm for the organization in the coming years.

Despite concerns with his accuracy, Tirado misses plenty of bats and clocks big numbers on radar guns, which leads many to feel he has a very high ceiling.

Signed by the Blue Jays in 2011, Tirado would make his professional debut as a member of their rookie level Gulf Coast League team in 2012 as a 17-year-old.  In 14 games started, combined with the rookie level Appalachian League and the Gulf Coast League teams, he tallied a 3-2 record with a 2.63 ERA and a .198 batting average against.

He returned to the Appalachian League the following season posting a 3-0 record with a 1.68 ERA and an 8.2 K/9 mark in 12 games (eight starts).

In 2014, splitting time between Class A short-season Vancouver and Class A Lansing, the Domincan native posted a combined 2-2 record with a 5.00 ERA and a 9.0 K/9 mark in 30 apearances (10 starts). 

He was honored as a Class A Advanced Florida State League All-Star as a member of the Dunedin Blue Jays last season.  In 31 games there, pitching strictly in relief, Tirado sported a 4-3 record with three saves, a 3.23 ERA and a .213 batting average against while striking out 61 and walking 35 in 61 1/3 innings. 

After he was dealt to the Phillies, as a member of the Clearwater Threshers, also in the FSL, he notched a 1-0 record with a 0.56 ERA and a .130 BAA.  His strike out numbers were his usual dominant style (16 K's in 16 innings), but he also walked quite a bit with 18 free passes issued.

Left unprotected in this off-season's MLB Rule 5 draft, the 21-year-old was not selected likely due to his control concerns and rawness.

Tirado's offerings are described as electric.  His repertoire features a fastball that has most often been clocked in the upper 90's, touching triple digits with some regularity.  His slider and change up have promise, but getting them over the plate is critical if he is to move upward on the developmental ladder.   

Refining his control will be goal number one for the six foot tall 180-pounder.   Where the Phillies assign him this coming season to work on that could be debated.  Former Phillies pitcher Aaron Fultz, who has drawn considerable praise from his players in previous seasons at lower levels of the organization, will take on pitching coach duties with Clearwater next season and may be a good fit to assist Tirado with his development.  

Another factor related to Tirado's assignment would be if the Phillies wish to switch him back to a starting role, though his most ideal path is very likely as a reliever. 

Down the line, the promising fire baller projects to be a back-end bullpen staple at the big league level.

Follow this year's full prospect countdown by clicking this link.

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