Friday, March 8, 2019

2019 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #8 LHP Ranger Suarez

Ranger Suarez, image- Jay Floyd
Lefty hurler Ranger Suarez has stood out in recent seasons as a dependable prospect that could have a solid future with the Phillies.

Suarez, who is listed by the Phillies six-foot-one and 210 pounds, was signed at the age of 16 in 2012.

The exciting youngster would make his professional debut as a closer with the Venezuelan Summer League team in 2012. He tossed five scoreless innings and earned two saves in three outings there.

In the following two seasons in the VSL, Suarez posted very solid numbers (5-4 record, 1.66 ERA) in 22 appearances. In 2014 he would transition into a starting role.

Suarez pitched stateside in 2015, competing in extended spring training that year and then sporting a 3-0 record with a tremendous 0.65 ERA in six appearances for the Rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies. He was named the Phils' minor league pitcher of the month in July that year, when he posted a 2-0 record and a 0.79 ERA. 

In 2016 with short-season Class A Williamsport, Suarez tallied a 6-4 record with a 2.81 ERA, a 6.5 K/9 mark and a .223 batting average against en route to being named as a New York-Penn League All-Star.  He tossed a seven-inning (game one of a double header) no-hitter in which he issued a walk to the game's first batter, induced a double play then retired the final 19 opponents on July 26th that year.

The following season, he opened the season as part of the Class A Lakewood rotation. In 14 starts with the BlueClaws, Suarez would notch a 6-2 record with a 1.59 ERA and a 9.5 K/9 mark and was honored as a mid-season Sally League All-Star.  He notched double-digit strike out efforts three times with the 'Claws. 

He made the move to Class A Advanced Clearwater, earning a promotion on July 4th. With the Threshers, Suarez sported a 2-4 record with a 3.82 ERA and averaged more than a strike out per inning pitched over eight starts.

Last season, Suarez opened the season with Double-A Reading. With the Fightin Phils in 12 starts he collected a 4-3 record with a 2.76 ERA and a .235 batting average against.

By late June Suarez was promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Overall in nine regular season starts with the IronPigs, he tallied a 2-0 record with a 2.74 ERA and a 5.7 K/9 mark.

With needs to fill spots on the pitching staff, at times, at the big league level, Suarez made four separate appearances (three starts) for the Phillies in 2018. In 15 innings of work there, he posted a 1-1 record with a 5.40 ERA, 11 strike outs and six walks issued while surrendering three homers.

The pitch repertoire for Suarez features a fastball (coaches describe him as having "sneaky velocity") that peaks at about 94 MPH and has sinking movement. He also throws a diving curve ball, a slider as well as one of the premiere change-ups in the Phillies system. He touts excellent command with the ability to pitch to both sides of the plate at will and is known as a strike thrower.

Suarez is a guy that doesn't just rely on tools to carry him, as he knows how to pitch intelligently. He is a cool and relaxed competitor that will control the pace on the diamond.

He'll likely return to Lehigh Valley to lead their starting rotation to open the 2019 season. Look for Suarez to be among the Phils' top options to fill any voids on their pitching staff as needs arise this year.

Track this year's complete Phillies top prospects countdown by clicking this link

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