JERRICK SUITER, FIRST BASEMAN
|Born: March 4, 1993
Drafted: 26th Round, 791st Overall, 2014
How Acquired: Draft
College: Texas Christian University
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|A multi-sport athlete, Suiter started off at TCU as a two-way player; in fact, Toronto drafted him as a pitcher out of high school in 2011. As a freshman at TCU, he pitched in a half dozen games, including two starts. He hit fairly well that year, but slumped very badly as a sophomore. Baseball America listed him as the 19th best draft prospect in the Big 12 going into the 2014 season, partly on the supposition that he’d do better having given up pitching. He didn’t do a lot at the plate, though, and despite having good size, finished the year still without a HR in his college career. He has a good arm, but isn’t a good outfielder and has mostly played first since the Pirates signed him. He’s become very good at the position.
The Pirates already had four corner outfielders from the 2014 draft at Jamestown, so Suiter ended up splitting his time more or less evenly between first, right and DH at Bristol. The Appalachian League isn’t really for draftees from four-year colleges, so Suiter was facing pitchers who should be at a lower level development-wise. He didn’t dominate with the bat, though, apart from leading the league in walks. He did finally hit a HR.
Suiter spent 2015 with the West Virginia Power, appearing, in descending order of frequency, at DH, left, right and first. Like seemingly everybody else in camp, the Pirates gave Suiter some time at third base in training camp, but he didn’t play there during the regular season. He didn’t walk as much as the previous year, but he also cut his K rate and increased his power, although the latter still isn’t where it needs to be for a defensively limited corner player. In contrast to Jordan Luplow and Michael Suchy, Suiter started the season hot and then tailed off. His playing time was limited by injuries early in the season, but he posted an OPS of .828 in April (16 games) and .911 in May (7 games). His monthly OPS in June through August was .784, .720 and .662, respectively, before he posted an 1.139 figure in seven September games. He had a mild platoon split, with an OPS of .804 against LHPs and .762 against RHPs.
Suiter was the regular first baseman for Bradenton; he didn’t see any time in the outfield. His hitting took a step backward, as his K rate increased and he hit for very little power. He struggled against RHPs, posting only a .636 OPS against them.
Suiter suffered a thumb injury in spring training and was out until late April, when he went to Bradenton. He moved to Altoona a week into May. Due to the presence of Connor Joe and Edwin Espinal, he played mainly in the outfield initially, but he moved to first after Espinal was traded and Joe promoted. Suiter changed his stance from a deep crouch to a more upright posture and it made a significant difference. Despite the missed time, he doubled his previous high in HRs. He was very hot initially, batting 354/456/600 in June and 301/395/495 in July before cooling off in August. He hit about the same against RHPs and LHPs.
Suiter spent the season in AAA and struggled. He didn’t get a great deal of playing time in the first half of the season, but due to various personnel moves played half the time in July and most of the time in August. For the first time in his career, he had a lot of trouble making contact. He struggled badly against RHPs, with just a .564 OPS. In the field, Suiter played mostly in the outfield corners, with just half a dozen games at first.
The Pirates sent Suiter back to Altoona, where he was the regular first baseman. Obviously, he fell off a cliff at the plate. He had an OPS below .500 in both July and August.
Suiter will be 27 when the 2020 season opens. He has one more season before free agency, but it’s hard to see why the Pirates couldn’t find a better option.
|2020: Minor League Contract
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2014
MiLB FA Eligible: 2020
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: 2017
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 8, 2011: Drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 18th round, 1069th overall pick.
June 7, 2014: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 26th round, 791st overall pick; signed on June 24.