It’s that time of year, where the team here at Jays Journal once again discusses the Toronto Blue Jays Top Prospects. We’ve compiled our Top 20. Basically, we wanted to create the most all-inclusive Blue Jays prospect ranking out there.
So, we took a mixed approach to our rankings. Not only did we take a ranking from each member of our writing staff, but we also figured in the rankings from other publications as well, including MLB.com, Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and Minor League Ball.
Today, we check in on #17, Alberto Tirado.
Name: Alberto Tirado
Date of Birth: 10/12/94
Acquired: Signed in July 2011 as an international free agent ($300,000 USD)
Height/Weight: 6’0”/ 180lbs
- Ranked 10th on Jays Journal 2014 Top Prospects list
- Previously ranked 76th on 2014 Baseball Prospectus Top 101
- Previously ranked as Blue Jays #3 prospect by Baseball Prospectus
- Previously ranked as Blue Jays #8 prospect by Baseball America
- Previously ranked 8th on Appalachian League Top 20 by Baseball America
As you can see from his previous position on several lists, the baseball world has been high on Alberto Tirado for a while now. However, 2014 was not a season where he lived up to those high expectations.
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In July, 2014, Brendan Gawlowski of ProspectsInsider.com called Tirado a “mess”. He cited control issues and an apparent fatigue setting in during one of his outings. This fatigue issue would appear to be backed up by Charlie Caskey in June where Tirado missed a start due to ‘dead arm’. Now, given his performance up to that point, Caskey wondered if it was more about giving the youngster a “mental break”.
What would he need a mental break from? Well, in Lansing, Tirado had a first half of 2014 that did not exactly impress. In 40 innings (7 starts), he put up an ERA of 6.30, 39 walks, 45 hits, 28 ER. The plus side is that he also collected 40 strikeouts. It was this performance that led him to be demoted to Vancouver.
In Vancouver, his performance was better, by a little. In 17 games (3 starts) he picked up another 35 innings, but the same old issues continued. He allowed 28 walks and 36 K. On the plus side, at the lower level, he did hold opponents to a .191 average and brought his WHIP down from 2.10(!) in Lansing to 1.49 in Vancouver.
And, there is the rub with Alberto Tirado. He has a very tantalizing mix of a fastball that sits mid 90’s and can get up to 98mph, a slider and a changeup. The issue seems to be that he is still developing his control. That is understandable for a kid who is still just 20.
MLB.com put out a video look at Tirado at the start of 2014. (below) Unfortunately, all of the promise still holds true. The knocks on him proved to be quite true during the 2014 season.
Even though he is young, at 20 years old, he is going to need to start figuring it out. Perhaps as he ages, he can help himself by adding to his wiry frame. Given his fatigue issues and move to the bullpen, perhaps the organization is re-evaluating his potential role. Perhaps a little “bulking up” is in order.
Regardless, his performance will dictate how his progression plays out. There is no reason to think the club has soured on him. So, he’ll likely head to Lansing again to test his wares. However, given his age, there is no need to rush him. But faltering and seeing another demotion is not going to bode well for this promising young arm.