Susac, 30, joined the Pirates’ big league roster late in the season when Jacob Stallings landed on the seven-day concussion list. The former Giants top prospect picked up only four plate appearances though, and hasn’t tallied more than 19 plate appearances in the Majors since the 2015 campaign in San Francisco. In all, Susac has a career .219/.286/.371 slash with seven homes in 304 plate appearances at the game’s top level. While Susac has never quite put things together in the big leagues, however, he’s a lifetime .247/.351/.431 hitter in 1020 trips to the plate in Triple-A.
With the final day of the 2020 regular season underway, a number of teams made a final roster move before the action kicked off. We’ll use this post to track some of those moves…
- The Pirates placed catcher Jacob Stallings into the 7-day concussion protocol, the team announced. Andrew Susac was added to the active roster for today’s action. To make room on the 40-man roster, Keone Kela was moved to the 45-day injured list. Susac had been on the taxi squad. The 30-year-old backstop made appearances in the bigs for five consecutive seasons from 2014 to 2018 with the Giants, Brewers, and Orioles. He spent 2019 with the Royals Triple-A affiliate. Stallings, 30, misses the final day of the season after slashing .248/.326/.376 across 42 games and 143 plate appearances. Stallings was the Pirates’ primary catcher for the first time in his career this season, starting 40 of the team’s 60 games.
- Joe Hudson has been recalled from the Mariners’ alternate training site for the final game of the season, per the Mariners’ PR department. Luis Torrens was placed on the 10-day injured list with back spasms. Hudson is making his third trip to the Mariners this season having one 3 for 17 in 9 games thus far. The 24-year-old catcher has started 16 games behind the plate for Seattle since coming over from the Padres at the deadline. Between both clubs, he slashed .257/.325/.371 across 78 plate appearances. It’s notable that Mariners’ manager Scott Servais noted that the offseason plan for Torrens will be to get strong enough to handle a full 162-game season, per MLB.com’s Greg Johns. The Mariners would like Torrens to add 8-10 pounds before next season.
- The Cardinals activated outfielder Austin Dean before Sunday’s game, optioning Nabil Crismatt to the team’s alternate site, per Anne Rogers of MLB.com (via Twitter). The 25-year-old Crismatt made 6 appearances out of the bullpen for the Cardinals this season with a 3.24 ERA over 8 1/3 innings. This was the first taste of big-league action for the right-hander. Dean was acquired in the offseason from the Marlins, but he’s appeared in just 3 games for the Cardinals this season. The 26-year-old has been out since mid-September with a right elbow strain.
The Pirates’ GM Ben Cherington emerged from his new office this week with the first batch of transactions since he took over in Pittsburgh. The Starling Marte trade to Arizona was the headline-grabbiest of the bunch, wherein Cherington added two high-ceiling, but far-away prospects to Pittsburgh system.
A flurry of low-key pickups followed for Cherington as the Pirates bought in bulk: Charlie Tilson, Andrew Susac, JT Riddle, Robbie Erlin and Derek Holland signed minor league deals this week. Cherington gives Erlin a decent shot of joining the bullpen, which is otherwise without a lefty except for rotation candidate Steven Brault, per The Athletic’s Rob Biertempfel.
Holland, too, could end up in the bullpen, but like Brault, he’ll be given a shot at the rotation. Holland’s glory days as a Texas Ranger are long in the rearview, but his 2018 with the Giants at least gives the perception of a raised ceiling for Holland after otherwise forgettable stints with each Chicago team. It was just two seasons ago that Holland put up 171 1/3 innings with an impressive 3.57 ERA/3.87 FIP across 36 games for the Giants.
Holland’s shoe game remained on-point in 2019, but he struggled on the hill, both for the Giants and then for the Cubs. He only got 7 turns through the rotation to start the season, but 26 earned runs in 34 1/3 innings earned a demotion to the bullpen, where he stayed until the deadline trade to the Cubs. The Cubs relied on him as a lefty reliever out of the pen, but he struggled there, too, marking a 10.50 ERA in September, contributing to the Cubs’ tailspin.
Still, he’ll come into camp representing a veteran floor for the Pittsburgh rotation as Brault and Mitch Keller try to earn their spot. If the young Pirate arms aren’t ready to take the ball every five days, Holland could find himself back in a big league rotation in 2020.
The Pirates announced minor league deals with outfielder Charlie Tilson and catcher Andrew Susac on Friday. Both players will be in Major League camp this spring, as will lefties Derek Holland and Robbie Erlin, whose previously reported minor league deals were confirmed by the team.
Tilson, 27, was once a well-regarded prospect with the Cardinals and White Sox. Known primarily for his speed, he was flipped from St. Louis to Chicago several years ago in a deal that sent Zach Duke to the Cardinals. The ChiSox hoped they’d found a top-of-the-order hitter who could provide good defense and generally serve as a nuisance to other teams on the basepaths, but Tilson unfortunately tore his hamstring in his debut game with the Sox back in 2016. Other lower half injuries, namely a stress reaction in his right foot, limited him substantially the following year.
Tilson has now appeared in 96 big league games but has never gotten back on track after that rash of injuries in 2016-17. He’s a career .246/.310/.290 hitter in the Majors, although last year’s Triple-A showing (.288/.345/.398) at least created a bit of optimism that perhaps he could still tap into some of that previous potential. Tilson swiped only eight bases between Triple-A and the Majors in 2019, however, so it appears his days as a 40-steal threat might be in the past now that those lower-half injuries have taken their toll.
Susac, meanwhile, was not only a well-regarded prospect but was at various points considered to be among the game’s top 100 farmhands during his days with the Giants. His strong work early in his career in Triple-A has never really carried over to the Majors, though, and the now-29-year-old backstop (30 in March) has a career .221/.283/.373 slash in 300 big league plate appearances. He’s a career .247/.351/.431 hitter in Triple-A — numbers that are somewhat skewed by an awful 2017 season with Milwaukee’s top affiliate.
The Royals have acquired backstop Andrew Susac from the Orioles, per a club announcement. Cash considerations are heading to Baltimore in return.
Susac, 29, was dropped from the 40-man roster earlier this year and failed to crack the Baltimore roster in camp. He has seen minimal MLB action in the past several seasons and accumulated just three hundred total plate appearances in five seasons of action.
With several other options available at Triple-A, the O’s obviously felt they could part with the depth. Susac will give the Royals some experience at their top affiliate. He’ll also provide organizational depth, though he’s out of options and therefore cannot be shuttled up and down with ease.
Here’s the latest out of Baltimore:
- Neither Andrew Susac nor Carlos Perez will make the Orioles’ roster, Joe Trezza of MLB.com reports (Twitter links). The two out-of-options catchers had been vying for a roster spot on a team whose only 40-man catchers are Chance Sisco, the just-claimed Pedro Severino and the injured Austin Wynns. Even Sisco isn’t guaranteed a 25-man spot, as he may open the season at the Triple-A level, according to Trezza. That could open the door for fellow backstop Jesus Sucre, though there’s no word yet on his fate, per Trezza. The Orioles have to decide by Monday whether to keep Sucre, whose minor league deal includes an upward mobility clause. Should another team make Sucre an offer, he’d take it, Trezza suggests.
- Thanks in part to the Orioles’ murky situation behind the plate, their entire Opening Day battery is in question. While right-hander Alex Cobb’s penciled in to start Thursday’s opener against the Yankees, he’s now dealing with a strained right groin, Rich Dubroff of BaltimoreBaseball.com writes. Cobb’s no longer a certainty to take the ball in Game 1, though he indicated Saturday it’s not a serious injury, and he didn’t undergo an MRI. Cobb will throw a bullpen session Monday or Tuesday to determine whether he’ll be able to start Thursday. Whenever Cobb makes his initial start of the year, he’ll hope it’s the beginning of a bounce-back campaign. In 2018, the first season of a four-year, $57MM contract, he stumbled to a 4.90 ERA/4.80 FIP across 152 1/3 innings.
- In other unwelcome news for Baltimore, outfield prospect Austin Hays suffered a left thumb injury Saturday, Dan Connolly of The Athletic relays. Expectations are that the 23-year-old will undergo an MRI on Sunday or Monday, according to Connolly. In the meantime, the O’s are left to cross their fingers this isn’t another costly injury for Hays, who endured a truncated 2018 because of ankle issue. While Hays’ production at Double-A last year was nothing to write home about as a result, he’s still one of the O’s most promising prospects, and he nearly hit his way to a major league roster spot this spring. The Orioles elected to option Hays, however, because they believe he needs more seasoning in the minors. Now, if Hays has to start the year on the shelf, it’ll further delay a big league promotion.
Here are the day’s minor moves from around the league…
- The Pirates have outrighted righty Dario Agrazal to Triple-A after he cleared waivers, MLB.com’s Adam Berry tweets. A control-and-groundball-oriented hurler, the 24-year-old Agrazal has yet to move past the Double-A level. In his 85 2/3 innings at Altoona last year, he pitched to a 3.99 ERA with 5.5 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 along with a 49.6% groundball rate. Agrazal had been designated for assignment recently to open up a 40-man roster spot.
- Per a team announcement, catcher Andrew Susac cleared waivers and has been assigned outright to Triple-A Norfolk after being designated for assignment by the Orioles. Set to turn 29 in March, Susac was once one of baseball’s premier catching prospects but has only managed a .221/.283/.373 slash in 300 plate appearances at the MLB level to date. He did hit .256/.405/.456 in a smallish sample of 158 plate appearances in Triple-A last year and has a career .248/.350/.438 line through 927 PAs at that level. He’ll remain on hand in the O’s organization as a depth option.
- The Nationals announced that infielder Matt Reynolds has cleared waivers after being designated for assignment. He was sent outright to Triple-A Fresno. Reynolds made just 14 plate appearances with Washington last season and has spent the bulk of his career with the Mets, for whom he batted .228/.300/.351 in 226 PAs from 2016-17. The 28-year-old Reynolds can handle shortstop, second base and third base, and he’s a career .283/.350/.420 hitter in nearly 1600 Triple-A plate appearances (although most of those came in an extremely hitter-friendly setting with the Mets’ former Las Vegas affiliate in the Pacific Coast League).
- Right-hander Jonathan Aro is headed to the Braves on a minor league contract, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports (via Twitter). The 28-year-old hasn’t cracked a big league roster since 2016 and has only 11 MLB frames under his belt in all. However, Aro does have a career 3.14 ERA with 8.3 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and 0.6 HR/9 in 174 2/3 innings at the Triple-A level. He’s spent the past two seasons with the Triple-A affiliates for the Mariners (2017) and the Padres (2018).
The 26-year-old Alberto has minimal MLB experience. He hasn’t hit much in his 192 total plate appearances over the past three seasons. In exactly one thousand total Triple-A plate appearances, however, he carries a solid .309/.330/.438 slash.
Susac, 28, has appeared in the majors in each of the past five seasons. He got off to an excellent start in a brief 2014 debut, at which time he was viewed as an intriguing prospect, but hasn’t had much offensive success in the majors since. Susac did carry a .256/.405/.456 batting line in his 158 plate appearances last year at the highest level of the minors.
The Orioles have announced that outfield prospect D.J. Stewart is heading onto the active roster. His contract was selected today.
Stewart, a former first-round pick, will make it to the bigs in advance of an offseason Rule 5 decision. Clearly, the O’s expect to carry him on the 40-man roster throughout the offseason.
Now 24 years of age, the FSU product has moved steadily through the Baltimore system. He wasn’t able to follow up on a strong 2017 season at the Double-A level, however, as he struggled a bit in his 490 plate appearances this year at the club’s top affiliate. He hit a dozen home runs, swiped 11 bags, and slashed .235/.329/.387 on the year.
The Orioles announced that they’ve acquired catcher Andrew Susac from the Brewers in exchange for a player to be named later or cash. Susac was designated for assignment in Milwaukee earlier this week.
The 27-year-old Susac ranked among the game’s top 100 prospects on multiple lists prior to the 2015 campaign and was a frequent presence near the top of the Giants’ organizational prospect rankings as well. The Brewers acquired him in a 2016 swap that sent lefty Will Smith to San Francisco, though, and he’s struggled in both organizations over the past couple of seasons.
In 274 MLB plate appearances, Susac has batted just .232/.299/.396 with an alarming 82 strikeouts against 23 walks. He’s been more effective in his Triple-A career, hitting at a .247/.338/.425 clip, and strikeouts haven’t been nearly as much of an issue for him there. Durability, on the other hand, has been a major factor for the former second-rounder (Giants, 2011); Susac has appeared in more than 100 games just twice in a season, and he’s totaled just 142 games over the past two seasons combined. In his young career, Susac has already dealt with wrist, trapezius, finger and shoulder injuries on separate occasions.
The O’s have been looking to supplement their catching corps and now have four catchers on the 40-man roster in Susac, Chance Sisco, Caleb Joseph and Austin Wynns. Joseph heads into Spring Training with a roster spot all but secured, and while many have presumed Sisco to be the favorite to join him, reports out of Baltimore have suggested that there will be a competition in that regard. Susac will join Sisco and Wynns in vying for playing time, but he has a minor league option remaining, so he can be sent to Triple-A Norfolk without needing to be exposed to waivers if he doesn’t secure a spot.