No. 24: Right-Handed Pitcher Alberto Tirado
If you want the definition of a pipe dream, you have it right here in Alberto Tirado. His fastball runs in the high-90s consistently and his slider is a definite plus pitch. The changeup could also be an above-average pitch that flashes better with work.
From everything I’ve said so far, it sounds like Tirado should be way higher on this list, right? Well, I haven’t mentioned the biggest hole in his game: his control. Tirado’s control is well, well below average bordering on laughable.
Tirado’s control is well, well below average bordering on laughable.
After the Phillies acquired Tirado from Toronto in the Ben Revere trade last year, he joined High-A Clearwater’s bullpen. He had a 0.56 ERA in nine appearances, but also walked more batters than he struck out at 10.13 walks per nine innings.
This season, Tirado started in Low-A Lakewood’s pen, hoping to regain form against a lower caliber of hitters. Instead, his struggles only continued, as he carried a 8.59 ERA and walked a fifth of the batters he faced in April. The team sent him back to extended spring training, giving him a trial run in High-A Clearwater after a month. In two appearances, his walks were still through the roof.
Thankfully, there is still a beacon of hope for Tirado. After rejoining Lakewood at the end of June, he oddly did better in the rotation compared to his time in the bullpen. Tirado struck out an astronomical amount of batters with a 36.3% strikeout rate. His walk rate of 11.1% was by no means good, but it was an encouraging sign after giving out so many free passes earlier in the year.
If Tirado somehow finds at least workable command, the Phillies have an electric pitcher on their hands. He could anchor the back of a bullpen or be an effective starter. Sadly, that probably won’t happen, and Tirado will likely end up as a flashy middle reliever at best.
The team seems to be holding onto the hope that Tirado could be a starter, and they will likely see how he fares in the Clearwater rotation next season. He is Rule 5 eligible this year, but it is hard to imagine any team selecting him considering how inconsistent his control is.