Prospect Talk

Prospect Spotlight: Luis Suisbel

It’s not every day that something reminds you of the simpler times. Back when you were a kid running around a drive-in movie theater. Piling into your parents’ car on a Friday night, driving for what seemed like forever, but was just a few towns over. Pulling into a gravel driveway and hearing that distinct sound of the tires bouncing back and forth, rocking the car. Stopping at the gate and watching your father fork over some hard-earned money. Then driving on through, getting that perfect spot right in the middle, and just waiting for the screen to start churning through images. Can you remember? Can you see it? The movie reel starts rolling and you finally settle down. You get drawn in quickly to the storyline. This is no ordinary story, it’s about baseball and overcoming obstacles, all mixed into the sport you have fallen in love with. You are captivated by the twists and turns and are at the edge of your seat, heart racing, during the final scene as a pitch is thrown. The main character takes his swing and belts a high drive to right, the ball seemingly just keeps going until it meets the light tower in a majestic explosion that is the penultimate climax for movie lovers and baseball fans alike. When looking at a prospect like Luis Suisbel, I am often brought back to memories like the one above. He is a little rough around the edges and has some rotten spots, but I just can’t help to have my mind slip back to The Natural

Suisbel was signed by the Seattle Mariners for $350,000 out of Valencia, Venezuela. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he missed a full season in 2020 and would finally get into his first professional game in 2021. In the Dominican Summer League (DSL), he put up mundane numbers, even though he was slightly older than the average player there. He managed a triple slash line of .188/.338/.281, with two home runs, and six doubles. His plate discipline was up and down, as he had a walk rate of 10.6% and a higher strikeout rate of 29.4%.

The Mariners would decide to have Suisbel repeat the level in 2022. At 19 years old, he was a couple of years older than the average player in the DSL, but the results were only marginally improved. He would have a triple slash line of .216/.356/.373, while adding four home runs, and seven doubles. His plate discipline remained fairly constant as well,  with a 10.4% walk rate and a 27% strikeout rate. After more than three years of being in professional baseball, he didn’t have much going for him and was struggling to say the least. 

In his first month stateside, the struggles that Suisbel went through in 2022 were still evident in Rookie-ball. His triple slash line was .239/.435/.348, even though he was more patient at the plate and had a walk rate of 19.4%. Unfortunately for him, his strikeout rate increased to a very high 33.9% and was undoubtedly fueling his continued struggles. The power also remained non-existent, as he did not hit a single home run in that first month. In his second month, however, he became a whole new hitter, a purely dominant one. His triple slash line over that span was .333/.500/.754 and he had an OPS of 1.254. His strikeout rate dropped down to 23.1% and he belted six home runs, to go along with four doubles. His performance earned him a promotion to Low-A and his first real opportunity to play at a level more appropriate for his age.

At Low-A, his hot month of July would carry forward and not let up. His triple slash line would come back down to earth but still show an improved hitter, .290/.375/.492. He managed to continue the power surge with six more home runs and three more doubles. His plate discipline decreased some, as his walk rate dropped down to 8.3% and his strikeout went up to 29.9%. The building blocks were forming a solid foundation for him to break out in 2024.

2024 Outlook 

Suisbel will need to show some real consistency at the plate in 2024 to maintain his value as a fantasy baseball prospect. The swing-and-miss aspect of his game is the big worry right now. He has developed power from both sides of the plate and can put a hurting on the ball. He will need to be able to make contact at a much higher rate and over a full season if he wants to become a true middle-of-the-order bat. He is a late bloomer of sorts but has all of the talent needed to launch balls into light stands. His swing can get a little too max effort, so he will need to reign that in some to focus on good solid contact. The power is there and with improvements in regards to the swing and miss, he can vault up rankings come mid-season. 

Do we maybe have a Roy Hobbs-esque player developing in the lower minors?

 

The Author

Brian Labude

Brian Labude

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