Astros Minor League Spotlight: Dean Deetz
Time to shine a spotlight on Houston Astros‘ Triple-A affiliate Fresno Grizzlies pitcher Dean Deetz.
Big time bullpen arms aren’t always easy to come by, but Dean Deetz could be turning into a homegrown one. The 24-year-old righthander has excelled as a reliever for Fresno this season and could force his way into the Astros’ future plans. He’s done so well in that role that MLB.com ranks him 18th among Astros prospects.
Deetz was the Astros’ 11th-round pick in the 2014 draft out of the Oklahoma JUCO ranks. He struggled in his Rookie League stint that year to the tune of an 8.88 ERA. 2015 went better, as he posted a 1.70 ERA in 63.2 innings between two Class-A stops, working mostly as a starter.
He spent most of 2016 at Class-A Advanced Lancaster, posting a 4.24 ERA across 16 starts and seven relief appearances. Deetz also made two scoreless starts for Double-A Corpus Christi at the end of the season.
2017 began with more success for the Hooks, as Deetz posted a 1.82 ERA in six starts and two relief appearances. A promotion to Triple-A, however, did not go well. He limped to a 6.40 ERA in 10 starts and seven relief appearances, walking 41 batters in 45 innings.
After striking out 23 batters in 11 innings in the Arizona Fall League, Deetz was hit with an 80-game suspension for a positive PED test. This delayed the start of his season until June, but he’s been lights out since then.
Deetz started with a rehab assignment at Class-A Quad Cities and gave up one run total in three appearances. He then posted three scoreless appearances for Corpus before returning to Fresno.
Through his first 15 appearances for Fresno this year (all in relief), he’s posted a 0.79 ERA over 22.2 innings with 38 strikeouts. His walk rate is still high (12 allowed thus far) but batters are hitting just .198 against him.
The Scouting Report
Deetz is mainly a two-pitch guy. His fastball sits 94-97 mph out of the bullpen, and he compliments it with a wipeout slider sitting in the mid-80s. He hasn’t been able to develop an effective changeup, which has limited his effectiveness as a starter.
The main thing holding Deetz back at this point is his control. He has the swing-and-miss stuff you’d want in a reliever, so he needs to work on improving his control and keeping the free passes in check. Deetz also underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012.
The ceiling here depends on how well Deetz improves his command. If he can get to a point where he issues walks at a league-average rate or better, we could be looking at a future setup man or closer. If he can’t rein things in, however, he’ll have a hard time sticking in a big league bullpen.
In the meantime, he’s an intriguing player to watch. He could very well find himself battling for a bullpen job in Spring Training next season.