The Angels will promote top pitching prospect Jose Suarez from triple-A Salt Lake to start Sunday’s series finale against the Seattle Mariners, according to a person familiar with the decision but not authorized to speak publicly about it.
A rotation spot opened when Angels manager Brad Ausmus decided to push struggling right-hander Trevor Cahill back from Sunday to Monday’s makeup game in Chicago against the Cubs.
Suarez, a 21-year-old left-hander from Venezuela, has such an advanced feel for pitching and knack for missing bats that he jumped from Class-A Inland Empire to double-A Mobile to triple-A within the first two months of the 2018 season, going 3-6 with a 3.92 ERA in 26 starts across three levels, striking out 142 and walking 44 in 117 innings.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Suarez went 2-0 with a 3.91 ERA in his first five games for Salt Lake this season, striking out 20 and walking 11 in 23 innings, but is coming off his worst start of the year, a 3⅔-inning, six-run, seven-hit effort against Tacoma on Tuesday.
Suarez, who will join fellow rookie starter Griffin Canning in the big leagues, will most likely make one start for the Angels before returning to the minor leagues. He missed most of his first big league spring training camp because of a shoulder issue but posted a 1.86 ERA through his first four games at Salt Lake.
Though Suarez is not physically imposing, his fastball averages 92 mph and touches 95 mph with late arm-side movement. His best pitch is an 81-mph changeup that he throws with deception and sinking action. His mid-70s curveball is an above-average swing-and-miss pitch when he commands it. His overall command is good.
“The stuff he has is really good,” said Angels backup catcher Dustin Garneau, who caught Suarez at Salt Lake before joining the Angels last week. “It’s very sneaky. You don’t think he’s going to have the spin or the slider he has. He pitches like a 30-year-old. It’s fun to watch him out there.”