JACK SUWINSKI, CORNER OUTFIELDER
|Born: July 29, 1998
Drafted: 15th Round, 444th Overall, 2016
How Acquired: Trade (with Padres)
High School: Taft HS (Chicago, IL)
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Scouts liked Suwinski coming out of high school for his bat. The Padres drafted him in the 15th round and signed him to a bonus well above the slot value. He made limited progress in his first four years, in particular not showing more than middling power. In 2021, though, he took a big step forward. His approach seems to have changed from time to time, with sharply fluctuating walk and K rates. In 2021 he seems to have settled on waiting for pitches to drive, with the resultant high walk and K rates. He’s mostly struggled with LHPs, including 2021. The scouting reports on Suwinski’s speed and defense prior to the Pirates acquiring him weren’t very good, but he’s shown above-average defensive skills and well above-average speed with the Pirates, so it’s a puzzle exactly whom the scouts were watching. He’s spent some time in center, but probably fits best in left. He’s never made any top prospect lists, but Baseball America would have put him in the Padres’ top 30 after the 2021 season. The Pirates picked up Suwinski in the Adam Frazier trade.
After signing, Suwinski split his time between left and center, playing in the Arizona League. He showed good plate discipline but no power.
The Padres moved Suwinski up to low A, where he divided his time between center and right. He wasn’t overwhelmed, but he didn’t hit well and his K rate climbed significantly.
Back in low A for a second full season, Suwinski improved modestly, except for his K rate, which improved quite a bit. He played exclusively in the outfield corners.
Suwinski had a rough time in high A, especially considering that he was in the high-offense California League. His K rate, in particular, increased drastically. He again played mostly in the corners.
Suwinski didn’t play during the pandemic season.
Suwinski went to AA and made dramatic progress. He was at San Antonio, which was playing as a strong pitcher’s park. The added power came with a very high K rate, but Suwinski also drew a lot of walks. He played mostly in right. The Pirates acquired him in late July, but he didn’t hit as well for Altoona. The power in particular dropped off. On the season he had a sizeable platoon split, putting up a .905 OPS against RHPs but .753 against LHPs.
Suwinski had a season of extremes. The Pirates added him to the 40-man roster after the 2021 season. Oddly, though, they sent him back to Altoona to start the 2022 season, while they sent Cal Mitchell, whom they didn’t add to the roster, to Indianapolis. Suwinski got off to a great start and the Pirates called him up in late April. He hit passably for about a month and then got hot in June, batting 250/347/568. In July, though, he fell into an 0-for-29 slump in which he seemed exceptionally indecisive at the plate, checking his swing constantly. The Pirates sent him to Indianapolis and he struggled a lot there, too, striking out in 38% of his plate appearances. The Pirates brought him back up near the end of August and he stayed in the majors the rest of the way. His hitting recovered somewhat, as he managed an OPS of .716 in September. The real story with Suwinski’s splits, though, was home and road. At PNC Park he batted 282/373/609, while on the road in the majors he hit a microscopic 112/211/182. He also had an extreme platoon split, with a .794 OPS against RHPs and .511, with a .122 average, against LHPs. On defense in the majors, Suwinski mainly split his time between left and right, but he also made ten starts in center. According to Statcast, he was a little above average in the outfield and also has a well above-average arm. Statcast gives him 84th percentile speed.
PNC is probably an ideal park for Suwinski, but that can’t explain his H/R split. The more likely explanation is that, so far, he’s just incredibly streaky, and the rest is statistical noise. Aside from the 0-for-29 streak, he also had stretches of 1-for-20 and 0-for-24 (extending to 1-for-34). And he had a three-homer game. Part of the issue certainly is his habit of taking a lot of pitches, which can get him in trouble at times. In any event, the power is impossible to ignore; that and the arm give him a classic right field profile, although he might fit best in PNC’s cavernous left field.
|2023: Major league minimum
|Signing Bonus: $550,000
MiLB Debut: 2016
MLB Debut: 4/26/2022
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2027
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 11/19/2021
Options Remaining: 2 (USED: 2022)
MLB Service Time: 0.118
|June 11, 2016: Drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 15th round, 444th overall pick; signed on July 7.
July 25, 2021: Traded by the San Diego Padres with Tucupita Marcano and Michell Miliano to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Adam Frazier and cash.
November 19, 2021: Contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates.