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Selected by the Houston Astros in the 11th round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, right-handed pitching prospect Dean Deetz made it all the way to Triple-A Fresno in 2017, predominantly seeing use as a starter across two levels there and with Double-A Corpus Christi. Moving quickly through the system and about to turn 24 years old (DOB: November 29, 1993), Deetz was added to Houston’s 40-man roster earlier this month and should make an impact at some point in 2018 with the big league club in Texas.

The only question, though, is exactly where Deetz’s big league impact will be felt by the Houston Astros. The righty boasts an upper 90s fastball and power slider that would suggest a bullpen future, with some of the command and control issues to back up that projection for his career moving forward. The Astros, though, have felt it important to keep Deetz predominantly a starter, which is where he’s spent 50 of his 77 career minor league games through their system (including 16 of 25 appearances in 2017). But after 274 strikeouts (and 139 walks) over 279 career minor league innings to date, combined with his power profile, it’s highly likely he winds up a late-inning power arm sooner rather than later.

Below, you’ll find our full Dean Deetz scouting report, including game video, tool grades, scouting notes, and projections on the Houston Astros right-handed pitching prospect.

Dean Deetz Scouting Report, Houston Astros — 2017

Dates observed in 2017: Arizona Fall League

Fastball (70)
Legitimate double-plus fastball with serious giddyup out of his hand. No arm-side run, little by way of sink; fairly flat, but some occasional glove-side cut, especially when out on that side of the plate. Less than ideal height (6’1″) produces less than ideal downward plane, but velocity more than makes up for it. Challenges hitters; goes hard-hard with intention to blow people away. Ball explodes out of his hand; high-effort delivery, especially in viewings at the AFL. Closer-type pitch, but needs more life and some plane to really grade out as elite. Velocity: 95-98, T 99.

Slider (50)
10-to-4 spinner; hard with some tilt. More of a sweeping slider than a sharp/late breaking pitch. Will miss some bats, make RHH uncomfortable. Tougher to use against LHH; breaks right into stereotypical lefty bat path, even with velocity and sweeping action. Doesn’t always finish the pitch and thus leaves it up without late bit, but enough velocity to give a margin of error; will slow down arm action and body to tip pitch at times. Probably should even be thrown even slightly harder and tighter with more tilt; would miss more bats that way. Still, workable/average second pitch in a late-inning relief role. Velocity: 85-87, T 88.

Control/Command (50/40)
Mechanical issues with modest tendency to overthrow without following through leaves the ball up too often. Lack of downward life on both offerings results in too many pitches out over the fat part of the plate. Decent enough feel for both sides of the plate with slider; fastball is more of a bull in a china shop going wherever it’s going to go. Velocity ultimately provides critical margin of error.

Three-quarters delivery; max effort with quick arm action, doesn’t always finish the pitch out front over his landing foot (contributing to command issues). Nearly catcher-like arm action; short, sweet, and to the point. Falls off to first base side at times, some kickback in follow-through after extension and release. Profiles like a reliever already with his mechanics; grip it and rip it; works quickly with little fanfare between pitches. Will slow down arm and body on occasion with off speed, potentially tipping pitch — something to watch moving forward.

Works like he’s a former position player; no nonsense, very fast. Good athlete with intensity on the mound. Personality and the way he carries himself both seem ideal for back-end bullpen role.

Dean Deetz Scouting Report — Houston Astros — 2017 Game Video

Dean Deetz Scouting Report — Notes & Analysis

It’s a wonder to see that Dean Deetz is still starting games in the minor leagues with the Houston Astros. He should’ve been working exclusively in late relief with High-A Lancaster in 2016, and he certainly should have been in the bullpen by the time he got to Fresno this summer. Thankfully, when Deetz showed up to pitch for Mesa in the Arizona Fall League last month, the Solar Sox had him working exclusively out of the bullpen — and it’s in that role where his stuff really started to play up. If you saw him pitch at AFL, it’s not hard to see the projection to a full-time high-leverage role.

Considering he’s armed with a seriously powerful upper-90s fastball and that upper-80s bender, Deetz would be a fairly formidable arm right now in a big league bullpen even with no experience at the level. Command issues in his recent rotation role (41 walks over 45 innings with Fresno to finish 2017) should further direct the Astros to push Deetz into a relief job full time. That he hasn’t already been working in relief for more than a year to ready himself for some of the intricacies of coming out of the bullpen in late innings is the only question left unanswered; soon, he should answer it.

Dean Deetz Scouting Report — Future Projection

The Houston Astros will be mis-using Dean Deetz if he ever starts another game. Armed with easy upper-90s heat and that wipeout slider — not to mention imprecise control and some command issues — the righty ought to be a bullpen arm with a bright future. He blew away some very good AFL hitters in a few different looks out of the ‘pen this fall with a fastball that seriously gets on guys and that slider which, while it can stand to improve, shows good feel and some depth. Down the road, I’m not sure he’s going to have the command and above-average secondary to really lock down a big league closer role, but he’ll get close. Add in his less-than-ideal height (especially for a starter), and he seems destined to fight for a role as a 7th/8th inning man with the Houston Astros before too long.

Dean Deetz hasn’t always put up eye-popping numbers throughout his professional career, and he’s been throwing much of the time in the wrong role, but he can really, really throw the ball. That upper 90s heat is going to fit in well with a good bullpen in Houston, and Deetz has developed himself into what’ll soon be a legitimate shot at a big league set-up job for years to come.

Overall Future Potential (Future Value): Almost certain to have a bullpen future with power profile, will push ceiling to late-inning/closer role at best; command profile must improve even with wipeout stuff (50/55)

MLB ETA: 2018

Did you like this Dean Deetz scouting report? Get more prospects here:

Tampa Bay Rays LHP Genesis Cabrera — CLICK HERE

Colorado Rockies IF Shael Mendoza — CLICK HERE

Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Ryan Burr — CLICK HERE

Chicago Cubs OF Kwang-Min Kwon — CLICK HERE

St. Louis Cardinals RHP Winston Nicacio — CLICK HERE


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Bobby DeMuro

Bobby DeMuro is the founder of Baseball Census, the author of We Is Blaze, (obviously) a fan of minor league baseball, and an unlikely expert on the animated classic TV show King Of The Hill. For more on Bobby and the personal, human side of this site, follow him on Twitter and Facebook: @BobbyDeMuro.

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