Bradley Suttle, 25, is a switch hitting third baseman who is listed at 6-2 and 215-pounds. He was borne in Boerne, Texas and went to Boerne High School. At Boerne High he was the San Antonio Area MVP as a junior and was a High-School All-American by Collegiate Baseball as a senior among many other accomplishments.
Suttle committed to Texas University out of high school, but was drafted by the Agensl in the 21st round of the 2005 draft. He and the Angels couldn’t agree on a contract and he went to college instead of signing. With Texas in 2006, Suttle hit .301 with a .795 OPS in 62 games. In his sophomore season he hit .359 with a 1.053 OPS over 63 games.
Going into the 2007 draft, Suttle again had high financial demands so despite having outstanding numbers in college he dropped to the 4th round where the Yankees drafted him. It still took a whopping $1.3 million to sign him.
Suttle signed late in the year so he only got a chance to appear in three games with the Gulf Coast League Yankees (rookie ball). He went just 1-for-8 in those three games. After his brief stint in the GCL the Yankees sent him to the Hawaiian Winter League where he hit just .100 most likely due to a drastic change in his swing mechanics.
2008 was an injury filled season right from the get go. He started the year in Low-A Charleston where he went on the disabled list almost right away with a hip flexor strain. Shortly after returning from that he landed on the DL again for over a month with a groin injury.
Despite the early injuries he did manage to play in 96 games in 2008. He had a fairly productive season too, hitting .271 with an .804 OPS to go along with 41 extra-base hits in just 377 at bats. It should be noted that his OPS was .864 against lefties and .647 against righties.
Immediately following the season it was determined that Suttle needed labrum surgery in his shoulder. He was not expected to miss all of 2009 at first, but in June of 2009 he had another shoulder surgery causing him to miss the year in it’s entirety.
Suttle returned in 2010 with the High-A Tampa Yankees. He started off slow, but had a strong second half, hitting .293 with nine home runs in the second half of the season. Overall he played in 133 games last year hitting .272 with a .751 OPS. Most importantly, his shoulder was not considerably weaker after having recovered from two surgeries.
Suttle has always been known for his hitting ability. Baseball America named him the best pure college hitter available in the 2007 draft. He hits the ball with authority and has very good plate discipline.
Suttle doesn’t have a lot of speed, but he is a very smart base runner who hustles all the time. He only stole two bases before 2009, but swiped 12 in 14 attempts last season.
The thing that makes Suttle a potentially strong prospect is that on top of the fact that he is a very good switch hitter, he is also a strong defensive third baseman. He fields the ball well and has a decent arm to throw the ball across the diamond. There was a big fear that after the surgery he would lose a decent amount of his arm strength forcing him to first base, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
2011 is a pretty big year for Suttle. He’s 25 now which is an age where he should be breaking into the big leagues. He’s expected to start the season in Double-A, but the Yankees could promote him aggressively as long as he continues to progress. More than anything he needs another healthy season and he needs to progress quickly.
If Suttle can both stay healthy and progress quickly it is hard to say when and what to expect from him both in the short term and in the long run. Like I said, he’ll start the year in Double-A, but should be in Triple-A before long (Brandon Laird, another third baseman, might present somewhat of a problem, but the Yankees could get creative and find them both playing time).
From there he could have an outside shot to be a September call-up in 2011, but he would have to adapt to Triple-A very quickly for that. More realistically, he’ll start 2012 in Triple-A with the possibility of being promoted quickly from there.