A Blog of Toronto Blue Jays Prospects Interviews, Evaluations and News

Starlyn Suriel Made an Excellent First Impression

Prepares for a strong 2015 season after playing Winter Ball at Home

Starlyn Suriel Made an Excellent First Impression

November 6, 2014

Starlyn Suriel

Suriel enjoyed playing with the Lugnuts in 2014 (Photo by Jay Blue, used by permission)

Understanding what it takes to be successful on the mound is important for young pitchers but can be a real challenge.  While the area is not easy, it has yet to be an  issue for Blue Jays right-handed prospect Starlyn Suriel who just completed his first professional season during 2014.

The young prospect flew under-the-radar throughout the spring and shocked a lot of fans when he joined the Vancouver Canadians in June, skipping over two Blue Jays rookie ball clubs. The leap to short season-A ball appeared to be easy for Suriel as he put up excellent numbers. The Domincan Republic native posted a 4-1 record with a 3.41 ERA and 26 strikeouts in his first 37 innings of professional baseball while maintaining an excellent 1.27 WHIP and a 6.3 K/9 ratio in the Northwest League.

The great start in professional baseball earned Suriel a promotion to the Blue Jays full season low-A affiliate, the Lansing Lugnuts in late July. While the talent jumped a little bit, Suriel’s game only got better. Going 2-4 in the Midwest League with a 3.21 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 42 innings, Suriel improved his already great WHIP to 1.14 and upped his K/9 ratio to 6.9.

“My 2014 season was better than I expected for my first professional year,” said Suriel. “I started in Vancouver and it was great. The city is beautiful and the fan support is outstanding. In July, I was giving an opportunity to come to Lansing and it was awesome. I feel it’s where God wanted me to be. I feel it’s just another piece of God’s plan. The stadium and facilities in Lansing are great. I’m very thankful for everything this season. It exceeded my expectations in every way.”

I’m excited for the opportunity to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic.

Knowing exactly what he can and can’t do on the mound is what gives Suriel an upper hand when facing opponents. The young righty, who turns 21 later this month, isn’t an overpowering pitcher, but mainly relies on his sinking fastball and his above-average changeup. In fact, his changeup actually makes his sinker better. The young prospect also features a slider and a curveball in his pitch repertoire.

Impressed by the first season play of Starlyn Suriel, Lansing Lugnuts pitching coach Vince Horsman detailed what kind of pitcher hte young Dominican Republic native is, discussing what he needs to do to be successful at higher levels in the future.

“Starlyn did a really nice job this season,” stated Horsman. “He throws his pitches for strikes which give him the ability to continually mix up speeds and keep hitters off-balanced. That’s the way Starlyn will have to pitch throughout his career and he’s shown that he has the ability to do that. He has gone out there every night and done that to keep us in games. He’s pitching to his capabilities and honestly he’s kind of fun to watch.”

Signed as an international free agent in July of 2013, Suriel was excited for the opportunity to play professional baseball. The opportunity came a year later than he expected, as he had to serve a 50-game suspension for a violation of the minor league substance abuse policy which made it impossible for Suriel to sign in 2012 like he originally planned.

“I was very excited when I found out Toronto wanted to sign me,” stated Suriel. “Getting an opportunity in professional baseball was something I worked very hard for and it felt great that the Blue Jays gave me that opportunity.”

Returning to the Dominican Republic this off-season, Suriel is excited to prepare for another great season in the Blue Jays minor league system in 2015, while playing winter ball in his home country for Toros del Este. Playing winter ball is exciting for Suriel as it will be the first time he plays professional baseball in his home country in front of family and friends.

“In my first professional off-season, I’m planning on doing a lot of weight lifting and running. Typical areas pitchers focus on,” explained Suriel. “I’m excited for the opportunity to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic. It will be the first time I’ve played professional baseball in my home country. Although I haven’t pitched a lot professionally in the Dominican I expect it to be similar to pitching in affiliate baseball.”

Be sure to follow Starlyn Suriel in 2015, as he continues to find success in the Blue Jays system. Whether he begins the year with the low-A Lansing Lugnuts, or the high-A Dunedin Blue Jays, watch for Suriel to continue to be tough on hitters with his excellent sinking fastball.