The Washington Nationals announced on Friday the mysterious “pitching prospect” the team acquired from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for veteran catcher Kurt Suzuki — Dakota Bacus, a 22-year-old, 6’2″, 200 right-handed pitcher from Terre Haute, Indiana.
Bacus was a ninth round pick in the 2012 draft for the A’s out of Indiana State University. This season, in 26 games (16 starts) for Low-A Beloit (Midwestern League), Bacus was 9-5, 3.56 with a 1.335 WHIP in 121 1/3 innings pitched. He struck out 6.7 per nine innings while walking 2.3 per nine.
Last season, in 18 appearances (one start) for the A’s Arizona Rookie League team, Bacus went 3-0 with seven saves, a 1.20 ERA and 0.567 WHIP, while striking out 10.5 per nine innings and walking 1.5 per nine in 30 innings pitched.
Bacus was considered old for the rookie league that he dominated last season, and he’s seen a corresponding down-tick in his stats this season. He’s been converted into a reliever already in low A, which doesn’t bode all that well for his long-term viability as a “prospect.” He has decent velocity on his sinking fastball (90-93), but his secondary offerings are fringe-avergae at best at this point in his development.
This seems to be a case where “something is better than nothing,” as the Nats were not going to pick up Suzuki’s $8.5 million option for next season and the veteran catcher would have left the organiztion as a free agent at the end of the season. With the A’s desperate for big league catching (both co-starters John Jaso and Derek Norris are on the D.L.), Natstown was hopeful that the player returned for Suzuki would have had a more promising pedigree.