Dedniel Núñez, RHP
DOB: June 5, 1996
BATS: R / THROWS: R
ACQUIRED: Rule 5 Draft, 2020 from NY Mets
ORIGINALLY SIGNED: International Signing by Mets, October 21, 2016
LAST LEVEL: High-A
VOLATILITY: Very High
GiantFutures Ranks: #7 Relief Pitcher
Performance: Núñez had an interesting start to the year in Low-A with the Columbia Fireflies (then a Mets affiliate), walking only three batters in four games (all in a single outing) while striking out 33. Núñez then was promoted spent most of 2019 in High-A in the Mets’ affiliate in St. Lucie, where he worked full-time as a starter. He posted a 4.53 ERA in 12 starts, averaging just under five innings per start. A shoulder injury finished his season in June, and he had a total of 94 strikeouts against 23 walks in 80 innings of work.
Nunez was back to work in the Instructional League in the fall of 2020, part of the reason the Giants thought he was healthy to pick in the Rule 5 Draft.
Strengths and Weaknesses: Núñez has a solid mix of stuff, which is usually powered by a mid-90’s fastball and a curveball, both with what are described as elite spin rates. However, the fastball was down to averaging 91 MPH in 2019, though that seems to have been due to the shoulder injury. He was back up to 94 and touching 97 in Instructs.
Núñez also has shown strong control, which balances the mid-90’s fastball.
His third pitch, a changeup, is still below average, and Núñez hasn’t got an out pitch that’s consistent enough to work at the higher levels. He also has some mechanical issues that will need to be addressed.
Perhaps the biggest weakness for Núñez will be his Rule 5 Draftee status, and a need for him to stay on the Major League roster to stay with the Giants, where he won’t get usual development opportunities.
2021 Outlook: As with a Rule 5 draftee, he’ll be starting in the Major Leagues with the Giants. Whether or not he’ll be able to stay there is the big question, as the past three Rule 5 draftees have all failed to stay on the team’s Major League roster for more than a couple of months and none stayed with the Giants.
Future Profile: In a Mets system that was pretty weak, Núñez was ranked as their number 25 prospect by Baseball America, and after the switch, MLB.com did not rank Núñez in the Giants’ top 30. With a mid-90’s velocity, Núñez doesn’t profile as a closer, but if he can develop, he could be a regular piece in the middle of a bullpen in the big leagues.