The Mariners starting rotation has been the main reason that the big league club hasn’t been over .500 yet in the 2017 campaign. Over the first 68 games so far this season they have used 11 starting pitchers including 7 that started the season in the minor leagues. At one point they only had one starter that began the season in the rotation and that was the number five guy, Yovani Gallardo. This begs the question: If injuries and ineffectiveness continues, who’s next?
The list has to begin and end with top pitching prospect Andrew Moore (ranked #7 in Prospects1500 Mariners Top 50 Prospects from back in January but should be higher on my coming updated rankings). Through 8 starts in Tacoma, he has a 3-1 record with a 3.19 ERA and .96 WHIP while striking out 44 batters in 48 innings. Moore was the M’s minor league pitcher of the year in 2016 and projects to eventually be a solid number 2 or 3 type guy in the majors. Of course, the Mariners, rightly so, don’t want to bring him up too soon and would love to keep him in Tacoma for the majority of the 2017 campaign. However, if their pitching woes persist they may need to bring him up sooner than later.
Outside of Moore, every other Tacoma Rainier candidate has already been up with two of them in the current M’s rotation. Those two being Christian Bergman and Sam Gaviglio, with the latter being the most likely to stick. Gaviglio has posted a 3-1 record with a 3.41 ERA and 1.17 WHIP over his first six starts with the big club, which is very similar to his Rainier stats. Prior to his call up he posted a 2-3 record with a 3.31 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in five games with Tacoma.
Other top pitching prospects in the organization include hard throwing 6’8” Max Povse (just promoted to the Majors on Sunday 6/18) and Nick Neidert, who started the year as the number 4 overall prospect in the organization in the original Prospects1500 Mariners Top 50 list for 2017. Neidert has pitched well with Single A Modesto, posting a 5-3 record with a 3.31 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. Most impressive has been his Strikeout/Base on Balls ration of 82 K’s to just 10 walks in 73.1 innings. He projects to be 2-3 years away from debuting in Seattle. Povse will likely join the M’s bullpen initially but could get a tryout in the rotation if that need arises later this season. The tall right-hander has posted a 3-2 record with a 3.46 ERA and 1.23 WHIP with the Arkansas Travelers.
Top Mariner prospect Kyle Lewis has missed three consecutive games with knee soreness after just being activated following last July’s ACL tear.
The Mariners appear to have had a strong 2017 draft headlined by 1B Evan White from the University of Kentucky and Minnesota High School pitcher Sam Carlson. The hard throwing righty surprisingly fell to the number 55 pick. Carlson was the overall Number 15 prospect according to MLB.com which was three spots ahead of White. The Mariners may look to convert White from 1B to the outfield. White’s head coach at Kentucky Nick Mingione, was effusive in praising the first baseman telling KJR AM-950’s “Mitch in the Morning” show that White is a 5-tool player who possesses elite speed and will be a future gold glove player.
Article featured image of Andrew Moore – courtesy MiLB.com and TacomaRainiers.com