17. Wyatt Mills, RHP
Okay, full disclosure, the last 3 names on this list are a “pick your favorite” type of rank. If they could all be ranked 17th, the probably would be. By the slimmest of margins, Wyatt Mills is the number 17 highest ranked prospect.
Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2017 draft, Mills is the definition of a “fast-rising relief prospect”. Despite having thrown just 62.2 innings in his pro career, the Mariners promoted Mills to AA Arkansas to finish out his 2018 season. While Mills is likely headed back to Arkansas, he won’t be down for long.
Mills will probably remind most Mariners fans of Steve Cishek. Yes, that is a good thing. Cishek has proven to be an insanely valuable reliever in his career, and if Mills can match his numbers, the Mariners really have something here.
The long and lean righty has a plus fastball and slider from his low-sidearm delivery, making him a nightmare on right-handed bats. Unlike many arms who throw from this arm slot, Mills has an uncanny ability to throw quality strikes.
Mills issued just 13 walks in 53 innings in 2018, to go along with 59 strikeouts. The fastball sits 93 mph and tops out at 95. The slider has the classic “frisbee” action and produces more than it’s a fair share of weak swings.
Mills may have the highest probability in the Mariners farm system. However, his relatively low ceiling pushes him down the list. There is no shot for Mills to start, and it is unlikely his stuff will see a significant uptick anytime soon.
For Mills, 2019 is about refining skills and showing he can get hitters at higher levels out. If he can accomplish both, it is hard not to expect that he will at least receive a cup of coffee with the Mariners in September.