“Sodo Mojo Presents” Top 30 Seattle Mariners Prospects: #5 Justin Dunn

SEATTLE - MARCH 31: Fans walk up to the stadium before the Seattle Mariners game against the Texas Rangers on March 31, 2008 at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE - MARCH 31: Fans walk up to the stadium before the Seattle Mariners game against the Texas Rangers on March 31, 2008 at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /

We have finally reached our Top 5 of the Seattle Mariners Prospects list! Today, we profile the less publicized piece of the Edwin Diaz trade, but perhaps just as important.

As always, for a breakdown of our process in selecting the Top 30 Mariners prospects, read the primer by clicking here. If you want a breakdown of our first 25 prospects, you can go to the “minors” tab on the website, or click right here.

In addition, remember that our grades are based on the standard scouting scale. The scale ranges from 20-80, 20 being not MLB quality and 80 being a Hall of Fame tool. We also provide a probability score on a 1-5 scale, based on the likelihood they reach the 75% plateau of their upside. With all that in mind, let’s get started.

5. Justin Dunn, RHP

The overshadowed prospect of the Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano trade to the Mets, RHP Justin Dunn has been on the Mariners and GM Jerry Dipoto‘s radar for quite some time. In 2016, Dipoto’s first draft with the Mariners, the team held the 11th overall pick. It was widely reported and speculated that the team intended to take a hard-throwing RHP from Boston College with that pick.

That was, of course, until Kyle Lewis fell into their laps. The team did backflips and selected Lewis. The pitcher’s fall was a small one, to pick 19, where the New York Mets nabbed their man. The pitcher was, of course, Justin Dunn.

A reliever for most of college, Dunn went into the rotation for his final year and has been used out of the rotation ever since. The Mariners will give Dunn every chance to stay in the rotation, knowing that a change to the bullpen will not be difficult for Dunn.

You see, Dunn already has 2 plus pitches. His fastball sits between 92-95 mph that he uses to great effect at the top of the zone. The fastball is described as a “rise” pitch, which points to a good spin rate, allowing the pitch to even play up more.

The slider is a legitimate big league offering right now. It has a sharp break and misses a lot of bats. The curveball is an average offering with good depth and the potential to be above-average. The changeup needs work but has the potential to be an average offering.

Dunn has a clean delivery and is a plus athlete. There are a few things that Dunn needs to improve to reach his max potential of a #2 starter. He needs to show better command of all his pitches. Even a half-grade improvement could be a big difference.

Dunn also is still refining his pitchability grade, learning how to put hitters away and avoid a big inning. If everything goes right for Dunn, he could be a number 2 starter. There is a little Luis Severino to his game but that is if everything goes right.

Even if Dunn never further develops any of his tools further, his floor is that of a high leverage reliever. In shorter stints, Dunn has clocked in at 98 mph and the wipeout slider gives him closer potential.

Scouting Grades- Fastball: 60 Slider: 60 Curveball: 50 Changeup: 45 Command: 50 Probability: 4/5

Dunn will likely start 2019 back in AA where he finished out 2018. He did manage to log 89.33 innings at the level last year, striking out 105 batters along the way. His stint in AA Arkansas could be short. There is a reasonable chance Dunn makes his Mariners debut late in 2019, but 2020 is the realistic target.

Justin Dunn is a consensus Top 100 prospect by most ranks. Keith Law of ESPN had him in his Top 60. These type of ranks aren’t the gospel, but when Keith Law ranks you higher than everybody else in the industry, it is definitely worth mentioning.

Next. Top 30 Mariners Prospects: Kyle Lewis. dark

Seattle hopes that Dunn could blossom into a #2 starter. Even if he settles in as a high-end #3, the team will be more than thrilled. Dunn is as close to a lock to contribute at the big league level as just about any prospect. How big his contributions can be will be shaped in 2019.