Seattle Mariners Ranking 5 Potential Future Aces to Anchor Rotation

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 30: Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals pitches during MLB baseball action against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on August 30, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 30: Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals pitches during MLB baseball action against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on August 30, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images) /
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2. Logan Gilbert

Again it’s not Dunn or Sheffield who has the highest ceiling of Mariners starters. That honor actually belongs to 2018 first round draft selection Logan Gilbert. Drafted out of Stetson University, Gilbert has all the tools you look for to make a jump from mid-rotation arm to an ace of the staff.

At 6’6″, 230 lbs, Gilbert has the size of workhorse arm but is also a good athlete which gives his profile plenty of helium. When selected, most scouts agreed that he had at least 3, MLB quality offerings. The fastball, which sat at around 93 MPH at Stetson, dipped last season in college but came back later in the season. Now, Gilbert is back up to 94-98 mph in his first taste in pro ball.

The slider and changeup have both flashed above-average and there is a good chance one, if not both, develop into a true plus pitch for Gilbert going forward. The curveball continues to be a bit of a project, but does show good bite and should be an above-average 4th offering.

For a pitcher to become an ace, he needs to have 3 plus offerings. Gilbert has a chance to get there and possibly add another above-average pitch to his repertoire. A strike thrower in college, Gilbert’s above-average command could take another step forward. If that were to happen, Gilbert’s profile could include 3, 60-grade offerings, the fourth pitch with a 55-grade, and 60-grade command.

That profile screams future ace. If the early returns are any indication, Gilbert may get there sooner than anybody originally thought. In his first 3 outings in A-ball West Virginia, Gilbert has dominated the Sally League. He has allowed just 1 run in 14 innings, collecting 22 strikeouts and walking just 3 along the way.

Though Seattle has no reason to rush the talented righty, Gilbert could force his way up the later in 2019, making a cup of coffee at the big league level in 2020 a possibility. In all likelihood, Gilbert will get his first shot to win a rotation spot in Spring Training 2021 and could become a regular member of the Mariners rotation by draft day 2021.

Gilbert has the most upside of any arm in the organization. If he continues to dominate the Sally League and show more growth, he could find his way up to number 1 in our mid-season prospect re-ranks.

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