Yesterday, the Mariners dropped bread crumbs all day that a major shift was coming in there organization. Today, we found out where all the crumbs came from.
In a busy morning for Mariners fans, Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto activated a pitcher off the 60-day IL, demoted 2 relievers, and promoted 3 top prospects to AA. Dipoto kicked off the mayhem with demoting relievers Parker Markel and David McKay and activating right-handed pitcher Sam Tuivailala off the 60-day injured list.
Tuivailala, acquired last July from the St. Louis Cardinals, was recovering from a torn Achilles tendon and takes his spot in a troubled Mariners bullpen. Activating Tuivailala takes up a 40 man roster spot, which stands at 39 after yesterday’s waiving of Andrew Moore.
This leaves the Mariners 25 man roster at 24, with the team expected to make another roster move tomorrow. While calling up another reliever makes sense, both Justus Sheffield and Jake Fraley are worthy of a call-up. Time will tell, but Seattle does have room on the 40 man roster for Fraley.
On the farm, a trio of Top Mariners prospects all earned promotions from A+ Modesto to AA Arkansas to finish out their 2019 seasons. Logan Gilbert and Cal Raleigh, last years first and third round picks, had dominated the Cal League recently.
Gilbert started the season in A-Ball West Virginia but after just 5 starts, it became clear Gilbert needed to be challenged. Turns out, A+ Ball was no match for him either. Gilbert made 12 starts for Modesto and posted a 1.73 ERA with 73 strikeouts and just 12 walks in 62 innings.
As for Cal Raleigh, there may not be a hotter hitter on the planet. After a pedestrian April and May for the young catcher, Raleigh becomes the most dangerous bat in the Cal League, slugging 15 home runs in June and July. The hot streak crescendo in July, where Raleigh is slashing .348/.423/.957.
In addition to Gilbert and Raleigh, the Mariners also promoted Ljay Newsome who has made a name for himself this season. After 4 seasons of being nothing more than organizational filler, Newsome came to camp this year with a fastball that had jumped to 92 MPH, a near 5 MPH jump from the previous season.
Newsome’s numbers have put him firmly on the radar of the big club, posting an incredible 134:10 K/BB stat in 106 innings. While still lacking dominant stuff, Newsome has the elite command to go with his above-average slider/cutter. If the curveball or changeup can take a jump, he is a legitimate prospect.
By promoting all 3 together, the Mariners are able to keep them together, which may be a big reason why they all 3 were promoted today. All are deserving of a look against better competition. As it stands right now, Raleigh, Gilbert, and Newsome will join Kyle Lewis, Evan White, Justin Dunn, Justus Sheffield, and many others in Arkansas.
The Mariners farm system is in a significantly better place right now. And as more of these promotions come, the picture becomes a little bit clearer for fans who can’t see past the bad 2019 product.