The Seattle Mariners may not have made any moves to protect their eligible players from the Rule 5 draft, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be involved. If the past few years is any indication, they will make a selection this year.
Unlike the past two years, when the Mariners picked in the middle of the Rule 5 draft order, they’ll have the 6th pick this winter, which could help them land a useful piece for 2020 and beyond. With the Rule 5 player pool now known, there are a few names that should pique the interest of GM Jerry Dipoto.
Dipoto has made a selection in each of the past 2 Rule 5 drafts, selecting Mike Ford in the winter of 2017 and Brandon Brennan last winter. Brennan was an absolute success who, despite battling injuries, was one of the best relievers in the Mariners bullpen and showed high leverage stuff in stints this year.
And therein lies the goal of the Rule 5 draft: to find a player you think you can help get to their full potential. It is entirely possible that the Mariners do not select anybody in the Rule 5 next month, and if they don’t, it isn’t going to sink their off-season.
But if they do make a selection, there are a few names it would help to know about. So today, we present our 5 favorite Rule 5 Draft targets for your Seattle Mariners.
5. Griffin Jax
The Seattle Mariners need to take chances on fringy arms who could pop and that label applies to Minnesota Twins RHP Griffin Jax. He turns 25-years-old tomorrow and just wrapped up his 2019 season splitting time between AA and AAA.
He spent most of the season in AA Pensacola where he posted a 2.67 ERA, 84 strikeouts, 24 walks, a 1.10 WHIP, a 1.3 GO/FO ratio, and an OBA of .235. Jax uses his pitchability and commands more than his stuff to get hitters out, but he does it well.
At 6’2″, 195 lbs, Jax has a wiry build but is a hard worker in great shape and is a great athlete. The fastball sits 92 MPH but can hit 94 MPH, and throws a good fading changeup to back it up. He will use both pitches against lefties and righties and the combo is good enough to get hitters out.
The lack of a third offering is what is holding Jax back. He offers just a fringey breaking ball, a mediocre slider that doesn’t generate swings and misses. But the Mariners have shown an ability to both raise a pitchers fastball velo and teach new pitches, both of which could help Jax.
Ultimately, there is a lot of Andrew Moore in Jax, but if Seattle believes they can improve his slider or add velocity, he could be this year’s, Brandon Brennan.