The Cactus League season is underway and the Mariners young players are playing quite well. But we continue to move along, unveiling our Top 40 Mariners prospects 5 at a time.
Today, we continue our official countdown, revealing the next 5 prospects to crack our Top 40 list. As we move up the list, more or more names will be familiar to Mariners fans. These are exciting times, so let’s get to it.
But before we do, let’s review our process. First, the rankers consisted of 4 staff writers. All 4 writers produced a list of their top prospects. The average rank of each player is the spot they landed on our list. In this case, the lower the number, the higher the rank.
Our rankers were not given any criteria for their list. Different eyes see different things and unique minds value things differently than others. There are no cookie cutters for prospect scouting and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Also, take these ranks with a grain of salt. We do not get to see many of these players often and are relying on graining video, scouting reports, and statistics to cover our bases. If you want top-end prospect ranks, I suggest Keith Law of ESPN and Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel.
Without any further delay, let’s get started.
Nobody changed their prospect profile more than Ljay Newsome over the past year. He started 2019 as a soft-tossing right-handed pitcher who was nothing more than quality minor league depth. Now, he is a legitimate big league candidate.
Newsome went to Mariners “Gas Camp” last winter and saw his fastball jump from 84 MPH to 88-92 MPH, even touching 94 mph on occasion. But the velocity dipped in the middle of the season and was between 86-89 MPH.
This was still a significant jump for Newsome and if he can maintain his velo bump for an entire season, it would help Newsome a lot. Newsome needs the velocity to get average value from the fastball.
Newsome has a curveball, slider, and cutter that all grade out as average, and an above-average changeup as well. The stuff plays up thanks to plus command, but he may never be more than a #4 or #5 starter. A transition to the bullpen could help his velocity stay up and give him the best shot to stick in the majors.
We will be tracking Newsome all spring and summer and if the fastball velocity sits in the mid-80s, this may be his last trip inside the Top 30.