We continue our countdown of the Top 40 Mariners prospects and reach inside our Top 3 for the number 1 arm in the team’s farm system.
The Mariners’ pitching prospects really showed out in their abbreviated spring training outings. Justus Sheffield was arguably the best pitcher on the staff in Arizona. Justin Dunn looked like a confident, big league starter with swagger to spare. And although he only threw 4 innings, Logan Gilbert flashed #1 stuff and, as such, is our #3 prospect in the Mariners farm system.
Gilbert, the 14th overall pick of the 2018 MLB draft, has long been thought to be a quick-rising, mid-rotation arm who had a chance. After missing his pro debut in 2018, Gilbert began the season in West Virginia and jumped to AA Arkansas in his first pro season.
Overall, Gilbert’s final 2019 numbers were spectacular. He threw 135 innings across 3 levels, striking out 165 hitters and posting a 2.13 ERA and 0.948 WHIP. Gilbert also had a 5:1 K/BB ratio. Gilbert would likely survive in the big leagues right now and should be ready to go in the first 60 games of 2020.
The 6’6″, 240 lbs shows good stuff that currently plays as more of a #2 than a #1. Gilbert’s fastball sits 92-95 and he can hit 97 MPH that shows life up in the zone. Gilbert can throw his fastball anywhere he wants, which helps the pitch play up even more than it already does.
Gilbert backs up the heater with two breaking balls. The slider is a solid offering with 2 plane break and could end up his best off-speed pitch. Currently, Gilbert’s knuckle curveball is his best breaking ball and he’ll throw it in any count for strikes. It flashes plus but is currently well-above-average as it stands.
Gilbert also shows a good changeup that is thrown with good arm speed, though it is his worst of his offerings. The changeup should be solidly above-average and is a really good fourth pitch.
Gilbert can throw all his pitches for strikes and is willing to use all of them in any count. With his 55-grade command and 3 potential 60-grade pitches in the future, Gilbert is a strong bet to be a #3 starter for a long time. If he can improve one of his breaking balls sit in the mid-90s more often, he could be a #1 starter and the future ace of the ball club.
Gilbert is quite similar in profile to Aaron Nola, the ace of the Philadelphia Phillies. If Gilbert becomes Aaron Nola, Seattle has found their #1 pitcher of the future. Gilbert has a high floor and a high ceiling. While he may never be a true ace, Gilbert can most definitely be a high-end 2 or better.