Three short years ago, Wyatt Mills was the Mariners’ #10 overall prospect, and their #4 pitching prospect. Armed with a sinker-slider combo and a highly unique delivery, Seattle hoped they were grooming MLB’s next Darren O’Day.
A 26-year-old product of Gonzaga University (and Gonzaga Prep High School in Spokane), Mills made his debut on May 1st, but, unfortunately, the bright lights of the majors have not been kind to him so far. Mills appeared in 11 games in 2021 (spread out through seven call-ups from Tacoma), and posted a 9.95 ERA and 2.053 WHIP while exhibiting poor command and control of his pitches.
Pitchers with funky deliveries are a rare bird in MLB, and there’s a reason for that: submarine mechanics don’t allow for pitchers to exhibit elite velocity, so they rely heavily on pitch movement and location for success. If a pitcher like Mills can’t execute on those latter skills, they will either continuously miss the strike zone, or they will leave low-velocity/low-movement pitches over the middle of the plate for hitters to have their way with.
The Mariners had one of the American League’s best bullpens in 2021, and with the additions of Ken Giles and Andres Munoz next season, they’ll be expected to perform at an even higher level. There will be much less room for inexperienced pitchers next year, so Mills could be on his last legs in Seattle; however, his unique skill set and former top organizational prospect status remain encouraging, so the Mariners would likely seek out a trade instead of setting him loose on waivers.