One of the best prospects in this year’s MLB Draft is high school right-handed pitcher Dylan Lesko. He was trending towards being a top 5 pick, and easily the top pitcher taken off the board, that was until he injured his arm and had to undergo Tommy John surgery in April. Now Dylan Lesko is a total wild card in the first round. If this prep pitcher falls to the Mariners pick at 21, they should take him no questions asked because he could be an ace.
Dylan Lesko has easy mechanics and a great arsenal of pitches. He boasts a fastball that has touched 99 but sits in the mid-90s. He has a curveball and a slider that show some promise to be average or so pitches, but his best pitch is his changeup. MLB Pipeline gives it a 70 grade, which shows that it could be a strong weapon for him. With his solid 6’2″ 195-pound frame, he has the size of a front-line starter who could dominate for years to come.
Prospects Live has some high praise for the 18-year-old
"“Some believe Lesko represents the best prep pitching prospect the MLB Draft has seen since Hunter Greene or MacKenzie Gore.”"
Those two pitchers are now in the big leagues and look really good at times in their rookie years. They also say that he uses his pitches well, and pitches backward when he wants to. His pitching motion is very smooth and looks like it is easily repeatable.
So with all this potential, how in the world could this stud fall to Seattle at pick 21? Well, it is certainly a bit of a long shot, but it is certainly possible that teams don’t take him because he is coming off of Tommy John surgery, a high school righty which is usually a risky pick, and other teams ahead of Seattle could be looking to cut deals with lesser ranked prospects to save bonus pool money.
All of these things could create the perfect storm for the M’s to get possibly the steal of the draft at 21 and a potential star pitcher. The Mariners have lots of other pitching prospects in their system, so taking Lesko who is coming off of injury would be manageable since he could be ready for pitching next season. Having a potential ace pitcher in the minors would be huge since he would immediately have the highest ceiling of all the Mariners pitching prospects.
Overall, Dylan Lesko is a really talented young pitcher. There is not a great chance that the Mariners will even have the chance to draft him, but if the high schooler starts to fall, and makes his way to the 21st pick, Jerry Dipoto should select him. Even though he is years away from being ready for the show, he is the type of high-end prospect that could headline a trade to acquire a star-like Bryan Reynolds or Jazz Chisolm.