Mariners Rookie of the Year Candidate: Bryce Miller
This is always the tough one. The Mariners still seem to be posturing about what they are going to do with the fifth starter. Could it be Marco of Flexen? What about signing a free agent, someone like Zach Greinke?
Or, would they look to the minors and call up recent 4th round pick Bryce Miller?
Miller had a wonderful 2022 and has leapt up man scouting boards, even as high as 2nd over at Prospects Live on their Mariners list. With decent control and a really strong H/9 number, Miller kept showing the ability to sit batters down last season, racking up a 1.046 WHIP and 10.8 K/9 in AA Arkansas.
The 24-year-old finished off the season on an incredible note, throwing seven innings of two-run ball, allowing just two hits, one walk, and fanning a career high 14 batters. Oh, and he did it on just 92 pitches as well.
I don't know that he will start with the Mariners. Maybe they take a Kirby approach and bring him up in May, just in order to keep his innings a bit more in check. Kirby threw a total of 156.2 IP in 2022, so that's a similar path that they could take with Miller.
I don't know that 130 IP at the major league level would be enough, but there is something else to keep in mind. The Mariners have the 29th pick because Julio was on the roster when the season started and he won ROY. IS that going to entice a team to bring someone up earlier in the hope of acquiring such a valuable pick? It definitely could, as the lost year of control is easily worth a player of that caliber.
Bo Naylor, Dane Dunning, Ryne Stanek, Joe Panik, Cam Bedrosian, Carlos Quentin. Those are all guys who were taken with the 29th pick, and that's not to mention all the talent within a couple spots of that pick as well. It's an incredibly valuable pick, and one worth thinking of as decisions are made.
Those are the three guys that I think could take home the awards in 2023. Whether or not any of them do, it's definitely going to make for a fun season.