The conclusion of the Winter Meetings always ends with the Rule 5 draft. It is always an interesting time as there are so many big names and big contracts being thrown around, and then it concludes with guys that are borderline 26-man roster players.
The Mariners have taken at least 1 player in every Rule 5 draft since 2017, and it's something I don't expect them to break this time. There are some pretty interesting names available this year and I wouldn't be surprised if the Mariners tried to snag a pitcher to add to their bullpen. Let's take a look at 4 names I think could be of interest when it comes time for the Mariners to take a selection.
Mariners Rule 5 Target #1: Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa
The first arm we are going to look at, and in my opinion, by far the most interesting arm is Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa. The 23-year-old pitcher is from Hawaii, but actually spent time in college in the state of Washington at Pierce Community College in Lakewood, Washington. In 2023, he only made it to High-A ball for the Texas Rangers, but the numbers he has put up, are very impressive.
In 2023, between, rookie ball, A-ball, High-A ball, and the Arizona Fall League, he combined to throw 24 1/3 innings with a 2.96 ERA. He had a 9.2 K/9 and a 2.6 BB/9, something that Mariners will value quite a bit. He was just as good, if not better, in 2022 in A ball. He threw 43 2/3 innings with a 3.09 ERA and an impressive 13.8 K/9 and a solid 4.1 BB/9.
Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa has a fastball that sits in the mid to upper 90s and a slider in the mid to upper 80s. I think this is a guy who could come in and fill the shoes of the recently traded Isaiah Campbell. He's got some interesting stuff and has shown an ability to control the zone, this seems like a guy the Mariners could turn into a really solid reliever. Above is 5 minutes of him dominating the zone with 10 of 15 pitches for strikes.