It's time for the Mariners to give Bryan Woo a big-league shot
By Brandon Willman
General managers from around the MLB called the Seattle Mariners about a non-roster invite to Spring Training 2023. His easy-looking delivery and offspeed pitches shone brighter than the sun in the early February sun of Peoria, Arizona.
Bryan Woo, the sixth-ranked prospect in the Mariners system, is tearing up AA Arkansas to start the year. Although his ETA for MLB is not until 2024, the 23-year-old is making a case to expedite that process and make his start in the big leagues at some point in 2023.
Through 34 innings this season, he has a 1.85 ERA, striking out 49 batters while walking just seven and giving up 21 hits. While he always has been a high-strikeout pitcher, his 1.9 walks per nine innings this season is the lowest at any level since entering college.
His 0.82 WHIP is also the lowest on his team in Arkansas. A notable pitcher at the same level that he is highly outplaying is Emerson Hancock, another highly-touted prospect in the Mariners system.
Woo had a strong start to begin the season and has continued that dominance without faltering. In his May 11 performance, he went 7.0 innings, giving up just two hits and striking out seven. In that performance, he started the game with six perfect innings, impressive at any level.
It is true that the biggest weakness for the 2023 Mariners is not the pitching staff, but at the same time, it is true that you can never have too much of a good thing.
As a prospect, his highest-rated pitch was his fastball, but his slider may be his calling in MLB. His fastball rated in at 60, with his changeup and slider being rated at 50. Sitting at 95 and reaching as high as 99, his fastball certainly is, as it stands, his biggest impact pitch.
Against righties and lefties, Woo is consistently good, having faced 65 batters from each side. Against righties, he has thrown 16.2 innings, striking out 20 and giving up two home runs, while being good for a 0.90 WHIP.
Through 17.1 innings against left-handed batters, he has been even better. He has 29 strikeouts, has not given up a home run and has maintained a 0.75 WHIP.
The most impressive stuff about his start to the year has been his maintained dominance with runners in scoring position. Against 24 batters with runners in scoring position, he has given up just two hits and walked one, managing to strike out 12 and having a 0.41 WHIP.
If Woo gets the call to ‘The Show’, he can have an impact similar to that of Matt Brash in 2022. Being a long-relief bullpen arm with spot-start potential is the perfect fit for the 2021 sixth-round pick as he continues to develop.