Mariners Add Interesting Bullpen Arm via Milwaukee in Justin Topa
By Trevor Pedro
Just when we thought President of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto and his trusty sidekick, General Manager Justin Hollander, were in perpetual winter slumber, the duo struck another trade with the Milwaukee Brewers. They have a history of striking deals with the Brew Crew. Remember Adam Lind? Or shipping Omar Narvaez, Ben Gamel, and a cast of characters to the Midwest. How about the most recent deal to land second baseman, Kolton Wong?
Today's transaction included Mariners' Top 30 Prospect Joseph Hernandez and 31-year-old reliever Justin Topa. Prospect's Live Director, Joe Doyle had this to say about Topa shortly after the trade.
"Justin Topa is a really interesting analytic get for the Mariners too. Sinker/Slider combo tunnels well. Slider is a true sweeper. Seattle has preferred these types of arms. Up to 98 w/heavy sink and a deceptive three-quarter delivery. Stuff is better than his baseball card."
There aren't many quality stats on Topa, as he's been sidelined by elbow injuries over the past few years. That may be why he was available for an AA starter with two pitches and some control issues. Either way, the stuff sounds like a combination of Austin Adams and Paul Sewald, which sounds like one of Dipoto's bullpen reclamation projects. Nevertheless, the analytics department must see something in Topa. He does have some rise in the fastball a la Sewald.
If Pitching Coach Pete Woodward can mold a healthy Justin Topa, watch out. That fastball is elite and slide piece is nasty. Here's to a few more additions before the start of Spring Training next month. Next Brewer up, Devin Williams?