College arms with unique traits and a strong sense of command and control are the blueprint for Mariner pitchers. They've drafted a ton of these types of arms in recent years. Marcelo Perez, Brandon Schaeffer, and our #21 rated prospect, Reid VanScoter, fit the bill.
Fresh off a 2023 Mariners' organizational all-star nod, VanScoter had a breakout season for the Everett Aquasox. He led the circuit in innings pitched and was in the top five in the Northwest League in wins, WHIP, strikeouts, and walks. One stat that stood out was a sparkling 2.94 FIP, which was a minor league best. These statistics and a penchant for coming up large in big games propelled VanScoter to the Northwest Pitcher of the Year award.
One thing to keep in mind is that VanScoter isn't your typical Mariner frontline starter in the fact that he doesn't pound the zone with a mid-90s fastball. He routinely touches 92 mph but uses deception and command to navigate opposing lineups. Sound familiar? It should because that describes a crafty lefty on the current big league roster, Marco Gonzales. That profile pegs the 24-year-old lefty as a solid backend starter (#5), but good teams need those guys.
If this season proved anything, playoff contenders need more than five starters to get through the season. We saw the Mariners call up Easton McGee, Darren McCaughan, Bryce Miller, Bryan Woo, and Emerson Hancock to survive injuries in the rotation. If we are looking for comps, VanScoter mirrors McCaughan in repitore, approach, and ability. Look for the Mariners to start VanScoter in Arkansas. He'll have a chance to finish 2024 in Tacoma and might be one of the first arms called up if a spot starter is needed late in the year.