If you look at the Mariners' farm system, you'll see a glutton of up-the-middle prospects (C, 2B, SS, CF). Cole Young, Harry Ford, Jonaton Clase, and the list of high-upside prospects continue—however, there are a few corner infielders in the organization who are Major League talent. Tyler Locklear is one of those prospects.
A second-round pick in the 2022 Major League Baseball Draft out of Virginia Commonwealth University, Locklear offers a unique set of skills, with power being his most developed (55-grade).
Locklear was limited to 85 games across two levels in 2023 due to a hand injury. The small sample size didn't stop him from flashing in a spectacular season (.288/.405/.907), where he anchored the Arkansas Travelers' lineup through the playoffs. When diving into his season stats, it is clear that he adopted the organizational "dominate the zone" philosophy as he racked up (47 walks to 76 strikeouts) and even doubled his walk rate from the previous season.
The 22-year-old came up through the system as a third baseman but recently switched to the cold corner. Locklear flashed some solid defense this season, routinely making web gems. Northwest League managers saw him pick it with the best of them and rightfully awarded him the "Best Defensive First baseman in the Northwest League" award.
Lastly, he'd finish his season by showcasing his hit tool in the Arizona Fall League for the Peoria Javelinas. He bounced between first base and designated hitter duties, authoring a solid .284/.415/.888 slash line. That performance propelled our 9th-ranked prospect to the AFL Fall Stars game.
We'll likely see Locklear get some extended MLB Spring Training run with another assignment to Arkansas in the cards. If he continues to show high strike zone judgment and damage pitches in the zone, he'll get a cup of coffee with the big-league club late in the season.