Mariners Prospect Spotlight: Brandon Schaeffer

LHP Brandon Schaeffer, 2022 UNC Preseason Scrimmage Highlights
LHP Brandon Schaeffer, 2022 UNC Preseason Scrimmage Highlights / Boshamer Bulletin

When it comes to developing pitching, The Mariners have a formula. They find unique traits, zero in on certain pitches, and create a plan that centers on helping that prospect become the best version of themselves. We've seen the staff turn an ineffective starter in the Mets organization into one of the most valuable relievers in the AL (Paul Sewald). They've transformed a little used lefty swingman into a dominant weapon (Gabe Speier). They also found a unique quality in Bryce Miller's riding fastball and charted a path for him to become a vital member of the 2023 rotation. It is plain as day; this organization has a knack for developing pitching.

The next in a long line of success stories could be Brandon Schaeffer. Prospects Live's Joe Doyle had high praise for the 23-year-old lefty as the Mariner's best day-three pick in the 2022 MLB Draft.

Schaeffer kicked off this season in Modesto and quickly became one of the top pitchers in the California League by leading the circuit in earned run average, strikeouts per nine innings, and walks and hits per inning pitched. The Mariners promoted him to Everett on June 5th, and he has yet to look back, racking up quality starts and strikeouts along the way.

The exciting developments include a little more zip on the fastball (up to 96 MPH) and a changeup that frequently flashes, plus on the scouting scale. Scouts labeled the former Tar Heel's ceiling as a high-leverage reliever coming out of college. Still, if he continues to hammer the top of the zone with a deceptive riding fastball and snap-off plus breaking pitches, we could be talking about a mid-rotation arm here.

Schaeffer authored another quality start this week, firing six innings of one-run ball and striking out five in an Aquasox 2-1 win. He didn't have his best stuff, but he battled and took a pitch-to-contact approach to navigate the opposing team's lineup. There is a good chance he finishes the year in Arkansas, boosting the Traveler's rotation for the playoff push.

Schaeffer is in the next wave of hurlers (Reid VanScooter, Michael Morales, Marcelo Perez) reaping the benefits of a strong Mariner development program. If the Mariner's penchant for developing pitching is any indication, I like the lanky lefty's chances of being a big-league contributor by 2025.