When the Mariners traded clubhouse leader and closer Paul Sewald to Arizona, fans initially panned at the return, which included a utilityman struggling through a career-worst season, a 26-year-old outfielder whose route to playing time was blocked, and a prospect who had a horrific slash line in his initial professional season. Josh Rojas, Dom Canzone, and Ryan Bliss were the pieces headed to Seattle, and while the first two players on the list made some impact with the big league club, Bliss might have the most significant future.
MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis penned an article highlighting a few prospects he sees on an upward trajectory for 2024; Bliss was one of them, thanks to a tremendous run with the Tacoma Rainiers after the trade. He accumulated a .251/.356/.822 slash while racking up ten homers and 20 steals in a 47-game stint.
Callis noted the 2021 second-round pick's "simplified setup at the plate resulting in a more direct path to the ball." By adjusting his swing mechanics, Bliss showed a precious skill: the ability to take coaching, bring it into the game, and get the required results. For context, these changes propelled the talented middle infielder up the Minor League Baseball leaderboards, as he finished in the top ten in runs, total bases, hits, and extra-base hits.
There's a good chance that manager Scott Servais gives Bliss a ton of run in Peoria this spring. With a solid performance, he could win a roster spot as a utilityman who can play both middle infield positions or as the strong side of a second base platoon with Josh Rojas. Callis' shoutout of the five-tool prospect indicates Bliss' promise, which falls in the skies the limit category.