General Manager Justin Hollander joined Seattle Sports 710's Hot Stove show this week. He offered up some interesting tidbits on the Mariners' offseason additions, Ty France's work at Driveline, and a few prospects who could impact the 2024 big league club.
Hollander mentioned two lefty corner outfielders, Cade Marlowe and Zach Deloach, who could play a role this season. Marlowe had mixed results in 2023, slashing .239/.330/.750 in 34 games, which amounted to a slightly above-league-average bat (112 wRC+). While those numbers look fantastic for a fourth outfielder-type who can play all three positions, the 33% strikeout rate is concerning, especially for a team that has made a concerted effort to curb the swing-and-miss this offseason.
The 26-year-old outfielder has always run high whiff rates, but the team could protect him from overexposure as they did in 2022 for Dylan Moore, another player who offers some pop with the strikeouts. Manager Scott Servais protected Moore that year and was rewarded with a stellar 2-WAR season from the uber-athletic utilityman.
Deloach, a second-round pick in the 2020 draft, was a put-up or shut-up status this year, and he delivered for the Tacoma Rainiers, hammering 55 extra-base hits. The 25-year-old outfielder, like Marlowe, runs above-league-average strikeout rates in the minors, which can be a red flag, but he also walks at a decent clip (13.3% in 2023). Deloach profiles as a fourth outfielder, which is a redundancy with Dom Canzone, Marlowe, and Taylor Trammell in the system. Regardless, the front office protected Deloach from this year's Rule 5 draft, meaning they see him playing a big-league role sooner rather than later.
The most promising player Hollander mentioned is Tyler Locklear. The first baseman had a spectacular 2023, slashing .260/.383/.786 across two levels. The 23-year-old corner infielder has a discerning eye (11.7% BB) and meager strikeout rates (14.9% in 2023). Hollander stated that Locklear doesn't strike out much, has an interesting bat, offers power, and can play both corners, which is the most critical nugget, considering the team is banking on a significant bounce-back season from Luis Urias. The Mariner's executive believes Locklear could be a key piece for the stretch run, providing a spark off the bench and rest for Ty France and Urias.
It's exciting to think about top prospects Cole Young, Colt Emerson, and Harry Ford toiling in Everett and Arkansas next season, but there is an impact even closer to T-Mobile in these three youngsters.