At first glance, the Mariner’s roster doesn’t have a lot of open spots. Maybe a fourth outfielder and a bullpen piece or two. General Manager Justin Hollander brought in veterans Kolton Wong, Teoscar Hernandez, and Colin Moran (minor league deal) to round out a very competitive group in 2022. Nevertheless, a few prospects could help augment the major league team this year.
A fourth-round pick out of Texas A&M University, Bryce Miller has overtaken Emerson Hancock as the number one pitching prospect in the system. He took significant steps forward last year with his secondary pitches, while his fastball topped out at 99 and is his best offering.
President of Baseball Operations, Jerry Dipoto, recently joined Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports and was very complimentary of Miller’s ascension.
"“The guy coming into spring training that I think is going to light people up is Bryce Miller,” he said. “He had a terrific year at multiple levels of our minor league system last year.”"- Jerry Dipoto
I wouldn’t be surprised if he joins the Mariner bullpen this year, a la Matt Brash. Adding another Andres Munoz-type arm to the Los Bomberos could pay big dividends during the stretch run.
Marlowe is one of those late bloomers who many scouts say is a little too old for his current level. However, he has a speed and power combination that could entice Manager Scott Servais. The organization thinks highly of Cade Marlowe, who they added to the playoff taxi squad and 40-man roster last fall.
He raked Last year across two levels accumulating a .287/.377/.864 slash line with 23 homers and 42 stolen bases. Marlowe was the 2022 Edgar Martinez Hitter of the Year award winner displaying elite control and zone traits. Still, he has a glaring weakness that might keep him in Tacoma all year or relegate him to fourth outfielder duty: his extremely high strikeout rates in the minors (33%). If he can overcome the swing and miss, don’t be surprised to see him overtake either Taylor Trammell or Jared Kelenic in the pecking order later in the season.
Once the top pitching prospect in the system, Emerson Hancock has struggled with injuries and a year without development due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully, he is back on target now and has shown what he can do when healthy. Last year was an excellent stepping stone for the former first-rounder, who made 21 starts and displayed elite control with a 2.42 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Hancock has a dominant four-pitch mix, which should play well again this year in Arkansas and Tacoma. There aren’t many starting spots left in the rotation, but if Dipoto decides to trade Chris Flexen and Marco Gonzales, there could be a pathway for the former Georgia Bulldog to join the rotation later in the year.
These three exciting prospects could be headed to T-Mobile Park soon, so if you are into watching minor league baseball, see them early in the season. Because before you know it they be the next wave of major league contributors.