Let me paint a picture for you. An electric arm that touches 100 miles per hour suffers from control issues and uses a devastating slider as his outpitch. Sound familiar? It should be because we’ve seen this movie before. In 2016, the Mariners had a starting pitcher grabbing Texas League headlines with the same arsenal, albeit with problems controlling the zone. His name was Edwin Diaz.
Seven years later, another Mariners’ pitching prospect follows Diaz’s lead. President of Baseball Operations, Jerry Dipoto, joined Brock and Salk (Seattle Sports 710) to explain why Prelander Berroa has transitioned to the bullpen.
"It’s very similar to what we did years back with Edwin Díaz, it’s a very similar transition to what we made with Matt Brash last year,” Dipoto said. “And that’s what we presented to Berroa, and he listened to the presentation and he said, ‘Cool, I’m good to go.’ And I think he sees himself as a reliever. It’s a huge arm, it’s a devastating slider, he throws up to 100 mph, and our impression was we were probably going to spin our wheels with him as a starter because the command."- Jerry Dipoto, President of Baseball Ops
Berroa, who the team acquired from the San Francisco Giants in the famed Donnie Walton trade, performed well in spring training as a starter, but walks plagued him to start the season in Arkansas (20 BB in 23 innings). According to MLB Pipeline, the Mariners’ 14th-rated prospect came out of the Travelers’ pen this week and immediately flashed.
The goal is to fast-track Berroa’s ascent to T-Mobile Park a la Diaz in 2016, and with the number of close games and bullpen regression we’ve seen, this is a movie I wouldn’t mind seeing again.