Two potential under-the-radar breakout candidates for Mariners as ST progresses

By Brandon Willman
Seattle Mariners Photo Day
Seattle Mariners Photo Day / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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Eyes have been on several specific players in the 2023 Mariners Spring Training games, players such as Evan White, Logan Gilbert, Jarred Kelenic and George Kirby, who all are expected to make contributions to the MLB team in the regular season. 

Despite that, two prospects are going under the radar who are showing the potential to have significant breakthroughs and make meaningful contributions to the team in 2023. 

Those two are Cade Marlowe and Bryce Miller. Both Marlowe and Miller are fighting to make the Opening day roster. Despite being known prospects in Mariner's circles, their successes in Spring Training are being overlooked and overshadowed.

Cade Marlowe could break camp with the Mariners

Marlowe came into Spring Training with the potential to outplay other players on the fringe of making the Opening Day roster to find his own spot or even outplay Kelenic enough to platoon with A.J. Pollock during the season. 

However, the reason that his performance is overlooked is apparent. His competition in Kelenic is on an absolute tear. He has four HR and a 1.484 OPS and is going to be an Opening Day starter. 

That being said, Marlowe is not struggling in his time on the field. In his 16 at-bats in Spring Training, while admittedly a small sample size, he had two HR, four RBI, a stolen base and a 1.118 OPS. 

The elephant in the room is that he is currently nursing an oblique injury that could impact the beginning of his season. However, the 25-year-old's track record shows yearly improvement. In 2022, he had a .863 OPS in 447 AA at-bats and a .869 OPS in 52 AAA at-bats. 

He should start the 2023 campaign at the AAA level, but if he continues to have an OPS above .860, his bat will have a greater impact on the Mariners team poised to make another postseason run, one that will hopefully be deeper than their ALDS exit in 2022. 

Bryce Miller could break camp with the Mariners

Miller has the potential to crack the 2023 Opening Day roster in a relief role, depending on how the end of Spring Training pans out. In 5.0 spring innings, he has six strikeouts and a 0.80 WHIP. That sample size is not even a complete start, but it still is a positive showing against big league-level competition. Of note, A rating of 8.0 is AAA and 7.0 is AA. The level of competition Miller has faced so far in Spring is 7.7.

In 2022 he pitched his way through three levels, ending the season with AA Arkansas. In 50.2 innings there, he had a 3.20 ERA and 61 strikeouts to just 19 walks. His 1.05 WHIP was also impressive, showing that he has the ability to control the zone but also limit base hits. 

In 16.0 September AA innings last season, he limited his WHIP to just .81, a sign that his dominance can easily come in bunches. With how pitch counts are handled in the early stages of the season, it is tough to see what strides he will be able to make with a full offseason of work. 

Despite any potential hesitation from the Mariners, Miller is proving that he is ready to make meaningful contributions at the big league level and has the arm talent to do so. There will undoubtedly be growing pains once he cracks the MLB, but if the team is patient enough to stick with him, he has as much potential as anyone to be the biggest surprise of the 2023 season. 

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