Most of the Mariners' high-end talent is in High-A Everett and below, but that doesn't mean the upper minors lack intriguing prospects. According to Major League Baseball Pipeline, Tyler Locklear, Seattle's 11th-rated prospect, fits into that category of Arkansas and above. The 23-year-old first baseman had a spectacular 2023 in which he spanned two levels of the system and capped the season in the Arizona Fall League.
That performance has the athletic corner infielder rising in MLB Pipeline's positional rankings. Last season, Locklear was a virtual unknown in prospect circles; now, he is the 5th-best first baseman in Minor League Baseball.
We took a deep dive into the former 2nd-round pick's skill set in our SoDo Mojo Prospect Ranking Series earlier this offseason. However, to summarize Locklear's game, he offers traditional pop from a power position but also hits for a high average by subscribing to the organizational "dominate the zone" philosophy. Those skills and positional flexibility to play both corners have the Mariner's front office high on the former Virginia Commonwealth University star. General Manager Justin Hollander went as far as to place a late 2024 timeline on Locklear last week on the Seattle Sports 710, Hot Stove Show.
Locklear joins Harry Ford (#4 catcher) and Colt Emerson (most underrated) as prospects recognized by MLB Pipeline this offseason. Jonathan Mayo and MLB Pipeline will continue its positional series through next Thursday and cap it off with the 2024 Top 100 list. There's a slight chance he could sneak onto that list as well.