Reasons For Future Bullpen Optimism
While most of the focus on the farm is on guys like Dustin Ackley, Michael Pineda, and Nick Franklin, there’s some other guys flying under the radar a bit who could be making an impact in Seattle sooner than you might think – the M’s have quietly put together a pretty nifty group of relief prospects, all of whom aren’t that far from the big leagues.
Josh Lueke, RHP (A/AA/AAA): 47 2/3 IP, 35 H, 13 R, 2 HR, 10 BB, 80 K
Anthony Varvaro, RHP (AA/AAA): 50 1/3 IP, 36 H, 19 R, 2 HR, 26 BB, 55 K
Dan Cortes, RHP (AA, relief only): 6 2/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 HR, 3 BB, 10 K
Edward Paredes, LHP (AA/AAA): 42 2/3 IP, 45 H, 20 R, 2 HR, 19 BB, 43 K
Brian Moran, LHP (A/A+): 54 2/3 IP, 48 H, 11 R, 0 HR, 7 BB, 65 K
The first four guys on that list are all mid-90s fastball guys, so the strikeouts aren’t from tricky deliveries or change-ups that won’t work in the majors. Cortes has had all kinds of commands problems as a starter, but since the move to the bullpen, he’s been pitching really well, and scouts have had him up to 98 out of the pen. Moran is the one that is not like the others – he’s a deceptive southpaw with a mid-80s fastball, but everything moves and his command is excellent. The stuff might not work in the big leagues, but he’s been getting people out for years (he was unhittable at UNC) with it, and so he deserves a shot.
Toss in guys who are currently starters but who a lot of people believe will end up as relievers long term (Mauricio Robles, Maikel Cleto, Stephen Hensley) and guys that showed some promise when they were healthy (Josh Fields, Nick Hill), and the Mariners are probably deeper in young bullpen arms than they’ve been in a while. I know it isn’t that much fun to look at a relief squad that includes guys like Chris Seddon, Garrett Olson, and Sean White, but there’s help on the way. Don’t be surprised if several of these guys are pushing for jobs next spring.