’21 40-Man Preview Extravaganza

Jay Yencich · November 17, 2021 at 7:00 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Every year, perhaps, I characterize the prospective additions as not particularly thrilling to speculate upon. Whereas in past years, that might be partly due to in-season additions (shoutouts to Matt Brash, who has worn a Mariners uniform without debuting), this year, I would regard is largely attributable to minor league free agency clearing away a lot of fringe candidates. This is not to say that the team can’t re-sign whomever to a ML contract, but if they haven’t already, I don’t think it’s my place anymore to say that they might. It could be that we sign another team’s minor league FAs to MLB contracts! But otherwise, we’re looking at a smaller pool of internal candidates. One is absolutely a lock. A few others, but fewer than usual, you can make a case for.

To recap the rules, we’re looking at a Friday deadline to add college players from the 2018 draft (and before) and sub-nineteen (HS picks, J2 signings) from 2017. Some of those folks have not made particularly strong cases for themselves, so I won’t cover everyone, just the ones that seem like a big deal. We’re all busy. I’m busy. I thought about skipping this post, but why break with tradition? I’m still writing about more guys than you may get from other sources. AND THIS IS MY 400th POST HERE WOW.

OF Julio Rodriguez, R/R, 6’3”, 180 lbs, 12/29/00, Dominican Republic 2017
(AA) 46 G, 206 PA, 35 R, 63 H 11 2B, 7 HR, 26 RBI, 16 SB, 4 CS, 37/29 K/BB, .362/.461/.546
(A+) 28 G, 134 PA, 29 R, 38 H, 8 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 21 RBI, 5 SB, CS, 29/14 K/BB, .325/.410/.581
Pros: Maybe the #1 prospect in baseball, joyful but also motivated by spite
Cons: Small sample sizes this year because he was helping the DR medal

Yeah, I don’t know what to tell you about Julio at this point. It’s not exactly a question of whether he will be added given talent and proximity. To elaborate on the spite remark, apparently within the last few years, Julio got word of his “average” speed grade and how there were some who said “maybe he has to move to first, maybe he’s not an elite defender” and so he made a point of stealing twenty+ bases this year in about 75 games and is now talked about in the depth charts as possibly our best near-term CF option if it’s not Kelenic (“suited for LF” keeps coming up), Lewis (injuries), or Trammell (limited returns thus far and not at Julio’s talent level). The more viable centerfielders we have at present are at the lower levels, hence the consistent rumors linking us to the Pirates and Bryan Reynolds, but even at the level of being a stopgap option in CF, Julio would seem to have tremendous value.

RHP Devin Sweet, 5’11”, 185 lbs, 9/6/1996, NDFA 2018
(AA) 5-6, 25 G (13 GS), 3 SV, 4.74 ERA in 79.2 IP, 81 H (18 HR), 45 R (42 ER), 93/29 K/BB, 3 HB, 5 WP
Pros: Might have the system’s best change-up, stellar in relief, tops around 95 mph
Cons: DINGERS, reverse splits, maybe not a multi-inning option

Wanna see a dead fish? Here’s a dead fish. I think it’s neat. It’s really his go-to pitch, but he does throw 90-95 MPH with his fastball, which is functional if you’re throwing a change in the 70s. What I think would make the case for me, one way or the other, is if I had double-situational splits or a larger sample, and MiLB’s services appear to be down as I speak. To cover broader splits, he held LHB to a .177/.275/.333 line and RHB to a .298/.342/.486 line. It’s hard to find a spot in the MLB as a reverse-splits pitcher. However, a lot of that might be Sweet’s role as a starter early in the year, and as a starter, he had a .280/.353/.533 line against in 65.1 innings, whereas in relief, he had a .160/.189/.200 line against in 14.1 innings. It really depends on whether you believe he can be masterful as a relief pitcher.

LHP Raymond Kerr, 6’3”, 185 lbs, 9/10/1994, NDFA 2017
(AA) 2-1, 24 G, 3 SV, 2.83 ERA in 28.2 IP, 18 H (2 HR), 11 R (9 ER), 43/10 K/BB, 2 HB, WP
(AAA) 0-0, 12 G (GS), 2 SV, 4.09 ERA in 11.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 17/6 K/BB, HB, 5 WP
Pros: Uncommon FB velocity for a LH, many many Ks
Cons: Command still wonky, shift to shorter stints this year

Kerr was MIA from alt-site reps in 2020, but this year managed to make it to triple-A, although his season didn’t really start (for whatever reason) until June. A former two-way guy in community college, Kerr is exciting if you like dudes that can hit 100 mph from the left side and split his outs comfortably between Ks and grounders. He can also be less intentionally exciting in his propensity for allowing baserunners by other means than hits. To be fair, where he stood with his overall walks was better this year, dropping to 9.8% from 12.4% over the 2019 season, but any time you’re even approaching double-digits, that’s suboptimal. As for how he works against LHB, how do you like a .150/.235/.217 line against? Whether these particular strengths are worth a 40-man spot though may vary from team to team.

RHP Sam Carlson, 6’4”, 195 lbs, 12/3/1998, 2nd round 2017

(A-) 6-4, 19 G (19 GS), 4.77 ERA in 100.0 IP, 107 H (7 HR), 69 R (53 ER), 112/44 K/BB, 13 HB, 7 WP
Pros: Good draft pedigree, improved mental skills as a result of struggling through it
Cons: TJ, no real experience at higher levels, velocity has not rebounded fully

Carlson probably could have debuted post-TJ in 2020, but that wasn’t exactly a good year for anyone. Instead, he took a full season in Low-A Modesto where his magic number allegedly was 100 innings. As the year wore on, his velocity was reportedly consistent in the 93 mph fastball range, which is good, but the overall results were inconsistent. He allowed thirteen walks in May and sixteen walks in June, but that dropped to three apiece in the final two months. While his command in August was far better, he had a .352/.380/.473 line against. The hits-by-pitch and wild pitches remained evenly spread throughout the season, but it’s definitely more than you’d care to see in either category. Given that even at the triple-A level, the jump to the MLB this year proved particularly challenging for guys, I think that Carlson is safe for lack of experience and premium velocity along with injury history.

OF Alberto Rodriguez, L/L, 5’11”, 180 lbs, 10/6/00, Trade 2020
(A+) 93 G, 431 PA, 75 R, 109 H, 30 2B, 5 3B, 10 HR, 63 RBI, 13 SB, 7 CS, 95/51 K/BB, .295/.383/.484
Pros: Noelvi’s friend, latched onto the conditioning program and hard, left-handed
Cons: Took a minute to get there, all of seven games in high-A

With the acknowledgement of “yeah, it’s lazy to lump them together,” I’m basically going to do with Rodriguez and Carlson. The other A-Rod came over as the trade return for the Blue Jays getting Taijuan Walker for a minute and has been a pretty cool get, but like Carlson, he’s older, minus the major injury history. My comparison may be a bit lazy, but Rodriguez is not and really took to the high performance camp and conditioning regiment to help lose some of the excess weight that had pushed him into a corner. That’s not to say that I see him in CF any time soon, but rather there’s a tweener profile whereas before there wasn’t even that. If you want some numbers, then from June through August, he hit .319/.402/.529 over 316 plate appearances (272 at-bats). That’s very cool if he can do that outside of a hitter friendly league, but likely not enough to jump from low-A to the MLB.


5 Responses to “’21 40-Man Preview Extravaganza”

  1. Lailoken on November 17th, 2021 1:52 pm

    Pretty sure Julio does not need to be added to the 40-man since he debuted in professional ball the year after he signed. FWIW, I’d protect Kerr & consider Caballero interesting enough to consider a little bit.

  2. Stevemotivateir on November 17th, 2021 2:23 pm

    I’ve really wondered if Sweet and Kerr might get added, but the 40’s going to get tight if they bring in a few fielders, two starters and any relievers from elsewhere.

  3. Jay Yencich on November 17th, 2021 2:33 pm

    While that year’s J2 signings rarely see games unless they’re well beyond 17, organizations usually bring them to the facilities in the Dominican for orientation and conditioning, etc, so the debut year isn’t always a great indicator with them.

  4. bookbook on November 20th, 2021 9:26 am

    I would have protected Carlson (and, irrationally, Sweet). Partially because there are five or 6 guys on the 40-man with extremely limited value and no upside. Why protect those guys?

  5. 11records on November 22nd, 2021 11:03 am

    Always appreciate some JY content. Can’t say that I’ve read all 400, but I’ve read my fair share.

    100 more and you’re almost assured of the HOF. Unless you get caught juicing, or making other USS Mariner staff wash your back in the shower or some other weird sh*t.

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