Jerry makes another trade that benefits both teams. Isn’t he nice?
Today reports surfaced that the Mariners have acquired Chris Heston from the San Francisco Giants in return for the ubiquitous Player to Be Named Later. In 2015, Heston represented another one of the Giants’ gold-strikes, à la Matt Duffy: an unheralded prospect who emerged from seemingly nowhere to put up good numbers, including a no-hitter (with the unfortunate hashtag #HestoPresto). Things came crashing down in 2016, however, when the Giants attempted to move him to the pen with poor results, and he was optioned to AAA, where he struggled to put up numbers mirroring his 2015 performance, and spent most of the year on the DL with an oblique strain.
But there’s a lot to like about Heston, dreadful 2016 aside. He’s a young 28, having only completed one full season in the majors. Although he doesn’t have the fire emoji velocity, he’s a groundball pitcher with a good sinker who throws down in the zone with an ERA that’s pretty close to his FIP, both around 4. His K% in 2015 of 18.6% and BB% of 8.9% are both in line with his career average in the minors, much more than the inflated numbers he put up last year. Heston represents an excellent buy-low candidate for the pile acquired at a theoretically minimal cost. The Giants needed to create space on the roster after backing up the Brinks truck to Mark Melancon’s door, and Heston was a good candidate to be DFA’d. This way, the Giants get a little something back for Heston, and the Mariners get to jump all the other teams on waivers for minimal cost.
And hey, he’s had success before. Maybe lightning can strike twice:
It’s the most trading-ful time of the year!
Chris Sale is now a Red Sock. Mark Melancon is now a Giant. And Jerry Dipoto hasn’t made a move in three days (!!!).
Despite all of these surprises in the Baseball World, there is one thing that never changes: Lookout Landing wants to hear from you, in our oh-so-cleverly-named MaiLLbag. You know the drill: Submit your questions in comments below, or on Twitter/Facebook (#maiLLbag), and we’ll do our best to get back to you.
And please keep in mind: if your question wasn’t answered in previous MaiLLbags, it’s still floating around and it could easily be answered this week or in the future. Never give up! Never surrender! (Yes, that’s a Galaxy Quest reference. Yes, it was an incredible movie. Good luck finding a power hitter as powerful as the Omega-13 weapon, Jerry.)
2016-12-06T11:00:02-08:00A look at some of the starting pitching prospects in the system We’re nearing the end of the position-by-position breakdowns for State of the Farm. This week, I’ll be taking a look at all of the starting pitching prospects in the organization and how close they are to getting to Seattle. As you’ve probably come to expect by now, the list isn’t filled with sexy names or Top-100 prospects or guys with exploding breaking balls and 100 mph fastballs, but there are some nice pieces to be found. Here are the bigger names in the group: Some notes on this chart: For each player, I used the stats from their highest level, meaning most of the lines above are not representative of the entirety of their season. Some players on this list, such as Ryan Yarbrough and Brandon Miller, spent their whole season at one level, however. This isn’t an all-inclusive list. There’s a few more guys you could argue deserve a mention, but I wanted to limit the list to fifteen guys to avoid a gigantic cluster of names being chucked at your eyes. On we go. MLB-Ready Group Rob Whalen? Ariel Miranda? I’m not totally comfortable pointing to anyone on this list and declaring they should immediately be inserted into the Mariners’ rotation. Rob Whalen has the best argument after putting up a 4.77 xFIP in 24.2 innings with the Atlanta Braves in 2016, but I’d like to see him develop his changeup a bit more to give him a third respectable pitch. As it stands, he’s a fastball/slider-heavy pitcher who is capable of pounding the zone. He has a curveball that he’ll throw once in a blue moon, but the changeup will typically be the pitch he mixes in to keep hitters guessing. You could also lump Ariel Miranda in this group if you want to consider the 27-year-old Miranda a prospect. Miranda flashed signs of being a somewhat dependable arm last year, but the 5.06 xFIP and .222 BABIP, amongst other things, would make anyone hesitate before penciling him into any rotation. On the Horizon Max Povse, Andrew Moore, Ryan Yarbrough, Dylan Unsworth This group is a pretty hefty one. The first name that comes to mind here is Andrew Moore, the Mariners’ second-round pick out of Oregon State back in 2015. Moore’s polish, command, and makeup have helped him shoot through the Mariners’ system, taking him from Corvallis, OR to a legitimate name being tossed around for potential 2017 rotation piece in just eighteen months. I would prefer Moore gets one more year to truly finish polishing off his secondary stuff before he’s called upon by the Mariners, but he’s fairly close to being MLB-ready. He lacks a true strikeout pitch, with his curveball being the closest thing to one when it’s working and his slider being average, at best. He’ll rely heavily on his fastball/changeup combination, which is very good, but he’ll struggle to miss bats against major league hitters. I still have his ceiling penciled in as a No. 4/5 guy. Ryan Yarbrough is another one who could be nearing Seattle, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see him settle in as a bullpen piece in the future. He throws a low-90s fastball and a slider that seems to get better every year. The command is fine and he was quietly the most consistent starter in the Generals’ rotation last year. Could see him eventually taking on a Mike Montgomery-type role for Seattle in 2018. Recently acquired Max Povse, who I admittedly am still learning about, also appears to be getting fairly close. From what I’ve seen, he makes the most of his 6’8 frame, using the Chris Young approach of dropping a hammer out of the sky to offset any shortcomings his fastball may have. In addition, his love for throwing strikes and a stellar changeup to go along with it makes him intriguing as a back of the rotation option in the near future. If he continues his dominance of the minor leagues, I expect him in Seattle sooner rather than later. Unsworth may also be another guy who pops up in the near future. After re-signing with the[...]
Edwin Diaz debuts with wood and oil
On Day 6 of our humble, little calendar, we turn our eyes to a moment from the past season which likely spurned many future moments. Today, we celebrate the debut of Edwin Diaz.
When news first broke that Edwin Diaz, one of the Mariners' few viable starting pitcher prospects, was going to be turned into a reliever people were decidedly not pleased. Ethan covered the change and echoed the dismay of many but, to his credit, also admitted that "there is a very legitimate chance he could be that crazy exciting reliever in the Mariners' bullpen by the end of the summer." Little did anyone expect that this lanky 21-year-old Puerto Rican would end the 2016 season worth 1.9 fWAR and with a 15.33 K/9 in 51.2 innings.
Diaz's debut itself is unsurprising in hindsight, given the consistency with which he attacked each batter he faced this season, and his name only appeared at the end of the recap, tucked next to an asterisk (though it is worth noting that said mention was accompanied by the creative adjective "awesamazcrizazzlefantasticosuperduperpants"- one guess who wrote that recap). We had no clue that on a calm, Monday night against Cleveland, Scott Servais had awoken a sleeping giant.
There are very few debuts I remember in M's history. I remember Yuni's triple, Ackley's single, I was there for Chris Taylor and Brad Miller and Rafael Soriano. Besides probably Ackley, though, I cannot remember a more exciting moment for a prospect's debut. When Edwin Diaz toed the rubber, he did so with fire and flame.
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It was ancient magic. It was a young man with hell in his heart and flame in his arm. Edwin Diaz was born in front of us all that night. All we could do was stand in awe and clap.