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Report: Mariners pitching prospect Logan Gilbert likely to debut Thursday

Mariners RHP Logan Gilbert is expected to make his MLB debut on Thursday. (Getty)

There is a lot of buzz surrounding the Mariners’ game on Thursday against the Cleveland Indians as it’s been reported that top prospect Jarred Kelenic will be in the lineup and in the outfield for the first time. Apparently, he won’t be alone in making his MLB debut that day.

Brock & Salk: What the debut of Kelenic signifies for Mariners

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Mariners not only will have Kelenic on Thursday, but they are bringing up right-handed pitcher Logan Gilbert, the team’s 2018 first-round pick, to make his first MLB start.

A source confirmed Passan’s report to 710 ESPN Seattle Mariners insider Shannon Drayer.

Kelenic and fellow outfielder Julio Rodriguez get a lot of attention in terms of the Mariners’ loaded farm system as those two are consensus top-five prospects in all of baseball, but Gilbert, 24, is one of the top young arms in the game.

According to MLB Pipeline’s rankings, Gilbert is the team’s No. 4 overall prospect behind Kelenic, Rodriguez and 2020 first-round pitcher Emerson Hancock. Gilbert is MLB Pipeline’s No. 28 overall prospect and is the site’s seventh-ranked right-handed pitcher and 10th-ranked pitcher overall.

The Mariners selected Gilbert with the 14th overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft just a few spots after the New York Mets took Kelenic with the sixth overall pick.

Gilbert was a standout pitcher at Stetson University, which produced Cy Young winners Jacob deGrom and Corey Kluber. Gilbert, though, is the highest-drafted player in the school’s history.

It’s easy to see why the Mariners, and now the prospect community, have been so high on Gilbert.

He’s a big man at 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds with long arms and legs that allow him to really get down the mound. Gilbert has four pitches, led by his fastball, which sits in the mid-90s. He has two distinct breaking balls with both a hard slider and a more traditional curveball, and he also throws a changeup which MLB Pipeline grades out as above-average.

Gilbert didn’t pitch professionally in 2018, but in his first professional season in 2019, he was dominant. In 26 starts between Single-A, High-A and Double-A, Gilbert went 10-5 with a 2.13 ERA and 165 strikeouts to 33 walks in 135 innings.

Gilbert spent the 2020 season at Seattle’s alternate training site in Tacoma due to there being no Minor League Baseball season, and he started 2021 in Triple-A, making just one start. But that start was dominant, as Gilbert threw five innings of one-run ball and struck out five while walking none. He allowed just four hits total.

The Mariners have been hit hard by injuries in the rotation this season. Staff ace Marco Gonzales currently sidelined with a forearm strain, James Paxton threw only 24 pitches in his first start before getting injured and needing Tommy John surgery, Nick Margevicius is on the injured list with shoulder inflammation and Ljay Newsome is expected to miss time with an elbow injury.

Gilbert will join Yusei Kikuchi, Justin Dunn, Chris Flexen and Justus Sheffield as five of the six members of Seattle’s current six-man starting rotation. The Mariners have also been using “bullpen days” in order to stick with the six-member rotation this year.

If you want to see just how big of a deal Gilbert’s debut is, here’s the reaction to Passan’s report from 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy.

Follow Brandon Gustafson on Twitter.

Drayer: Timing of Kelenic’s MLB debut fits well for both him and M’s

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