Dipoto: Kelenic, Raleigh and top arms closing in on Mariners promotions
Jul 5, 2021, 12:34 AM
Due to the play of his team of late, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has spent a lot of time talking about the present as well as upcoming plans for the trade deadline and offseason.
The Mariners still boast one of the top farm systems in baseball, though, and that’s obviously something that Dipoto is also very excited about.
During an interview Friday with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy, Dipoto shared updates on many of Seattle’s top-ranked prospects, including some interesting thoughts a few of the organization’s best young pitchers.
Let’s take a close look at what he had to say.
Kelenic back on track
Let’s start with what Dipoto had to say about Seattle’s No. 1 prospect, outfielder Jarred Kelenic, who is with Triple-A Tacoma after a rocky start to his MLB career in May and June.
“He’s doing quite well. He’s actually lighting it up,” Dipoto said.
Kelenic, who has a .299/.373/.598 slash line with nine home runs in 28 games with the Rainiers this season, will be one of three Mariners prospects playing in the MLB Futures Game next Sunday in Denver, marking his second trip to the annual showcase during All-Star week.
Launched by Jarred Kelenic.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 4, 2021
“Obviously being selected to the Futures Game is an honor and we’re happy for him and Emerson (Hancock) and Julio Rodríguez,” Dipoto said. “(Kelenic) is now doing the things again that he was doing in the spring and was doing in the co-op league and was doing in that first week in Tacoma that I think he got away from when he was here in Seattle, and it took him a little while to find his footing when he got back to Tacoma.”
So when could we see Kelenic back in a Mariners uniform?
“I don’t think it will be very long before you see him again,” Dipoto said. “We know part of what we’re doing this year, our success or failure in moving ahead as a team is going to be defined by how good of a job we do in developing this young foundation of players. That’s such a big part of that.”
Backstop of the future
Kelenic isn’t the only member of the Triple-A roster close to getting an MLB callup. Catcher Cal Raleigh, who has a .319/.376.596 slash with eight homers, 20 doubles and a triple with Tacoma, continues to make a case to get the call from the Mariners.
“In the case of Jarred or even (catcher Cal Raleigh), you’ll probably see them up sooner than later,” Dipoto said. “… At the end of the day, when those players join the guys that are out here and are already starting to click and you see them roll and we get them their 200-400 plate appearances as we head into 2022, that’s one less question we have to answer (when asking) who’s ready and who’s not ready?”
The Mariners’ promising pitchers
Now, let’s talk arms.
Kelenic and Raleigh get a lot of attention from fans because they’re on the MLB doorstep, and Julio Rodríguez as a top-five prospect gets discussed a lot as well, but the Mariners have a lot of talented pitchers in their farm system. Dipoto shared plenty of praise when discussing four arms in particular.
“I’ll use George Kirby and Emerson Hancock as two of multiple,” Dipoto said. “We (also) think (very highly of) Matt Brash and Brandon Williamson. We have a group of pitchers that are coming and we feel like they’re coming pretty quickly. Those (four) just happen to be the most advanced of them.”
The Mariners are having some good success with pitchers who will be key players the rest of this year and in 2022, such as All-Star Yusei Kikuchi, rookie Logan Gilbert and offseason signing Chris Flexen, but the four arms Dipoto mentioned may not be too far away from their MLB call-ups.
“When that next group comes – and it could be as early for some of them as September – but minimally, I think all the guys we just mentioned are likely to wind up in the discussion for us by early 2022, which is pretty exciting,” Dipoto said.
— Mariners Player Development (@MsPlayerDev) May 9, 2021
That’s especially true for two of those four pitchers.
“Now Williamson has already moved to Double-A, and this is the way I’ve always phrased it: Once you move to Double-A, you’re a phone call away (from an MLB call-up),” Dipoto said. ” … We’re not afraid to just call you from Little Rock to Seattle. Once you get to Double-A, now you are in the mix for one of those (MLB roster) spots. Brandon’s there (in Double-A), I think George is not going to be far behind, and once the others get more pro experience under their belts, they’re just so advanced and the stuff is so good that they’ll move pretty quickly.”
Listen to Dipoto’s interview with Jake and Stacy at this link or in the player below.