Which Mariners stood out in first week of spring training games?

Mar 3, 2024, 6:39 PM | Updated: 7:28 pm

Seattle Mariners Cade Marlowe...

Cade Marlowe of the Seattle Mariners at bat during a 2023 game. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

(Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners have hit their first day off since beginning Cactus League play at spring training in Arizona, and there has been no shortage of highlights.

Seattle Mariners Sunday Notebook: The good, the bad and the updates

But wait, aren’t the M’s 1-7-1 through nine games? Yes, unfortunately, and that does leave them as the last team looking for a second win this spring. Luckily the final scores don’t matter nearly as much right now as the individual results, especially since the games at this point have heavily featured players unlikely to see much time in the big leagues this season.

It’s the early days of spring training. The good is good, the bad is whatever, and make of that what you will.

With that disclaimer out the way, let’s take a look at who has impressed early on for the M’s in the desert.

The Seattle Mariners mainstays

Let’s start with pitching.

The videos from the first outings for starter Logan Gilbert and closer Andrés Muñoz are both worth checking out.

Early M’s spring training takeaways from Shannon Drayer

Gilbert, who is entering his fourth MLB season, struck out three over two innings last Wednesday against Kansas City, with a walk being his lone blemish over the 18-pitch appearance.

As for Muñoz, he needed all of eight pitches to retire the White Sox in an inning Thursday, allowing a hit but striking out two while touching triple-digits with his fastball and showing off a particularly sharp slider.

The best hitters among the more well-known Mariners so far have been catcher Cal Raleigh (2 for 4 with a home run and two walks) and Mitch Haniger (3 for 6 with a home run and a double). Click here for more on Haniger’s homer, and watch Raleigh’s below.

In the mix for playing time

Let’s stick with position players for now.

Third baseman Josh Rojas has been swinging a hot bat as well as impressing in the field. Rojas, who mainly played second base and had a .721 OPS in 46 games after coming to Seattle in July of last season, is 4 for 10 with two doubles, a homer, two walks and three RBIs.

Mariners manager Scott Servais told reporters Sunday that Rojas “is having a good camp” and noted that the team “played really well at third base” in Sunday’s loss to San Diego.

Speaking of third basemen, veteran Brian Anderson has done well since joining the team as a late minor league signing before camp. A 20-homer hitter for the Miami Marlins in 2019, the 30-year-old Anderson is 2 for 4 with a homer, a double and five RBIs.

In the outfield, Cade Marlowe is making an early push for a roster spot on opening day. A rookie who appeared in 34 games and had one of the biggest homers for the M’s last season, the 26-year-old Marlowe hit a blast Sunday off Padres starter Yu Darvish and is 4 for 13 with a double, a stolen base and four runs scored this spring.

He’s another player who garnered praise from Servais on Sunday.

“Cade Marlowe did some good things today offensively,” Servais said. “Obviously the home run off Darvish, but just good at-bats he continues to have.”

On the mound, 2020 first-round MLB Draft pick Emerson Hancock is in a similar spot to Marlowe. The Mariners have all five starters for their rotation set, but the 24-year-old Hancock has impressed in camp. Though his 2023 season ended due to injury after just three MLB appearances, he threw a completely clean two innings with three strikeouts Saturday against Oakland in which he needed just 12 pitches.

The Mariners are looking for arms to step up in a bullpen that no longer has Paul Sewald or Justin Topa, and Jackson Kowar has been the name most worth watching in that respect. A first-round pick by the Royals in 2018, the 27-year-old right-hander has struck out three over a pair of one-inning outings, and he’s still yet to allow a baserunner. Mariners insider Shannon Drayer of Seattle Sports has much more on Kowar, which you can read at the link here.

The future Mariners

Here’s where things get fun.

Dipoto breaks down Mariners’ top farm talent, who could debut in ’24

Somebody who Mariners fans could see at T-Mobile Park soon is Ryan Bliss, a 24-year-old infielder who was part of the same trade that brought Rojas to Seattle. Bliss is 5 for 11 with a double and a stolen base on two attempts, including a three-hit game against the Giants last Tuesday. Bliss had an .822 OPS in 47 games with Triple-A Tacoma following the trade last season.

Speedy outfielder Jonathan Clase is another prospect who has racked up a lot of early playing time, going 5 for 12 with two steals and making a nice sliding catch in center. The 21-year-old Clase played in the 2023 MLB All-Star Futures Game in Seattle (as did Bliss) and spent the majority of last season at the Double-A level.

Perhaps the most buzz from the past week has been around shortstop Cole Young, Seattle’s first-round selection in the 2022 MLB Draft. The lefty-swinging 20 year old has turned heads at every opportunity, whether it’s at the plate, on the basepaths or in the field. Having appeared in six games, Young is 5 for 12 with a double, a homer and five RBIs despite not yet having played higher than Single-A in the minors.

The only player in M’s camp with more hits than the previous three names is 23-year-old Tyler Locklear, a second-round pick by the Mariners in 2022. The first baseman and Virginia Commonwealth product is 6 for 14 with a pair of doubles.

An even more recent draft pick, Jonny Farmelo, is 2 for 4 with a triple. He was the second of Seattle’s three first-round selections in 2023.

As for pitchers, 25-year-old left-hander Reid VanScoter has thrown four scoreless innings with eight strikeouts, no walks and just two hits allowed. A fifth-round pick out of Coastal Carolina in 2022, he made his pro debut last season with 25 starts for High-A Everett.

The Mariners are off Monday but return to action Tuesday with split-squad games against Texas (home) and Cleveland (away). For details on how to hear every Seattle Mariners Radio Network broadcast live during spring training, click here.

More Mariners coverage from Seattle Sports

Why Mariners’ Julio Rodríguez-Ichiro connection is so valuable
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Morosi: New-look lineup can help Mariners avoid another slow start
Mitch Garver explains why he picked Mariners, adjusting to DH spot
France’s adjustments could mean he gets hit less, Seattle Mariners 1B says

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