SEATTLE MARINERS

Why rising Mariners prospect Logan Evans needs to be on your radar

May 24, 2024, 1:52 PM

Mariners general bucket opening day...

A general view before a 2022 game between the Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Logan Evans is a name in the Seattle Mariners’ farm system that is garnering a lot of buzz this year, and one that M’s fans should keep a close eye on.

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One reason for that is because of his numbers. At Double-A Arkansas, Evans has started nine games in 2023, posting a 4-2 record with a 1.39 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 41 strikeouts to 14 walks over 45 1/3 innings.

Another reason is how Evans has seemingly come out of nowhere. He was a 12th-round MLB Draft pick, so there’s been a healthy amount of surprise about the hype he’s started to receive.

And then there’s the fact that all of this has happened so fast. Evans wasn’t just a 12th-round pick – he was a 12th-round pick last year. That means the speculation that he could make his MLB debut this season is coming roughly a year after he threw his last pitch for the University of Pittsburgh, where he had a career 6.77 ERA.

Evans, who will turn 23 next month, has been stellar as a starter with the Travelers. Five of his nine outings have come with no earned runs allowed, including Wednesday when he threw six shutout innings on four hits and no walks with eight strikeouts against the Corpus Christi Hooks, an affiliate of the Houston Astros.

Bound for the bullpen?

The thing about the possibility of Evans joining the Mariners this year is it’s pretty unlikely as a starting pitcher. Seattle has a strong five-man rotation right now in Luis Castillo, George Kirby, Logan Gilbert, Bryce Miller and Bryan Woo, and the next man up would probably be Emerson Hancock, who is with Triple-A Tacoma right now after making seven starts earlier this season for Seattle while Woo was on the injured list.

“We know that (the Mariners) have no hesitation to bring up young guys from Double-A straight to the bigs,” Mike Salk said Friday on Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk in a conversation with Mariners insider Shannon Drayer. “And from everything I’ve heard, it’s not just that (Evans) is putting up good numbers, it’s coming with all of the under the hood kind of stuff that they look for. Could he be too far away?”

Drayer wondered about what the Mariners intend to do with Evans because he has not started to pitch out of the bullpen yet, which is what Seattle has done in the past. Both Edwin Díaz and Matt Brash were starters who converted in the minor leagues to relief roles before they were added to Seattle’s bullpen.

“We know that they do not hesitate to bring pitchers up from Double-A, but this would be a departure if Logan Evans was coming up to pitch out of the ‘pen,” Drayer said. “They convert them, they don’t just bring them up and put them in the ‘pen. So that would be a process. We would have to see him all the sudden taken out of the (starting rotation) in the minor leagues and start getting a decent number of games under his belt as a reliever before they bring him up. So we have not really seen the indicator, unless they are going to do something that they haven’t done before.”

So what might that suggest?

“To me, it might be, well, if they’re thinking about if there’s a big move available at the (MLB trade) deadline, you don’t take him out of that (starter) role. You’re going to want to be able to trade him as a starter, and everybody is always on the table in those situations,” Drayer said. “… I could be completely off that that’s one of the reasons why we haven’t seen (Evans convert to the bullpen) yet, but I do know that they would be comfortable having him pitch as a reliever.”

Both Díaz and Brash remained relievers after they converted, and there’s some belief it’s hard for pitchers to go back to starting roles after making the transition. In the case of Evans, though, Drayer thinks he could be better suited than others to eventually go back to starting should he move to the bullpen this year.

“I do think it would be more of a temporary thing where they could convert him back the next year back to a starter,” she said, “but I don’t think they would hesitate if that need was there. … If Logan Evans is truly on a path to be a starter right now and they think his stuff as a starter will play at the big leagues, I think that would be an easier conversion back.”

Listen to the full Brock and Salk conversation with Mariners insider Shannon Drayer of Seattle Sports in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post. Catch Brock and Salk from 6-10 a.m. weekdays on Seattle Sports 710 AM, the Seattle Sports app and SeattleSports.com.

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