SEATTLE MARINERS

Mariners prospect earns promotion after he ‘destroyed’ Double-A

May 28, 2024, 12:05 PM

Seattle Mariners Tyler Locklear 2024...

Seattle Mariners prospect Tyler Locklear poses during photo day at 2024 spring training. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

One of the Seattle Mariners’ top hitting prospects is now just one step away from the majors.

After an impressive first seven weeks of the season at Double-A Arkansas, 23-year-old first baseman Tyler Locklear was promoted to Triple-A Tacoma on Monday. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound slugger is slated to make his Triple-A debut for the Rainiers on Tuesday night in Sacramento, according to Mariners general manager Justin Hollander.

Locklear, a second-round pick in the 2022 MLB Draft, slashed .291/.401/.532 with eight home runs, one triple, 12 doubles and a .933 OPS in 41 games at Double-A Arkansas this season. He sits near the top of the Texas League leaderboard in a handful of categories, ranking third in OPS, fourth in slugging percentage, seventh in on-base percentage, ninth in batting average and tied for sixth in homers. He put up those numbers despite playing in a spacious Arkansas ballpark that’s notoriously difficult for hitters.

Related: Is it time Mariners call up hot-hitting prospect from Double-A?

“What he’s done is just dominate a level that’s really hard for right-handed hitters to go dominate,” Hollander said while providing updates to the media before Monday’s Mariners game. “That ballpark in Arkansas is a tough place to hit, especially for right-handed hitters, and he’s gone out and destroyed that environment. … It stands out for a right-handed power hitter to do that.”

Locklear recently cracked Baseball America’s Top 100 as the No. 96 overall prospect in baseball. Baseball America ranks him as the No. 5 prospect in the Mariners’ farm system, while MLB.com tabs him as Seattle’s No. 8 prospect.

Locklear has a strong track record of production. As a redshirt sophomore at Virginia Commonwealth in 2022, he hit a school-record 20 homers and ranked fourth in NCAA Division I with a 1.342 OPS. Over his three pro seasons, he has a .288/.396/.510 slash line with 28 homers and a .907 OPS in 157 games. He also had an impressive showing in MLB spring training this March, hitting .320 with one homer and three doubles in 25 at-bats.

Just about the only thing that’s slowed Locklear was a hit by pitch last season that broke a bone in his hand and sidelined him for two months. Shortly after returning from the injury, he earned an Aug. 23 promotion to Double-A Arkansas. Between last year and this year, he played 63 games at the Double-A level.

“We don’t set artificial numbers on number of at-bats a player needs or number of plate appearances they need to have at a certain level,” Hollander said. “It’s about: Are they doing the things we value? Are they hitting their developmental goals? And he did all those and then some at Double-A. So we just felt collectively … that he had checked all the boxes in Double-A.”

Locklear is expected to make his Triple-A debut when the Rainiers open a six-game series at the Sacramento Rivercats at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday. As for the Mariners, they will play the second of four games at home against the Houston Astros at 6:40 p.m. Tuesday, with radio coverage on Seattle Sports beginning at 5:30 p.m. with the pregame show. For details on how to stream Mariners Radio Network broadcasts from Seattle Sports, click here.

More on the Seattle Mariners

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• Mariners place Polanco on IL, call up prospect Ryan Bliss for debut
• Morosi: It’s ‘exactly the right time’ for Mariners to go all-in on trades
Drayer: How Mariners are trying to find more consistency at plate
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