Bump: Mariners moving top prospect to ‘pen is ‘move I trust’

Jun 5, 2024, 7:16 PM | Updated: Jun 6, 2024, 4:02 pm

Seattle Mariners base general...

(Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

(Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners could be getting bullpen help from within their organization later this season.

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

According to Adam Jude of The Seattle Times, the Mariners are planning to convert top pitching prospect Logan Evans to a reliever and “fast-track” him to Seattle’s bullpen, perhaps even by the All-Star break. Mariners insider Shannon Drayer reported that the organization ultimately views Evans as a starter and that a move to the bullpen would be temporary.

The 23-year-old Evans began the process with a two-inning relief appearance at Double-A Arkansas on Tuesday night, which marked the first time in his brief pro career that he’s pitched out of the bullpen.

Given the Mariners’ strong track record of developing pitching talent in recent years, Michael Bumpus said Wednesday on Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy that he likes the move.

“This type of move I trust the most when it comes to this organization,” Bumpus said. “You see something in this kid (and) you see a need in that bullpen. If you feel like he is ready, … go ahead and do your process, because your process when it comes to developing arms and putting them in the right situation has worked out so far for them.”

Mariners Bullpen: Andrés Muñoz update, new plan for prospect Evans

Evans, a 12th-round draft pick last summer, has been the latest revelation in a Mariners pitching pipeline that’s been filled with success stories.

The 6-foot-4 right-hander had an underwhelming college career at the University of Pittsburgh, but has added significant velocity since entering the system. He was touching 99 mph in spring training and his six-pitch mix includes a nasty sweeper that has massive horizontal break.

Evans has dominated at Arkansas this season, posting a Texas League-leading 1.18 ERA and a league-best 0.97 WHIP with 48 strikeouts and 16 walks in 53 1/3 innings. On Wednesday, he was named the Texas League pitcher of the month for May.

It’s happened before

This wouldn’t be the first time the Mariners have converted a young pitcher from a starter to a reliever.

In 2016, Edwin Díaz began the season as a starter in Double-A before making the change. After a month in the bullpen at Double-A, Díaz made his MLB debut as a reliever and developed into one of the game’s best closers.

In 2022, Matt Brash beat George Kirby in spring training for the Mariners’ No. 5 rotation spot. But after struggling as a starter over his first month in the majors, Brash was sent down to Triple-A Tacoma to transition to the bullpen. After two months in Tacoma, Brash rejoined the Mariners as a reliever and became a dominant force in their bullpen.

Evans could potentially fill a need for Seattle, which could use bullpen help after being hit hard by injuries this year.

The hard-throwing Brash is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Gregory Santos, another high-leverage reliever, is sidelined with a lat strain until at least July. This past weekend, Gabe Speier landed on the 15-day injured list with a left rotator cuff strain. And on Tuesday night, talented closer Andrés Muñoz exited the game in the ninth inning after a collision at home plate on a wild pitch. Drayer reported that Muñoz also has been dealing with a lower-back issue for the past couple of weeks.

“Last night, you’re reminded, what if Muñoz does go down?” Bumpus said. “What if Santos doesn’t come back and isn’t the guy that they hope he is? You’re gonna need some help, so I like the move. If they think he’s ready, go ahead and do it.”

Listen to the full conversation at this link or in the player near the top of this post. Bump and Stacy airs live from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays on Seattle Sports.

Mariners coverage from Seattle Sports

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