BROCK AND SALK

The Seattle Mariners’ next Bryan Woo — only better?

Jun 7, 2024, 11:59 AM

Seattle Mariners Bryan Woo...

Fans cheer as Bryan Woo of the Seattle Mariners pitches on Sept. 29, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Bryan Woo has been one of the best pitchers in baseball since returning to the Seattle Mariners from injury last month, making it easy to forget how he was relatively unknown around this time a year ago.

How Mariners starter Bryan Woo’s fastballs are so effective

The 24-year-old Woo has made six starts this season, and he’s running an impressive 1.07 ERA, 0.53 WHIP, and 24 strikeouts to just two walks. He was essentially off the radar until around spring training 2023, as he was a 2021 sixth-round MLB Draft pick who appeared in all of 28 games in the minor leagues after his college career at Cal Poly.

If this is starting to sound like another pitcher in the Mariners system who has been getting attention this year, that’s because it kinda does.

Like Woo before him, 23-year-old right-hander Logan Evans was a later-round pick by the Mariners who has suddenly vaulted up prospect rankings.

Evans’ emergence has been even more drastic, both in terms of draft position and timing. Evans was a 12th-round pick out of Pittsburgh last summer by Seattle, and he just switched to a bullpen role for Double-A Arkansas this week with the idea he could be fast tracked to the big leagues. While he’s following the footsteps of Matt Brash and Edwin Díaz as pitchers who converted midseason from starting to relieving, it sounds like Evans’ future could still be as a starter even if he pitches out of the ‘pen this year for Seattle.

‘Bryan Woo Pt. II’

Senior baseball writer Keith Law of The Athletic is one of the more prominent prospect insiders in the game, and he was asked Thursday on Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk about Evans. As he was sharing his thoughts, host Mike Salk then referred to Evans as “Bryan Woo Pt. II.”

Law’s response?

“Better, actually. You know, comparing the two at about the same stage, I would put Evans over Woo, and Woo obviously has worked out fantastically,” he said.

In the words of Nicolas Cage, that’s high praise. And there was more to come from Law, specifically for the Mariners’ scouting department considering Evans had a career 6.78 ERA in college.

“Evans is probably the closest (Mariners prospect to an MLB promotion), and I mean what a job,” Law said. “For folks who don’t know him, I encourage you go look at his Baseball Reference page and look at his performance in college. I think he had a 7 ERA. They took him in the (12th) round and he is a legit mid-rotation starter prospect. I saw him in spring training. It’s like, how how does that happen? I mean, it’s a great job of their area scout.”

Listen to the full Brock and Salk conversation with MLB insider Keith Law of The Athletic 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.

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The Seattle Mariners’ next Bryan Woo — only better?