SEATTLE MARINERS

ESPN insider breaks down projected Mariners first-round pick

Jun 20, 2024, 3:10 PM

Seattle Mariners 2023 MLB Draft...

The Seattle Mariners on the clock during the 2023 MLB Draft in Seattle. (Taylor Jacobs/Seattle Sports)

(Taylor Jacobs/Seattle Sports)

With July approaching, much of the baseball conversation is geared towards the trade deadline, especially for the first-place Seattle Mariners. But the month also features another important milestone of the season – the MLB Draft.

The MLB Draft takes place July 14-16, and Seattle holds the No. 15 pick in the first round.

ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel released his updated mock draft Tuesday, and he once again has the Mariners breaking a recent trend of picking high school bats by taking right-handed college pitcher Trey Yesavage from East Carolina. McDaniel recently spoke about Yesavage during a conversation with Curtis Rogers on Seattle Sports’ Extra Innings.

Fits the Mariners’ mold

Yesavage, a junior, was a first-team All-America selection by multiple publications and the American Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year with the Pirates this season. In 15 starts, he posted an 11-1 record with a 2.03 ERA, 145 strikeouts and 32 walks over 93 1/3 innings.

McDaniel has the right-hander ranked as his 11th overall prospect and likened his skill set to a couple of current standout Seattle hurlers the team used first-round picks on.

“He’s a durable guy that throws a lot of strikes,” McDaniel said. “I think he fits into that Logan Gilbert or George Kirby kind of mold, where he’s a guy that has command and three pitches, is a good athlete, performs, stays healthy, does all this stuff.”

The Mariners selected Gilbert No. 15 overall in 2018 and Kirby No. 20 the following year. Both were college pitchers like Yesavage. Gilbert made his debut three years after being drafted and has a 36-22 record with a 3.62 ERA in 103 career starts. Kirby also made his debut three years after being drafted and has a 27-20 record with a 3.41 ERA in 71 career starts.

“The thing they did with these two guys is they teased out a little more velocity, which Yesavage is 92 to 96 (mph),” McDaniel said. “He’ll throw his slider a whole lot, sometimes in the zone, which in college works. Maybe needs to be more of a chase pitch in pro ball.”

McDaniel noted that going No. 15 to the Mariners is viewed as Yesavage’s floor.

“The reason that I think he was seen as his floor being Seattle is because this is exactly the kind of guy that they have had success with (and) because there are no high school hitters that really makes sense at that pick,” McDaniel said. “So I think pitcher is sort of the way that they’re leaning because that’s sort of what’s available at 15 this year.”

Recent health scare

Yesavage’s draft stock took a bit of hit at the end of his college career at East Carolina due to a health issue that threatened to end his season as the Pirates were in the midst of AAC Tournament. The 20 year old was hospitalized for two days with a partially collapsed lung after he underwent dry needling, a procedure used to decrease muscle tightness and pain.

McDaniel said before that issue popped up that he wouldn’t have projected Yesavage to be available at No. 15.

“There was like a huge amount of sort of confusion about Yesavage’s health situation,” McDaniel said. “Why was he getting the procedure? How long will it take them to recover from the partially (collapsed) lung?”

The right-hander made a comeback just in time for East Carolina’s CWS regional game against Wake Forest and Chase Burns, who is considered one of the top of college pitching prospects in the draft. Yesavage outdueled Burns for the win, tossing 7 1/3 innings with six strikeouts and one run allowed on one hit and four walks.

“He pitched pretty well,” McDaniel said. “Velocity wasn’t quite at the same level, slider wasn’t quite as good as it had been, which is normal when the arm speed is down some. But then he pulled out a splitter that he hadn’t been throwing much at all this year, maybe less than 10%, and it became a go-to pitch.”

You can hear the full conversation with ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel in the podcast at this link or in the audio player near the top of this post. Catch Seattle Sports’ Extra Innings from 7-9 p.m. each weeknight during the Mariners season when the M’s have the day off from games, and click here for podcasts of every full show.

More on the Seattle Mariners

• ESPN’s Passan: Could Mariners win World Series with current roster?
• Mariners Insider: An unexpected move that may pay off for all involved
• Mariners’ Josh Rojas has elite ‘instincts,’ Gold Glove case at 3B
• Why Seattle Mariners should be eyeing a top-two seed in the AL
Has catching helped Mariners’ Mitch Garver hit? Pierzynski’s take

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