Mariners notebook: RHP prospect Justin Dunn convincing Scott Servais he’s a starter
— ROOT SPORTS™ | NW (@ROOTSPORTS_NW) February 23, 2019
PEORIA, Ariz. – Justin Dunn is opening eyes and changing opinions in Mariners camp.
When the right-handed pitching prospect was acquired from the Mets as part of the Robinson Canó-Edwin Díaz trade, there were some in the organization – manager Scott Servais included – who thought his ultimate landing spot in the big leagues would be the bullpen. Having not pitched above Double-A and with an enticing fastball-slider combo, there was some thought that the Mariners could ‘Diaz’ Dunn, converting him to closer at Double-A and perhaps speed his path to the bigs.
It is funny what can happen sometimes when you take a player from paper and film and get him in front of you.
“I definitely think he is a starter,” Servais said Friday morning after Dunn pitched two scoreless innings against the White Sox the previous day. “Before I had laid eyes on him, get around him every day, maybe this guy could be a bullpen guy down the road. He’s definitely a starter, he has that kind of makeup. How he looks at the game, I can see him as one of those guys who really enjoys the preparation of starting every five days.”
Dunn has appeared in two games this spring, giving up just one hit in three innings while striking out two and not walking anybody. Ridiculously small sample size, but in the brief glimpses the velocity has been there and the breaking ball sharp. His changeup is a work in progress and will be necessary as a starter, but the early reports have been good on his third pitch.
“He’s getting comfortable using the changeup,” said Servais. “Fastball-slider combination is really good, it will continue to get better as location and consistency of location continues to improve, but the changeup, the consistency of the changeup is something he can continue to work on.”
The 23-year-old Dunn will most likely start the season at Double-A but has the appearance of someone who could move up the system quickly. Eliminating the question of what role he will fill will no doubt help smooth the process. To that end, as a starter, they are looking for a change of mindset, as well.
“You are a power pitcher,” Servais told him. “Go after the hitters, attack the hitters. That’s exactly what we saw (Thursday). No fear, here’s my stuff. Go ahead and try to hit it. See what happens from there. With that mentality, because he has that kind of ability, the results are going to be pretty good.”
B-game vs. NC Dinos (Korea)
Shed Long, 3B
Kyle Lewis, RF
Omar Narváez, C
Daniel Vogelbach, 1B
Ryon Healy, DH
Eric Filia, LF
Kristopher Negrón, SS
Braden Bishop, CF
Tim Lopes, 2B
Wade LeBlanc, LHP
Posted game pitchers: Cory Gearrin, Tyler Danish, Nabil Crismatt, Jorgan Cavaneiro.
A-game vs. Brewers
Dee Gordon, 2B
Mitch Haniger, CF
Jay Bruce, 1B
Edwin Encarnación, DH
Kyle Seager, 3B
Domingo Santana, LF
Tim Beckham, SS
Jose Lobaton, C
Justus Sheffield, LHP
Posted game pitchers: Tommy Milone, Dan Altavilla, Shawn Armstrong, Tayler Scott, Nick Rumbelow, Matt Tenuta.
• While they are not in the starting lineup, teenage outfield prospects Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez are expected to see action in the B-game.
• Shed Long is starting at third base in the B-game but we could see him shift over to shortstop, a position where he does not have much experience, at some point during the game.