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Mariners claim former first-round pick




Time to read: 3 minutes

The Seattle Mariners reclaimed right-hander JB Bukauskas from waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier this week. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, Seattle’s DFA minor league outfielder Alberto Rodriguez. Bukauskas was drafted with the 15th pick in the 2017 draft by the Houston Astros. He was acquired by the D-Backs in the deal that sent Zack Greinke to the Astros.

The top prospect’s shine has faded from right, but there’s a non-zero chance that the potential scouts saw in him in college is still there. At one point he was considered one of the Astros’ top prospects, and MLB Pipeline even had him ahead of Yordan Alvarez in 2018. While things have changed significantly for both players since that ranking, the Mariners will take a low-risk bet. and high reward on a pitcher who could have the tools to improve, and the Mariners’ player development could help him get there.

Jason A. Churchill made some comments about Bukauskas on Twitter.

“He’s a good arm, up to 97 in short periods, heavy use of the average slider and a changeup that was projected to be an advantage, particularly when he was seen as a potential starter and was getting big innings.

“The general consensus is that he’s a better fit as a middle reliever, where his fastball could sit between 95 and 98 and his slider and changeup could work, mainly the slider that produces a high percentage of hits.”

“Like several of the club’s relievers in recent years, Bukauskas is a bit reminiscent of Austin Adams…”

“It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Mariners see him only as a reliever, but the fact that he once had a potentially positive turnaround intrigues me beyond a 1-2 inning season.”

It’s not impossible for him to be someone who throws out of the Mariners’ bullpen and eats some of the middle innings in 2023. Most likely, he’ll compete in spring training for a roster spot with some of the other middle relievers in the 40. list of men like Trevor Gott, Easton McGee, Gabe Speier, Justin Topa and others. Based on the Mariners’ previous success with waiver claims, he could come as a surprise to many Mariners fans in 2023.


Mariners International Free Agency Transfers

The Mariners made several international free agent signings official this week; most notably, adding 17-year-old shortstop Felnin Celesten to his farm system. He was considered by many to be one of the best prospects in this year’s IFA class, and the switch-hitting 17-year-old is one of the most hyped Dominican prospects of the past decade. Jason A. Churchill wrote about the breakthrough the system brought with the addition of Celesten and others. Click here to read more about two of the most exciting arms the club has signed as well.


Mariners Draft

For this week’s Mariners Draft, the college hitter series continues with Virginia Tech outfielder Jack Hurley. Hurley is a 6-foot left-handed hitter who slashed .375/.452/.664 in 58 games for the Hokies in 2022. He also hit 14 home runs and stole 10 bags. Jonathan Mayo discussed Hurley’s potential to be a five-tool player in a video showing his swing.

Prospects Live has him ranked as the 19th-best prospect in the upcoming 2023 draft, and he would be a type of player the Mariners haven’t drafted in the first round for a while, a college hitter. The last time they took a college hitter was when they took Kyle Lewis and Evan White in 2016 and 2017. Since then, they haven’t returned to the college hitter profile.

Prospects Live had high praise for the 21-year-old, “Hurley is a five-tool player who can impact the game. He’s got the punching tool and the raw power, and he’s got the speed to steal double-digit bags as a pro.”

“Hurley comes packaged in an athletic frame with well-proportioned strength and organic loft built into his swing. He doesn’t have to sell himself out for power or force things in his favor. He stays in the middle of the field, letting his bat speed do the rest.”

The only concern they have for him is that he might have to work on his plate discipline a bit, and he was a little spotty at times in 2022. Overall, though, he only struck out 51 times compared to 32 walks. . Hurley was the Hokies’ left fielder last season, but with the departure of Gavin Cross, a first-round pick in 2022, Hurley projects to be in line to play at least some center field in 2023.

It may be too soon to say for sure who Mariners director of amateur scouting Scott Hunter will want to draft in July, but learning some of the names of the players who may be available is certainly exciting.


Mariners prospects in the news

Baseball America released its top 10 Mariners prospects, including a projected 2026 lineup, as well as the organization’s top tools. There were also three M’s prospects on Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospect Rankings.

Jesse Sanchez and Daniel Kramer checked in with their thoughts on the Mariners’ IFA class.

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Curtis Christianson

Curtis Christianson is the Athletic Director of Concordia Christian Academy. He also works at the Tacoma Rainiers clubhouse during baseball season.

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