The Mariners have won seven of their past nine to get back to .500 and vault back into the thick of the American League wild-card race.
With the longest postseason drought in baseball hanging over their heads, Seattle has begun getting active to keep the good times rolling.
The Mariners acquired veteran reliever David Phelps from the Marlins on Thursday in exchange for minor league righthanders Brandon Miller, Pablo Lopez and Lukas Schiraldi, and center fielder Brayan Hernandez.
Brayan Hernandez, of
The Mariners signed Hernandez for $1.85 million as the jewel of their 2014 international signing class, but it's been a slow climb for the toolsy-but-raw center fielder. Hernandez abandoned switch-hitting last year and now bats only from his natural right side. He has a smooth swing geared for solid, consistent contact, but struggles with breaking ball recognition and gets too pull-happy at times. He has average power potential at best, putting the onus on him to stick in center field, where he shows plus speed and a plus arm. Hernandez has potential, but has a very long way to go in his development at the plate.
|Pablo Lopez, rhp
Lopez was an under-the-radar signing out of Venezuela in 2012 but has put himself on the prospect map with consistent performance. He had Tommy John surgery in 2014 but recovered nicely, holding up as a starter in each of his three seasons since. Lopez is aggressive an efficient with his three-pitch mix, topped by a low 90s fastball that is increasing in velocity every year. He also has an average curveball and changeup. More than his pure stuff, Lopez pounds the lower half of the strike zone to induce a heavy amount of ground balls, and he rarely issues a walk. Lopez doesn't miss many bats, but has a chance to rise as a strike-thrower with ground-ball tendencies.
|Brandon Miller, rhp
Miller was one of the top pitchers in Division II and was picked by the Mariners in the sixth round last year. He's kept up his success in pro ball and was quietly rising as one of the better starting pitching prospects in the Mariners system. Miller is strongly built at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds and sits 90-93 mph on his fastball with an elite spin rate, allowing it to play way up and get swings and misses through it. He backs it up with an 80-83 mph swing-and-miss slider that projects plus with tight spin and a changeup that is fringy but improving. Miller is durable and throws all his pitches for strikes, and profiles well as a back-end starter as long as his changeup continues to develop.
|Lukas Schiraldi, rhp
The son of ex-big league reliever Calvin Schiraldi has size and stuff, but poor command has limited his effectiveness out of the bullpen. Schiraldi sits in the low 90s with heavy sink and run on his fastball and his slider was considered one of the best breaking pitches in the California League. However, an inconsistent delivery out of his 6-foot-6 frame has led to 6.5 walks per nine innings this season and a 5.7 mark in his career. Schiraldi has swing-and-miss stuff, but a lifetime of wildness has most evaluators seeing him strictly as an organizational arm.
David Phelps, rhp
The veteran reliever was been steady as usual in his third season with the Marlins, although his walk rate was slightly up and his strikeout rate dropped. Still, Phelps has a 2.69 ERA in 108 appearances over the last two seasons in a setup role. While he is effective as a setup man, Phelps has a poor track record as a closer, going 0-for-6 in save chances this year and 4-for-10 last year. That won't be a problem with Edwin Diaz in tow in Seattle, allowing Phelps to do what he does best and be a bridge to the ninth in later innings.