Mariners’ Prelander Berroa Shows Off Electric Stuff

After overpowering High-A and Double-A hitters in 2022 with his devastating fastball/slider combo, Prelander Berroa has generated plenty of buzz in his first major league spring training.

Early in camp, the 22-year-old Dominican righthander’s lethal mix of velocity and movement “blew up” the Mariners’ data systems, according to team president Jerry Dipoto.

And in his first two spring outings, Berroa dazzled with that electric stuff.

In a pair of appearances against the Padres, Berroa struck out five of 15 batters across four scoreless innings. His punchout victims included Xander Bogaerts and Nelson Cruz, who both whiffed at his swing-and-miss slider.

“He’s got a special arm,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “Really exciting . . . There’s a lot to like there.”

Berroa’s blistering high-90s fastball touches triple digits and has explosive riding action. His nasty mid-80s slider features sharp, downward break that can leave batters flummoxed.

Just ask Mariners top prospect Harry Ford, who faced Berroa in live batting practice.

“It was the craziest thing,” Ford said. “He threw a slider, and I swear to God, it (started above) my batter’s helmet, so I couldn’t see it.”

Naturally, Ford anticipated the pitch to be a ball. But with deceptively sharp break, Berroa’s slider dropped into the strike zone.

“I think I had my three worst at-bats I’ve ever had in my life against him,” Ford said with a laugh.

The Mariners acquired Berroa last May in a trade that sent utility infielder Donnie Walton to the Giants. By late July, the hard-throwing righty reached Double-A.

Berroa finished with a 36.5% strikeout rate that ranked fifth best in the minors last season among pitchers with at least 100 innings.

But he struggled with control, posting a 15.3% walk rate that was fifth worst.

“Getting in the strike zone with all of his pitches more consistently is huge,” Servais

The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Berroa also is working to improve his changeup, which he didn’t throw much last year.

At the moment, many believe Berroa profiles as a power reliever. He threw fewer than
five innings in 21 of his 26 starts last season.


— After excelling in Double-A last season, top Mariners pitching prospect Bryce Miller was off to an impressive start in his first major league spring training. Over his first two appearances, the hard-throwing 24-year-old righthander struck out six of 18 batters across five scoreless innings. His four-pitch mix is highlighted by an electric fastball, which reportedly sat 97-98 mph in his second outing.

— Emerson Hancock, the Mariners’ 2020 first-round pick, made his spring debut on March 1. The 23-year-old righthander’s early pro career was hampered by injuries, but he’s looking to build on a 2022 season in which he nearly reached 100 innings at Double-A. “Emerson threw the ball really good,” Servais said. “. . . Loved his presence. His stuff was awesome. Up to 96 (mph). Really good changeup. A lot to like there.”

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