Mariners' Tyler Locklear Makes Quick Adjustments
During a record-setting college career at Virginia Commonwealth, Tyler Locklear established himself as one of the premier power hitters in the 2022 draft.
Since turning pro, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound first baseman's bat was as loud as advertised.
Whether it’s tape-measure home runs or blistering line drives, the 2022 second-round pick has made top-end exit velocities the norm.
“Every day, there’s a ball hit over 100 miles an hour,” High-A Everett hitting coach Mike Fransoso said.
“When he hits a homer, it’s consistently over 110. And (then) he’ll shoot one the other way through the four-hole and it’s like 106. It’s just crazy numbers that come off his bat.”
Yet with Locklear, it’s not just raw power.
The 22-year-old righthanded batter showed a strong overall hitting profile in college, and has continued to do so as a pro.
Locklear batted .299/.398/.561 with 10 homers through his first 41 games for Everett this season, while demonstrating good plate discipline with 21 walks and 42 strikeouts.
“There’s not too many hitters who have a ton of power like he does, but also are just pure hitters,” Fransoso said.
“He uses the whole field (and) hits a ton of line drives . . . There’s a lot of pop. There’s a lot of contact and he controls the zone really well.”
In just over two seasons at VCU, Locklear tied the program record with 37 career homers. He blasted a school-record 20 in 2022 when he ranked fourth in Division I with a 1.342 OPS.
Locklear started slowly during his 2022 pro debut, but he quickly turned things around and hit seven homers in his final 16 games for Low-A Modesto.
“He makes adjustments really well,” Fransoso said. “He doesn’t expand outside of the zone. If he does, he makes a quick adjustment and he’s right back in it.
“And when he gets pitchers inside the zone, he makes them pay.”
Locklear moved to first base this season after spending most of his college career at third base.
“We’ve been very happy with what we’ve seen from him at first,” Fransoso said.
— Hard-throwing 23-year-old Dominican righthander Prelander Berroa, who dazzled in major league spring training with his electric fastball/slider combo, moved to the bullpen in Double-A Arkansas in early May. It was a change many expected the Mariners to make at some point, due to Berroa’s overpowering stuff but persistent control issues.
The early results were lights out. While opening the season in Arkansas’ rotation, Berroa struggled to a 5.16 ERA in 22.2 innings across five starts, with 34 strikeouts and 19 walks. In his first four relief appearances, he tossed 6.1 scoreless innings of no-hit ball with 11 strikeouts and four walks.
— Venezuelan 19-year-old outfielder Gabriel Gonzalez was leading the California League with a .339 batting average through 32 games at Low-A Modesto. The righthanded slugger had two homers and 15 extra-base hits, while limiting his strikeout rate to just 14%.