Taylor Dollard: Mariners 2022 Minor League Player Of The Year
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Taylor Dollard was in complete control all season.
The 23-year-old righthander rode his pinpoint command and nasty slider to a breakout campaign, posting a 2.25 ERA in 144 innings with Double-A Arkansas.
Dollard totaled 131 strikeouts and just 31 walks, while recording a mere 0.95 WHIP in the hitter-friendly Texas League.
Among qualified Double-A pitchers, his ERA was the lowest. He pitched the most innings. His walk rate of 1.94 per nine innings was second lowest.
“His ability to do what he wants with the baseball is kind of his superpower,” Arkansas pitching coach Sean McGrath said. “Put it where he wants, when he wants. And do it strategically, not aimlessly. It’s all with reason.”
Dollard’s four-pitch mix centers on his swing-and-miss slider. He learned the pitch from his high school coach and put his own twist on it over the years.
Dollard complements his slider with a low-90s fastball, curveball and changeup.
“He’s got a really tremendous slider,” McGrath said. “(He can) locate it in really strategic locations—down and away, or back foot, or backdoor, or front hip.
“He’s able to do a lot of things with one singular pitch. And then the rest of his arsenal just seems to support what the slider does.”
McGrath said Dollard excels at pitch strategy and executing game plans.
“He understands how to attack individual hitters within the framework of what he does extremely well,” McGrath said. “He has his baseline plan, and then he exposes hitter weaknesses over and over and over again.”
A 2020 fifth-round pick out of Cal Poly, Dollard struggled during the second half of last season following a promotion to High-A Everett.
He rebounded in a major way this year.
Dollard allowed one earned run or fewer in 18 of his 27 starts, and he surrendered just nine home runs all season.
“My maturity was honestly one of the biggest (differences) this year,” Dollard said. “I feel like I did a lot better being more mature and professional about handling things that went on in games . . . and doing all the day-to-day stuff in a much better way.
“And that simply comes from learning and going through it.”
— Mariners outfielder Cade Marlowe earned a mid-September promotion to Triple-A Tacoma after a red-hot stretch with Double-A Arkansas. The 25-year-old lefthanded slugger blasted seven home runs and 13 extra-base hits in 11 games over the first half of September, including five homers in a three-game span. Over 120 games with Arkansas, Marlowe slashed .291/.380/.483 with 20 homers and 42 extra-base hits. He also stole 36 bases, making him one of just six minor leaguers with at least 20 homers and 35 stolen bases this season.
— The Mariners’ top two draft picks got off to productive starts this summer. First-rounder Cole Young, a 19-year-old, lefthanded-hitting shortstop, slashed .367/.423/.517 in 17 games between the Arizona Complex League and Low-A Modesto. Second-round pick and 21-year-old third baseman Tyler Locklear batted .285/.366/.504 with seven homers and six doubles in 31 games, nearly all of which came with Low-A Modesto.