It is time to wonder if Jerry DiPoto will ever be happy with the roster he has in Seattle. After a long offseason filled with trades, DiPoto pulled off another one in spring training.
It was more of the same. The Mariners let loose a young, former top prospect for a more major league ready player. It seems like a good deal for both teams.
THE MARINERS GET:
Chase De Jong, RHP
(Video courtesy of minorleaguebaseball.)
De Jong is a quality pickup. The Toronto Blue Jays 2012 second round pick got off to a slow start in his career, pitching at the lower levels of A ball his entire time with the Blue Jays. The Los Angeles Dodgers made a move in 2015 to bring the California native home, and he has been the pitcher most expected him to be ever since.
De Jong -- who stands at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds -- is more polish than power, who relies much more on the command of his curveball and change up, than his fastball. His fastball is effective, however, settling in between 88 to 92 miles per hour. It isn’t the speed, but the location, as De Jong can put any of his pitches seemingly wherever he wants to.
He had a phenomenal 2016, earning Texas League Pitcher of the Year honors. He led the league in wins, going 14-5, behind a league-best 1.02 WHIP and a 2.86 ERA that was best amongst full-time starters. He posted a very respectable 125-to-39 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 141.2 innings and earned himself a late season invite to Triple-A.
The primary concern with the 23 year old is his extreme fly ball rate, posting a career 0.69 ground out to air out rate. While SafeCo isn’t as pitcher friendly as it once was, he should still be able to be an effective back-end of the rotation pitcher, likely getting a shot to show what he can do this season.
THE DODGERS GET:
Drew Jackson, SS
(Video courtesy of 2080 Baseball)
Coming off an impressive 2015 debut, Jackson became one of my 2016 prospects to watch. Unfortunately for Jackson it did not go well.
Jackson was drafted in the fifth round out of Stanford by the Mariners in the 2015 draft. His 59 game debut in the Northwest League was superb. He slashed .358/.432/.447 with 12 doubles and two home runs. He showed of his top-notch speed, going 47-for-51 in stolen base attempts.
Expectations were high as he flew to the top of Mariners’ prospect lists, however they should have been tempered. Jackson never had a season that great in his Stanford career.
He returned to reality in 2016. While he saw an increase in his power, so do many a prospect in the California League. Jackson’s numbers are likely what can be expected from him. While they aren’t great, they could help become a solid utility player sooner than later. He slashed .258/.332/.345 with 24 doubles, six home runs and 16 stolen bases.
Jackson has above-average speed and seems to have knowledge on the base paths. He has a very good arm, and despite some haphazard errors, he could very well stick at shortstop. Not the best predicament to be in with Corey Seager ahead of him.
Aneurys Zabala, RHP
(Video courtesy of FanGraphs.)
Zabala is the 20-year old righty that the Mariners signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013. He has yet to pitch above Rookie ball, but has shown some nice qualities thus far in his career.
He is 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds, so there is room to grown into his frame, which is still possible at 20. A little more bulk and his 99 mile per hour fastball becomes even more enticing. His secondary offering is a curve ball that sits in the low to mid-80s.
The reason Zabala has yet to advance beyond Rookie ball is his control. As a reliever with just two pitches, he needs to be able to command the strike zone better. He has yet to do so in his three years, posting a 6.33, 4.63 and 5.40 walks-per-nine over those seasons.
Zabala is very raw and has a long way to go. But as the throw-in on the deal, there is always enough to like about a 20 year old that can hit 99 on the radar gun.