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Mariners look to rookies for help in 2017

Several rookies including outfielder Mitch Haniger and pitchers Dan Altavilla, Dillon Overton, Chase De Jong, and James Pazos will see action for Seattle

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners
Dan Altavilla
Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Not to be outdone by the Colorado Rockies or Oakland Athletics, the Seattle Mariners will also rely heavily on youth in 2017. Outfielder Mitch Haniger and pitchers Dan Altavilla, Dillon Overton, Chase De Jong, and James Pazos look to make their mark. Let’s take a look.

We examined Mitch Haniger last week and don’t have anything to add to that, so we will concentrate on the pitchers today.

Altavilla ranked 12th on the Mariners Top 20 Prospects list for 2017 written before spring training. Overton was 13th, while Pazos was unranked as a Grade C prospect. De Jong was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers on March 1st and was ranked 13th in the Dodgers system before the trade.

12) Dan Altavilla, RHP, Grade C+: Age 24, fifth round pick in 2014 out of Mercyhurst; posted 1.91 ERA with 65/22 K/BB in 57 innings in Double-A, then 0.73 ERA in 12 innings in the majors with 10/1 K/BB; converted starter took well to bullpen, showing mid/upper-90s fastball and hard slider; control was very sharp in the majors; should be a very effective short and middle reliever and might get a chance to close games eventually. ETA 2017.

SPRING RESULTS: Altavilla threw 10 innings in spring training, all in relief, with strong results: 2.70 ERA, 11/2 K/BB, eight hits allowed. The pre-season report remains in effect: as long as he continues to throw strikes like this, he’ll be successful and could end up in a closer role eventually.

13) Dillon Overton, LHP, Grade C+: Age 25, second round pick by Athletics in 2013 from University of Oklahoma, acquired by Mariners on January 26th for minor league catcher Jason Goldstein; posted 3.29 ERA with 105/31 K/BB in 126 innings in Triple-A, 132 hits; rung up for ugly 11.47 ERA in 24 major league innings due to allowing .407 average against; he’s better than that; fastball never came all the way back following Tommy John, is now in upper-80s but curveball and change-up are solid and he throws strikes, classic fifth starter type. ETA 2017.

SPRING RESULTS: Overton threw 19.2 innings in the spring and was quite effective, posting a 2.75 ERA in 19.2 innings with a spectacular 16/1 K/BB. Command and control will always be his hallmarks and while he has the stuff of a number four/five starter, his feel for pitching is so strong that he may exceed those projections in time. His wife is having a baby this week so Overton isn’t with the team, his spot taken temporarily by De Jong.

13{Dodgers}) Chase De Jong, RHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 23, acquired from Blue Jays for international bonus money, then traded to Mariners, posted 15-5 record, 2.82 ERA in 26 starts between Double-A and Triple-A with 133/40 K/BB and 112 hits in 147 innings; well-built at 6-4, 205; many scouts are skeptical because fastball tops out at 92, along with curve and change that draw average grades; what he does offer is excellent command and two years of statistical success; back-end starter projection due to command. ETA 2018.

SPRING RESULTS: He threw nine innings in spring training, giving up five runs on 11 hits with a 3/3 K/BB. With just one Triple-A start on his resume, De Jong will likely head back to the minors once Overton is ready, but if he performs well at Tacoma he will get a full opportunity in the majors at some point this year.

James Pazos, LHP: Age 25, Pazos posted a 6.35 ERA in 11.1 innings this spring but with an excellent 15/2 K/BB ratio. Acquired from the New York Yankees in November for right-hander Zack Littell, Pazos throws hard for a lefty with a mid-90s fastball and hard breaking ball. His command has been erratic for most of his career but he threw strikes this spring and seized a bullpen role. He could be a power LOOGY but his stuff is good enough to face right-handers too when he’s throwing strikes. He was originally drafted by the Yankees in the 13th round in 2012 from the University of San Diego.