(I suppose the way to get more hits today is to use a title like “Two Named Top Prospects: YOU’VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT!” But that would be a lie.)
Sometimes when you go shopping from the sale rack, you can still find something of quality. After taking high-end talent at the top of the Draft with Alex Jackson, then knowing it would have to go well over value to sign second-rounder Gareth Morgan, Seattle needed to be more frugal in the following rounds. In the fourth, they nabbed Yarbrough, a senior sign for just $40,000.
It’s looking like the Mariners may have gotten more than they bargained for, thanks to then-area scout Devitt Moore. Granted it was in shorter stints, but Yarbrough was throwing harder in his pro debut than he did while at Old Dominion, sitting at 92-93 mph and reaching back for a little more. His changeup is his best secondary offering, thrown with excellent deception from his three-quarters delivery. His breaking ball is slurvy but could be average in the future. He has outstanding command and generates a good amount of groundball outs.
At the very worst, Yarbrough could get to the big leagues quickly as a lefty reliever. But if he can add some strength, maintain velocity and tighten up his breaking ball, the Mariners believe he as the chance to start.
So, the Mariners may have gotten Ryan off the “sale rack,” but he’s been an amazing pro so far!
The second prospect, Trey Cochran-Gill, also was close to unhittable in his pro debut. He’s almost an opposite of the 6-foot-5 lefty Yarbrough; he’s 5-10, and a righthander. But the results have been the same. Here’s his writeup:
Cochran-Gill had a relatively nondescript career as a college reliever at Auburn, but the Mariners saw enough to select him in the 17th round and sign him for $75,000. His pro debut, while only in the rookie-level Appalachian and short-season Northwest Leagues, was a sign that perhaps Seattle got more than it expected.
The undersized right-hander used two above-average pitches to be extremely effective. He throws his fastball up to 94 mph with tremendous sink, leading to a robust 2.71 groundout-to-air out ratio in his debut. He combines that with a very good slider that misses bats, and he struck out 11 batters per nine innings in his first summer of pro ball. Cochran-Gill throws a lot of strikes and using that sinker, he can get outs early in counts as he pitches to contact.
Cochran-Gill’s ceiling may be that of a middle reliever, but if his first summer is any indication, he could reach it relatively quickly.
A couple interesting things here. First, Cochran-Gill signed for a bigger bonus than Yarbrough, even though he was drafted later (that’s more a function of the mechanics of the draft than anything else). Second, both players have been assigned to Bakersfield of the California League for 2015, so they’re teammates! Third, both of them made their 2015 debuts in the same game- last night, against Rancho Cucamonga. Yarbrough started, and pitched 4 innings, allowing 5 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 walk, and struck out 4. Cochran-Gill, though, was completely dominant. He threw 3 1/3 scoreless, hitless innings, didn’t walk anyone, and struck out 5.
Congrats to both players!