|No. 14 — Ryan Yarbrough, LHP
|Acquired: Fourth Round, 2014 Draft — Old Dominion
Yarbrough may turn out as one of the better draft picks in team history if he gets to the majors and stays in the rotation for a few years. Why? Because not many were talking about him two springs ago when Seattle grabbed him for $40,000 (yes, that forty, not four hundred) in the 4th round — there wasn’t much said outside of “here’s their senior sign, they needed to save money.” They did need to do so in that draft (they used the savings to sign Gareth Morgan for over-slot money in the 2nd round), but what they got in Yarbrough could be so much more than almost everybody anticipated.
The 6-foot-5 lefty built wisdom pitching at 86-91 most of his high school and college career, commanding everything well and beating hitters with deception and location, rather than wicked breaking balls and velocity. Prior to his injury last spring, he was up to 95 mph in shorter stints with Everett, but typically sits 89-91 with his fastball.
Some in the Mariners organization buy into the extra tick on his fastball, though — perhaps not sitting 93-95, but maybe more 91-94, which helps the above-average changeup play up. The breaking ball is of the slurvy variety, but with curveball velocity.
Yarbrough creates good plane on his fastball, inducing an above-average rate of ground balls, and his delivery can be deceptive to the batter as he stays closed, hiding the ball for as long as possible and finishing strong from a three-quarter slot.
As always, there’s a chance Yarbrough ends up in the bullpen, but the makeup, stuff and command suggest he can start.