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The Seattle Mariners made a very small trade last May when they traded utility infielder Donnie Walton to the San Francisco Giants for 22-year-old Prelander Berroa. At the time it did not seem like a deal that would impact either side in a huge way. Walton got some at bats for the Giants before hurting his shoulder, and Berroa was a minor league pitcher who threw hard but wasn’t a top prospect.

After Berroa joined the Mariners organization, he was sent to High-A Everett and had a 2.41 ERA in just over 50 innings. The righty had a 13.9 strikeouts per nine and a 5.5 walks per nine. He then was promoted to Double-A and he still had a sub-three ERA in 35 innings. His strikeout numbers were almost identical but he walked about a batter more per nine innings. He seemed to come out of nowhere and have success with the Mariners organization, and he has continued to trend upwards for the M’s.

This Spring, Berroa has gotten plenty of recognition due to his high velocity fastball and nasty slider. He fooled Xander Bogaerts with his slider to get him a strikeout in the Mariners first game this Spring.

Corey Brock over at The Athletic also wrote about getting to know the young flamethrower. Jason A. Churchill praised his fastball in his prospect rankings where he has him as the organization’s 13th best prospect.

“Berroa may have the best raw stuff in the system, starting with a 70-grade or better fastball serving as a bowling ball down in the zone and a … well, a bowling ball up. There’s easy armside run at 94-97 mph mph, and he’s touched 99-100 mph a few times. The pitch induces ground balls and whiffs.”

The Mariners appear to have gotten a real hidden gem from the Giants, and one scout even said, “Prelander Berroa for Donnie Walton might have been the worst trade of 2022,” according to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. It will be fun to watch and see where he ends up in 2023.

Mariners Draft Spotlight

For this weeks Mariners Draft Spotlight, we will take a look at one of the top high school right handers in the 2023 draft class, Charlee Soto. He has a lot of the things that scouts look for in pitchers. Soto is very tall, standing at 6-foot-5 already, weighs 210 pounds, and has a plus fastball. His fastball has touched the upper 90s, and ,”Both of his secondary offerings have the chance to be at least better-than-average” according to MLB Pipeline.

The Mariners have not drafted a high school pitcher with a first round pick under the Jerry Dipoto and Scott Hunter regime, but last year three of their top 10 draft picks were high school pitchers, and two of those were in the top four rounds. So it is not impossible that the Mariners take a high school pitcher with one of their three late first round picks this summer.

Soto has looked very impressive so far in his amateur career, and here he was last month at a Perfect Game event.

Mariners Prospects in the News

Jerry Dipoto has made positive comments about a few of the Mariners former top prospects who have not had great success at the big league level thus far.

Joe Fann wrote about 6 players who have improved their chances to make the big league roster in his opinion.

2023 Rookie of the Year Julio Rodriguez is getting to spend some time with former Mariners legend Ichiro and they are getting to bond of shared experiences.

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Curtis Christianson

Curtis Christianson is the Athletic Director at Concordia Christian Academy. He also works in the Tacoma Rainiers clubhouse during the baseball season.