Gilbert did exactly what clubs should want from a first-round college arm in his first full season in pro ball, and that’s move quickly. But he may have moved a little quicker than most expected, ending the year in Double-A Arkansas after stop at both A-ball levels to start the year.
Gilbert is a four-pitch starter – fastball, curveball, slider, changeup – and all four project as major-league offerings. He’s big, strong, athletic and has handled everything thrown at him thus far. His next developmental step puts him on the brink of the big leagues.
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The fastball comes easy at 92-94 mph, but he’s up to 95 often and touches 97. There’s good life on the pitch up in the zone with a touch of arm side run. He has two breaking balls, the curveball of which I tend to favor; it’s a spike curveball, or a knuckle-curve if you will, at 75-78 mph with sharp downward bite that comes late in its path to the plate.
The slider (81-85 mph) may have the most upside as a strikeout offering, and Gilbert’s changeup has flashed average, though it’s a ways from being polished enough to throw to big-league bats with confidence.
|2019||A, A+, AA||26||135.0||95||165||33||7||2.71|
The right-hander does a good job filling up the zone with his entire arsenal, but gets good value from the fastball, moving it around the zone effectively and getting swings and misses at the top of the zone and in on right-handed batters.
He’ll showcase above-average command at times, but will need more consistency finishing out front in order max out the raw stuff and physical tools.
Gilbert, the No. 14 overall pick in 2018, projects comfortably as a No. 3 starter and has a chance to push that to No. 2 status with a jump in fastball command and added effectiveness of the changeup.
He’s built for 220-inning seasons and a long career, and figures to get said career started sometime this coming summer.
The second-year pro likely starts 2020 back in Double-A Arkansas, especially if there’s belief Triple-A and MLB will use the same ball used in the regular season a year ago.
He may hit some bumps in the road this time around, but if not the Mariners could push him to Seattle before the All-Star break. Gilbert will be on some kind of workload limit after reaching the 135-inning plateau in 2019, but that shouldn’t slow down his arrival much.
Photo of Logan Gilbert by Larry Goren/Four Seam Images, licensed via AP.
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