|No. 6 — Nick Neidert, RHP
|Acquired: Second round, 2015 Draft — Peachtree Ridge HS (Ga.)
An athletic, wiry right-hander, Neidert sits 90-93 mph with his fastball from a three-quarter arm slot. He finishes well out front, producing some late life, both up in the zone to his arm side and occasional sink and run down in the zone to his glove side.
The breaking ball is a below-average slurve at present, but pre-draft many believed he was a good candidate to develop a true slider due to his wrist action and natural arm slot, and the Mariners spent a lot of time with him last summer working on just that.
There’s not a lot of physical projection in his 6-foot-1 frame, but he could add 10-15 pounds — up to 200 or so — and everything is loose and easy, suggesting the velocity will at least hold as he builds endurance, refines his mechanics and works on his breaking ball. The changeup already is a big-league pitch.
Two concerns popped up a year ago, including early-spring elbow tendinitis and a tendency to drag his arm through to release point. The latter is among the easier fixes in pitching mechanics, however, especially considering how well he uses his legs, and he looked sharp and healthy after signing and reporting to Peoria last summer.
Neidert possesses No. 3 upside — a profile that could be changed with plus fastball command and a breaking ball he doesn’t presently have to show off — and his timetable to the majors is four-plus years. This coming season will play a large role in how quickly he may move through the system. A strong showing this spring that earns a full-season assignment puts him on track to move one level per year, which means closer to four years than anything beyond, provided he performs and remains healthy, of course.
Word on the street in Neidert had a terrific winter, packed on a little good weight and is ready to rock and roll in 2016.