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Mariners 2020 draft preview: RHP Carmen Mlodzinski

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A mysterious late riser in the 2020 draft with a tricky name, no social media, and a devastating fastball

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Missouri
look Carmen when you don’t have social media it means I don’t have approved pictures to use ok
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Carmen Mlodzinski is a bit of a mystery. A Mlodystery, if you will. Back in 2017, the highly-touted Mlodzinski withdrew his name from the MLB draft, informing all interested parties he didn’t feel ready to be a pro just yet, and intended to attend college at South Carolina, his home state. After an adjustment year as a freshman, Mlodzinski was poised to break out as a sophomore. Unfortunately, in early March he planted his foot awkwardly on the mound and broke it, costing him the entire season. For those hoping to follow along with Mlodzinski’s rehab journey over social media, tough luck, as he has none—no Instagram, no Twitter. Also, his name is apparently pronounced “ma-jinski.” Such a majistery!

Nevertheless, the mysterious Mlodzinski is one of the early risers for the 2020 draft after a strong showing in the Cape Cod League this summer. In 29.1 innings for the Falmouth Commodores, Mlodzinski gave up just 15 hits and four walks, while striking out 40 batters in a mini-alternate-universe fanfiction of what a healthy season for the righty might have looked like. While he doesn’t have his own social media, just to help with the mental image, here’s a shot of him playing a teammate like a guitar on the Cape this summer:

What has excited scouts all along about Mlodzinski is his mid-90s fastball and a hard slider that’s a putaway pitch. He also throws a cutter (86-88) and a solid changeup (82-83), and has plus command of all his pitches, ticking many of the boxes we’ve seen the Mariners prize in their pitchers. While recovering from his injury, Mlodzinski spent significant time in the weight room, packing even more muscle onto an already powerful 6’2” frame and helping to push his fastball up to 96 on the Cape this summer.

Mlodzinski delivers from a 34 slot that can create some deception for left-handed batters. He drives straight to the plate, with a consistent front foot strike, and transfers his weight effectively and powerfully thanks to a strong lower half. His delivery is low-effort and he repeats it well, but in footage I watched from his freshman year his release point seemed to wander. It looks like he’s cleaned that up in this brief look from the Cape, although with two pitches it’s hard to tell.

Fall scrimmage season is just underway but South Carolina fans are already justifiably excited about their ace-in-waiting. A recent report had his fastball sitting at 95-97.

Mlodzinski’s performance on the Cape plus his raw stuff has earned him justifiable acclaim, but with having missed significant time he will likely have an on-ramping period as he adjusts to the rigors of a full college baseball season. Mlodzinski will also need to demonstrate that he’s made progress on his changeup as a credible third pitch. If healthy and effective, he could be one of the fastest risers in the 2020 draft and an early first-round choice. Even if that’s not the case, it’s worth keeping an eye on him as a potential second-round pick.