The season of debuts continues, as the Mariners call up RHP Ljay Newsome amidst a series of moves in the fallout of Yusei Kikuchi’s neck spasms.
The #Mariners announce the following roster moves:— Mariners PR (@MarinersPR) August 15, 2020
Recall LHP Taylor Guilbeau;
Select RHP Ljay Newsome;
Place LHP Nestor Cortes on 10-day IL (left elbow impingement);
Designate for assignment RHP Bryan Shaw.
Read: https://t.co/U4KjDdwsxA pic.twitter.com/Ut5wdMhtpL
LHP Nestor Cortes reported discomfort in his arm yesterday, which unsurprisingly has led to an IL stint, especially given the M’s are now shorter in the bullpen with multiple long relievers throwing around 50+ pitches last night. Bryan Shaw, if you have eyes, ears, or otherwise have processed information about the Mariners this year, has at no point looked sharp, and his departure is an unfortunate mercy.
Their exits create space for a return and an arrival. Taylor Guilbeau hasn’t looked his best this season, with velocity down a few ticks from 2019, but his ability to handle 30-50 pitches when needed gives the club some utility. More excitingly, Ljay Newsome appears in line to make his big league debut as soon as tonight.
Newsome has been a fascinating player to follow, spending much of his time in the pros looking like organizational depth, treading water in the low minors with good command, but below-average velocity and lacking an eye-popping “out” pitch in his off-speed. Last year, however, Newsome leapt to national attention with among the best K-BB% in the minors, muzzling the hitter-friendly California League with improved velocity from Seattle’s ill-titled “Gas Camp”. He was promoted to Arkansas and got good results, but reports of a decline on his velocity as he tired in a full season coincided with a dip in strikeouts. This spring, the 5’11 righty’s goal was to keep adding endurance in addition to velocity, and he showed well in spring training before the season shut down.
In Tacoma, Newsome has been tinkering with a cutter, which would pair well with his spin-efficient 90-94 mph fastball (nicknamed the GOATball by teammates) and sinking changeup that have been his best pitches, along with a developing slider. The 23 year old is still young enough to be an enigma, as his emergence would be a win for the Mariners player development group if it can translate to the bigs.