On the final day of the draft, names fly quickly and furiously with little explanation or video packages, but that doesn’t mean there’s not value to be found in these later rounds as a new batch of players get a chance to make their biggest baseball dreams come true. This is an especially good place to uncover pitching help, as you’ll see reflected in the majority of the Mariners’ choices here. Here’s who the Mariners took on the third day of the 2023 MLB Draft:
11th round: LHP Brandyn Garcia, Texas A&M
Finalizing the trade from Max Weiner becoming the Aggies’ new pitching coach, the Mariners draft lefty Brandyn Garcia from the same school that gave them Bryce Miller. Garcia is a 6’4” lefty, so immediately interesting. He struck out 56 batters in 43.2 innings this season, using a riding fastball (93-94) and this wicked sweeping slider (81-83):
Garcia only spent a year pitching for the Aggies, transferring from Quinnipiac University to work with former Oregon State pitching coach Nate Yeskie, and struggled with figuring out the zone early (which is why his ERA is high despite all those strikeouts) and with building confidence as a smaller school transfer into the lion’s den of the SEC. However, as he flourished under the coaching at Texas A&M, he improved quickly and found his way into high-leverage spots during the Aggies’ postseason run.
12th round: RHP Logan Evans, University of Pittsburgh
Evans is another large lad on the mound standing at 6’5, just edging out Garcia for starting center on the Day Three draft picks basketball team. Evans is an athletic mover down the mound and prioritizes getting groundballs over strikeouts, pitching 49 innings and striking out 42. He also seems to pitch with some attitude, as evidenced by his cradle rocking against UNC last year.
Stuff wise, Evans is a spin-rate darling who consistently had the highest spin rate at the Cape Cod League this summer, registering as high as 3141 RPM on his slider. His fastball sits around 92-94 with heavy sink sink and run, and the aforementioned slider sits 84-86. Additionally, he throws a cutter that’s 88-90 as his third offering. Evans did start nine games for the Panthers this year, but in all likelihood he’s a fast moving reliever that could start his professional career in Everett. Perhaps the M’s try him out as a starter, but the arsenal would probably need to tick up a notch or two for him to find sustained success. Regardless of where he ends up, he’s an interesting player for the pitching gurus to optimize.
13th round: RHP Elijah Dale, Illinois State
Dale is a control-the-zone type who posted a K:BB ratio of 65:13 in 28.2 innings this season for the Redbirds. He’s a sinker-slider reliever, with the slider possessing above-average spin but the sinker coming in below MLB average, in the low 90s/high 80s. The slider is a plus pitch, though, coming in hard (mid-80s) with 3000+ RPM of spin.
14th Round: RHP Ernie Day, Campbell University
The second Campbell Camel drafted by the Mariners, Ernie Day is another tall, physical right hander with some interesting stuff. With fastball that regularly sits in the mid-90’s and can touch higher, Day pairs that with a high spin slider to stack up the strikeouts. In 21.1 innings of work at Campbell, Day tallied 28 K’s but unfortunately also walked 19, something he prioritized improving in the Cape Cod league.
RHP Ernie Day (Campbell, 2023 elig.) is a riser to watch in this year’s draft. Up to 96 MPH here with significantly improved control compared to his school season. I think he could go on day 2. pic.twitter.com/3isfYwj5wg— Blake Buscemi (@mlb_pc) June 30, 2023
Another day, another Campbell arm throwing gas.— Tyler Jennings (@TylerJennings24) February 19, 2023
Ernie Day has been 93-96, T97 with his high spin fastball, but his signature pitch is a short slider in the mid-80's with spin upwards of 3,000 RPMs. Flashed an upper-80's CH. Very fun arm. pic.twitter.com/SuOT2CPlfk
On the Cape this summer, Day worked to a dominant 1.08 ERA, striking out 14 over just 8.1 innings. Maybe more importantly, he walked just three batters over that time, something that bodes well for his ability to improve his control. He’s flashed both a cutter and a changeup at times the past few seasons, but his bread and butter pitches remain the high spin fastball-slider combo. Day will likely be a two pitch reliever at the next level, but has used his large 6’4 frame to work long outings as a reliever in the past. If there’s a third big league pitch hiding somewhere in his arsenal, there’s a shot you could try him as a starter.
15th round: OF Carson Jones, Virginia Tech
Jones is a big bat with legit over-the-fence power but the attendant swing-and-miss in his game that keeps him from being a higher pick in this loaded draft. He absolutely mashed this year for VT, though, and will bring some thump to a system that could really use some more over-the-fence power.