The Mariners won't just be calling up top outfield prospect Jarred Kelenic, as we learned Wednesday top pitching prospect Logan Gilbert will be joining him in making the jump to the big leagues Thursday. Kelenic is one of the top pitching prospects in baseball and could make a significant Fantasy impact as a rookie, so here's what you need to know about him.
Meet Logan Gilbert
Gilbert, who turned 24 last week, is a 6-foot-6 righty who the Mariners drafted 14th overall in 2018 out of Stetson University. He made his professional debut in 2019 and dominated at three levels of the minors, putting up a 2.13 ERA in 26 starts and eventually making it to Double-A, where he posted a 2.88 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 50 innings as a 22-year-old. Over the course of that season, he struck out 31.5% of opposing hitters while walking just 6.3% of them and allowed seven homers in 135 innings.
Gilbert spent the 2020 season at the team's alternate training site and then made one start at Triple-A to begin 2021 before getting the call, so it seems safe to assume if there had been a normal minor-league season in 2020, we likely would have seen Gilbert already. And what would we have seen?
Gilbert profiles as a very advanced young pitcher who pitches with command despite his large frame. He's got a fastball he can dial up into the mid-90s, though he'll sit more in the 93-94 range more often than not -- that's about average these days. However, the pitch has historically been a good swing-and-miss pitch for him, and the command helps it play up. Depending on which scouts you talk to, Gilbert's best secondary is either a low-80s slider or a mid-70s curveball, with a changeup that flashes above-average.
Of course, the fact is, Gilbert hasn't spent too much time in front of scouts since 2019, so there very well may have been some growth in the time since then. There was little left for Gilbert to learn in the minors even without a season in 2020, so the delay was mostly about the Mariners ensuring they would have his contract rights for an additional year. With that deadline past, now it's about seeing if the stuff can play up against major-leaguers.
The FBT brain trust dove deep into what Gilbert's arrival means on an emergency pod. You can subscribe to make sure you get the latest episodes of Fantasy Baseball Today right when they drop on Apple and Spotify.
What to expect for Fantasy
To start, Gilbert is a must-add player in all formats. Maybe in a 10-team H2H points league he might not be a must-add, given how deep pitching is these days, but everywhere else, he'll be worth adding. Scott White ranked him as the No. 8 prospect to stash a few weeks ago, behind Matt Manning, MacKenzie Gore, and Sixto Sanchez, but now that he's up, he's ahead of at least the first two.
That's not to say he's a guaranteed stud, though. Gilbert doesn't necessarily profile as an ace, with most agreeing he might be more of a high-floor mid-rotation starter. The minor-league numbers suggest he might be more than that, though, and the thing about pitchers is, when they're this young, there's little you can say with certainty about what they might become. I remember Aaron Nola getting very similar reports as a prospect, and though it took him a few years, he eventually did become an ace.
Gilbert could become that, but he'll obviously have to prove it, first. He enters the majors with more uncertainty because we haven't seen him since 2019, but he does seem like a pretty good bet to be a solid contributor, with the upside to be much more than that.
I've slotted Gilbert in as my No. 59 SP for now, just behind Jameson Taillon, Sixto Sanchez, Sean Manaea, and Yusei Kikuchi. I've written about how deep starting pitcher is this season and how hard it has been to figure out how to value everyone, and Gilbert falls right around where the gap between the guys I really want on my roster and the guys I'm OK releasing if need be. That means he's ahead Nathan Eovaldi, German Marquez, and Dinelson Lamet, all of whom I would drop for Gilbert.
But he could move up quickly. That has been a theme for a lot of pitchers this season, and if Gilbert follows in the footsteps of a Trevor Rogers or Carlos Rodon, he could move up quite a bit very quickly. Or he could stumble and end up back in the minors in a month. Both are possible, certainly. I'm willing to bet on Gilbert being at least usable, and potentially very good, so I could go as high as a 20% FAB bid for him in a 12-team league and a 25% bid in a 15-teamer.
There are a few pitching prospects left in the upper minors who could get the call and would have more appeal than Gilbert, but it's not many. He could be one of the last remaining impact players to emerge on the wire, and if you have a chance to add him, don't miss it.