Gilbert started Saturday's intrasquad game and impressed with his pitch arsenal, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. Johns reports Gilbert not only flashed his mid-90s fastball during the outing, but his effective array of offspeed pitches as well. The 2018 first-round pick gave up one run over his two innings, getting tagged for an RBI double by 2019 Double-A Arkansas teammate Donovan Walton. However, he did retire the likes of veterans Dee Gordon and Daniel Vogelbach -- the latter on a strikeout -- and enjoyed his first experience pitching at T-Mobile Park, irrespective of the empty stands. "It was kind of a weird situation, but just getting in innings here at T-Mobile at the Major League stadium before you debut, you can't put a price on that. It's really valuable," Gilbert said. "It's not packed with fans, but when I got on the mound, it felt like any other game."
There is "essentially little to no chance" Gilbert reaches the majors this season, Corey Brock of The Athletic reports. Gilbert, one of the team's top pitching prospects, likely would have made his MLB debut in 2020 under normal circumstances. However, he has only made nine starts above High-A, so it would be pretty aggressive of the rebuilding Mariners to rush him up in this 60-game campaign. Brock reports that Seattle believes its top prospects will receive the necessary development while training at the satellite camp this summer.
Mariners CEO John Stanton said Wednesday on 710 ESPN Seattle that he expects Gilbert to be on the 30-man taxi squad this year, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. Members of the taxi squad are not expected to accumulate major-league service time, so we will likely see Gilbert along with fellow Mariners top prospects Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez on the squad. This will be a way to make sure those players are staying fresh and not stagnating while also providing depth to the major-league team. Taxi squad members can work out with the team and will be eligible to be added to the major-league roster as needed. Gilbert reached Double-A last year at the age of 22 and thrived with a 2.88 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 56:15 K:BB in 50 innings at that level.
Gilbert may be a beneficiary of the unique conditions of an abbreviated 2020 season, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. The promising 22-year-old impressed in two Cactus League appearances, a pair of starts during which he fired four scoreless innings overall. Gilbert has yet to pitch at the Triple-A level, but with the possibility of expanded rosters and a sharp uptick in doubleheaders during an abbreviated 2020 season, the right-hander and his impressive four-pitch arsenal could serve as valuable reinforcement for the front-line pitching staff.
Gilbert, who fired four scoreless innings across two Cactus League appearances before spring training was suspended, is considered a future ace of the Mariners' staff, Jesse Sanchez and Greg Johns of MLB.com report. The 22-year-old performed like a seasoned veteran over his pair of Cactus League appearances this spring, an extension of the dominant form he displayed at three different stops during his 2019 minor-league debut. Gilbert was already at Double-A Arkansas by the end of last season, with his overall body of work earning him the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year award. Johns notes the right-hander's mid-90s fastball is complemented by an effective slider, curve and changeup, and that his 6-foot-6 frame leads to an unusually long stride toward the batter's box that makes his power pitch even more effective.
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