Kirby has been hitting the upper 90s with his fastball during simulated games at the Mariners' alternate training site in Tacoma, Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN Seattle reports. The news comes via general manager Jerry Dipoto, who relayed updates on several of the organization's top prospects during a radio interview Thursday. Kirby was impressive at short-season Everett last season (2.35 ERA, 25:0 K:BB across 23 innings) after his selection in the first round of the first-year player draft, and with no minor-league season this year, he's at least getting valuable development time in at Tacoma.
Mariners CEO John Stanton said Wednesday on 710 ESPN Seattle that Kirby will likely be on the 30-man taxi squad this year, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. Mega prospects Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez are expected to join Kirby on the taxi squad, and we will likely see many of the game's top prospects on their respective taxi squads given that those players are not expected to accumulate major-league service time. A first-round pick last year, Kirby shined with short-season Everett, posting a perfect 25:0 K:BB in 23 innings. As a member of the taxi squad, he will be able to work out with the team and can be added to the big-league roster as needed.
Kirby, the Mariners' 20th overall selection in the 2019 first-year player draft, fired two scoreless innings during his professional debut in short-season Everett's win over Vancouver on Saturday, Dan Stokes of MiLB.com reports. Kirby allowed just one hit and recorded two strikeouts, firing a 1-2-3 first inning before allowing a single in the second. Stokes reports Kirby threw 16 of 26 pitches for strikes and earned strong grades from AquaSox pitching coach Ari Ronick. "It's something we are going to have to look at," Ronick said of Kirby's workload the rest of the summer. "He needs to get more comfortable out there, but I don't see any big mechanical changes yet."
Kirby, the Mariners' 20th overall selection in the 2019 first-year player draft, is likely to make his professional debut for short-season Everett in mid-July, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. The rookie from Elon University logged 88.1 innings during his junior season earlier this year, so the Mariners intend to be cautious with his overall workload. Kirby is already traveling and working out with the AquaSox, but the organization's plan to limit him to a maximum of approximately 30 innings will result in a midsummer debut.
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