A look at starting pitching prospects traded away by M’s

Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto traded away a number of pitching prospects who had good 2017 seasons.

Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has made an continual stream of trades since arriving in the fall of 2015, many of which involved moving out minor leaguers brought to the organization by his predecessor, Jack Zduriencik. Some of the players, particularly starting pitchers, were not necessarily considered special by the Mariners organization, but have gone on to become legitimate prospects in other organizations.

Here’s a look at some of those starting pitchers who played in the high minors (either triple-A or double-A) in 2017, along with their prospect ranking in their current organization as determined by MLB.com:

Luiz Gohara

Trade: On Jan. 11 Seattle sent Gohara and minor-league pitcher Thomas Burrows to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for outfielder Mallex Smith and pitcher Shae Simmons.

Current ranking: No. 7 in the Braves organization.

In 2017: The 21-year-old left-hander raced through the Braves system, appearing at high single-A, double-A and triple-A. Between the three stops he was 7-4 with a 2.62 ERA, walking 44 and striking out 147 in 123.2 innings. He also made his major-league debut, making five starts for Atlanta and going 1-3 with a 4.91 ERA, walking eight and striking out 31 in 29.1 innings.

Ryan Yarbrough

Trade: Just hours after the Gohara trade, Seattle sent Yarbrough, the just-acquired Smith and minor-league infielder Carlos Vargas to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for pitcher Drew Smyly.

Current ranking: No. 23 in the Rays organization.

In 2017: The 25-year-old left-hander spent the entire season at triple-A, going 13-6 with a 3.43 ERA, walking 39 and striking out 159 in 157.1 innings.

Zack Littell

Trade: On Nov. 18, 2016, Seattle sent Littell to the New York Yankees in exchange for reliever James Pazos.

Current ranking: No. 16 in the Minnesota Twins organization.

In 2017: The 21-year-old right-hander, who was traded by the Yankees to the Twins at the trade deadline for pitcher Jaime Garcia, had a remarkable season. Between one stop at high single-A and two stops at double-A he want 19-1 with a 2.12 ERA, walking 41 and striking out 142 in 157 innings.

Freddy Peralta

Trade: On Dec. 9, 2015, Seattle sent Peralta and minor-league pitchers Carlos Herrera and Daniel Missaki to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for first baseman Adam Lind.

Current ranking: No. 11 in the Brewers organization.

In 2017: The 21-year-old right-hander split time between high single-A and double-A, going 3-8 with a 2.63 ERA, walking 62 and striking out 169 in 120 innings.

Enyel De Los Santos

Trade: On Nov. 12, 2015, Seattle sent De Los Santos and minor-league infielder Nelson Ward to the San Diego Padres in exchange for reliever Joaquin Benoit.

Current ranking: No. 13 in the Padres organization.

In 2017: The 21-year-old right-hander spent the entire season at double-A, going 10-6 with a 3.78 ERA, walking 48 and striking out 138 in 150 innings.

Tyler Pike

Trade: On Dec. 9, 2016, Pike was the player to be named later in the trade in which Seattle sent minor-league outfielder Alex Jackson to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for pitchers Max Povse and Robert Whalen.

Current ranking: Unranked in the Braves organization.

In 2017: The 23-year-old left-hander split time between high single-A and double-A, going 5-11 with 3.43 ERA while walking 90 and striking out 154 in 144.1 innings.

Could the Mariners use some of those minor-league starters who were traded away? You betcha. Seattle has all kinds of questions surrounding its rotation heading into 2018. Felix Hernandez is on the decline. James Paxton can’t stay healthy. Hisashi Iwakuma and Drew Smyly were hurt either most or all of 2017 and aren’t expected back. Mike Leake, Erasmo Martinez and Ariel Miranda plugged in the best they could, but it’s questionable whether they can become rotation stalwarts, while Marco Gonzales struggled down the stretch.

Some of those pitchers traded away could have been part of the process of replenishing the rotation. But they can’t help now, and Seattle has no other starting pitching prospects who appear to be on the verge of cracking the majors.

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