The Seattle Mariners front office announced on Thursday that top prospects: Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton will be sent to the minor leagues, but the less-heralded Brandon Maurer remains in major league camp.
Maurer has been very impressive this spring, logging ten innings and only allowing one earned run. In 2012 he was the fourth starter in Double-A Jackson, behind the “big three” and he pitched just as well if not better than the three top prospects, going 9-2 with a 3.20 ERA in 24 starts.
Although he has been overshadowed by the “big three”, Maurer is still rated as the 10th best prospect (according to mlb.com) in the Mariners minor league system.
Maurer features a fastball that sits in the mid-90s, but has been clocked at 96. He has used his secondary stuff very well also, featuring a slider that projects to be above average and very good curveball. Although Maurer is more of a contact pitcher he still struck out 117 batters in 137 innings pitched last season.
GM Jack Zduriencik will have no problem putting Maurer on the opening day roster because he does not have the high ceiling or upside that the other prospects have and it would not be as risky.
Maurer is about as MLB ready as he can get at this point; he has pitched four full minor league seasons and has seen a good amount success at every level.
Going into the spring RHP Erasmo Ramirez was probably the front-runner for the fifth spot, but Maurer has pitched well enough that manager Eric Wedge should seriously consider him at the back-end of this rotation.