Sailors open spring training complex to fans
PEORIA, Ariz. — After nearly two full years — 724 days to be exact — Mariners fans will once again be allowed to walk through the side door of the team’s spring training complex and wander into the backyards to watch daily baseball practices.
The Mariners have announced that the complex will be open to fans from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. MST, beginning Saturday morning and through the remainder of minor league spring training, April 3.
Fans have not been allowed access to the complex’s backfields since Major League Baseball canceled spring training on March 12, 2020, as a precaution due to COVID-19.
After playing a shortened 2020 season without fans for the regular season, MLB has decided not to allow fans into team complexes out of safety for players who often have to walk among fans to get to certain areas. of the complex.
With more than 90% of Mariners minor league players fully vaccinated and COVID-19 cases slowly declining, safety guidelines don’t have to be so strict. The Mariners haven’t issued any backcourt rules, but marked off areas — like in previous years — have been put in place to maintain distance for players.
Of course, these workouts will only feature minor league players. With MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association locked in a bitter battle over a new collective bargaining agreement, and MLB owners instituting a player lockout Dec. 2, big league players and prospects minor leaguers on the 40-man roster, including top prospect Julio Rodriguez, are not allowed on the premises.
Still, for fans who are interested in the future of the organization and want to see big leaguers or potential stars up close, or for fans who just miss baseball, practices offer a chance to see baseball from close.
According to multiple outlets, the Mariners have one of the best farming systems in MLB — ranked No. 1 by Baseball America and No. 2 by The Athletic and Baseball Prospectus and No. 6 by ESPN — led by the ultra-talented Rodriguez , who looks like a budding star and is considered one of the top three prospects in all of baseball.
To protect him from a Rule 5 draft that may not happen now because of the lockout, the Mariners were forced to put Rodriguez on the 40-player roster in December, making him part of the MLBPA and ineligible. to participate.
But looking at the Mariners’ top 30 prospects in the organization by MLB Pipeline, only Rodriguez (#1), right-handed pitcher Matt Brash (#10), right-handed pitcher Juan Then (#14), outfielder Alberto Rodriguez (#21) and left-handed pitcher Aaron Fletcher (#23) are on the 40-man roster.
That leaves a slew of prospects in the camps, including top pitching prospect George Kirby, who is ranked 12th overall MLB prospect by Baseball America and leads a group of hard-hitting prospects. Fans will also be wowed by Noelvi Marte, the 20-year-old shortstop prospect that Baseball America ranks as the No. 18 prospect in baseball.
Kirby threw a fastball that hit 98 mph and a vanishing change during a live batting practice Thursday while Marte provided jaw-dropping moments during the current minor league minicamp, including including a laser one homer against the Padres in a scrimmage game.
Speaking of games, the minor league spring training games start March 14. But details as to the exact locations of the games and whether fans will be able to attend – they usually take place in the afternoon after morning practices – have yet to be determined by everyone. team.
Other Seattle top 30 prospects who will participate in practices:
- No. 4: Emerson Hancock, RHP
- No. 5: Harry Ford, C
- No. 6: Zach DeLoach, DE
- No. 7. Brandon Williamson, LHP
- No. 8: Connor Phillips, RHP
- No. 9: Levi Stoudt, RHP
- No. 11: Edwin Arroyo, SS
- No. 12: Adam Macko, LHP
- No. 13: Milkar Perez, 3B
- No. 15: Michael Morales, RHP
- No. 16: Starlin Aguilar, 3B
- No. 17: Gabriel Gonzalez, OF
- No. 18: Isaiah Campbell, RHP
- #19: Kaden Polcovich, SS-2B
- No. 20: Bryce Miller, RHP
- No. 22: Jonatan Clase, OF
- No. 24: Sam Carlson, RHP
- #25: Taylor Dollard, RHP
- No. 26: Tyler Keenan, 1B-3B
- No. 27: Cade Marlowe, OF
- No. 28: Patrick Frick, SS
- No. 29: Luis Bolivar, OF
- No. 30: Juan Pinto, LHP
The Mariners saw two players suspended for violating the minor league drug prevention and treatment program.
Right-handed pitcher Luiz Baez received a 60-game suspension for testing positive for Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of the program.
Bernie Martinez, also a right-handed pitcher, received an 80-game suspension after testing positive for LGD-4033 and Ostarine, performance-enhancing substances in violation of the program.
Baez, 21, was 2-2 with a 5.08 ERA in appearances for the Arizona Complex League Mariners in 2021. In 28 1/3 innings, he struck out 41 batters and walked 31.
Martinez, 25, pitched in 28 games for three different affiliates, posting a 4-2 record with a 7.31 ERA. In 56 2/3 innings, he struck out 52 batters with 23 walks. He pitched most of the season at High-A Everett, making 25 appearances where he had a 6.70 ERA. He was an undrafted free agent who left Incarnate Word University in 2019.