Seattle Mariners prospect Dylan Unsworth was the starting pitcher for the South African team in their game against the Israeli team in Jupiter Florida. The tournament limits pitchers to 85 pitches and that got Unsworth threw 6 innings. The game didn’t start off that well for Unsworth, as a first inning fastball inside on right-hander Nate Freiman, a large 1st baseman that is a pretty impressive slugger, was hit for a long homer. He really settled down after that, as that was the only run he gave up as he gave up 5 hits in those 6 innings, walking none with 6 strikeouts.
He threw a lot of 85-86 (up to 87) MPH moving fastballs that broke in to righties. It was rather consistent in the first few frames (although it wavered) and jammed right-handers. He seemed effective against lefties with the pitch, especially Shawn Green (!). This was the pitch he threw the most.
Less often (it seemed like he just threw a few in the 2nd inning), Unsworth threw a 89-90 MPH traditional 4 seam fastball.
As you would expect with that velocity, he threw a lot of changeups (sometimes broke like a slider and has two plane break at times) in the mid to high 70s (a lot of 78s and 79s). You can see the movement, but he didn’t have a lot of control over it. It is a pitch he can get lefties out with.
The slow curve sits in the low 70s. He didn’t throw it that often, and when he did, it was with 2 strikes or when he was way ahead. It has good loop and is more than a “get me over pitch”, although he didn’t really bury it. It could be a really good pitch for him.
Nothing Unsworth throws is really straight. The competition he was facing was probably a little better than the competition he faced with Everett, and he was able to avoid at-bats where hitter were able to repeatedly foul off pitches (in essence, he was able to put hitters away). He relies more on weak contact than strikeouts (although he got those too), but despite not having the best control of his off-speed pitches, he didn’t walk batters. He was clearly pitching to contact and has really straight forward and simple mechanics.
He had a little bit of bad luck, as a couple grounders that should have been turned into outs were “hits” and then another weak grounder to 3rd was an error. There was some good luck though, as Frieman nearly hit another homer in the 6th but it went just foul. Frieman would hit a deep fly-ball later in the at-bat. Here is the spray chart the Israeli hitters had off Unsworth (the big dot is just the last out):
This is my first time to see Unsworth (When Everett was on MiLB.TV, he didn’t pitch). Right-handers with below average velocity have to really show a lot to be considered a real prospect, but there are the very occasional one that is effective. They do this with good movement and good control. He definitely has the movement and a solid array of pitches that he has confidence in. When he throws the high straight fastball to lefties, it isn’t going to work. He threw it mainly down, and he is going to have to continue to do so. His command/control isn’t great, he will have to harness the movement on his pitches. However, he pitched this year in short season ball and is all of 19 years old. His delivery is solid and it should help him gain control as he is really athletic looking (something that scouts look at when projecting pitchers). However, he is tad short (6-1 175) for a right-handed pitcher and that may raise some flags. Scouts and talent evaluators really like tall right-handers, as they do a better job of consistently commanding their pitches and getting on top of the ball. Unsworth threw a lot of pitches low, so perhaps that won’t be a problem. I like him a lot more now that I’ve seen him in person. When I heard reports that he is a right-hander that throws 89-90 MPH, I assumed the decent statistics he had put up in Pulaski and Everett over the last couple of years were fluky and that he wasn’t a real prospect. I think he is a real prospect now. It did seem like hitters were hitting the ball better against him the 2nd time around (which is normal, but the difference seemed drastic enough to note), which is something you worry about with a guy that has a lack of “stuff” (Unsworth has “stuff” as far as movement goes, but doesn’t have “stuff” as far as velocity goes). The 85-86 MPH 2 seamer cannot be his feature pitch, especially when he makes mistakes with it. He needs to throw the 4-seamer more, along with the curve. If he does and gets command of them, he could be at the very least a average to slightly above average pitcher in the Majors (but command will dictate how far he goes more than a pitcher with average to above average velocity).
Former Mariner draft pick (5th round in 2008) Brett Lorin pitched for Israel as a reliever and was throwing 90-92 MPH with a little bit of tail and sink. He was traded by the Mariners to Pittsburgh in 2009 in the Jack Wilson/Ian Snell deal. He spent this year (at age 25) with the Diamondbacks AA (the team that beat the Mariners AA in the championship), and was not very good mainly as a starter with a 2.00 K/BB ratio (6.1 K/9IP) and 1.1 HR/9IP.
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Favorite general sports moment: The Texas versus USC college football national championship comes to mind, as does Gary Matthews Jr. catch on July 1st 2006.
Favorite Seattle Sports Moment: King Felix throwing a perfect game against the Rays
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