The sailors are summoned George KirbyESPN’s Jeff Bassan reports (Twitter link). Jonathan May from MLB.com chirp Earlier this afternoon, Kirby got scratched off his scheduled start with Double-A Arkansas.
When Kirby first takes the ball, it will be his first in the league. The 20th overall pick in the 2019 Draft from Elon University, the right-hander quickly blossomed into one of the best young arms in the game. A polished shooter with hard but not elite stuff, and as an amateur, Kirby has taken his rough stuff to new heights as a pro. After working with a 91-95 mph speedball in college, he pushed that speed into the 95-99 mph range in the palace.
This improved arm speed did not come at the expense of the New York native’s original control. Baseball America, FanGraphs and ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel have credited Kirby with a potential plus order (a score of 70 on a 20-80 scout scale) this past season. He is among the best setters in the minor leagues, and the combination of speed and feel of promotion has made him one of the most respected players in the sport.
BA, FanGraphs, ESPN and Keith Law of the Athletic have all ranked Kirby among the top 50 predicted teams in the game for pre-season. Baseball America was the most upbeat of the group, ranking 12th overall and bowler No. 3. Evaluators were slightly divided over the quality of his secondary performances; Most suggested that the slider and ball bend and shift were all about average, but The Bachelor rated the top 80s slider as plus-pitch. Not coincidentally, BA suggested it could have the highest spin, while FanGraphs, ESPN, and Athletic have linked it to being more of an average spin type.
Between the 2020 minor league season that was canceled and some lost time last year due to shoulder soreness, Kirby only has 115 1/3 professional innings under his belt. It shined for the time, with results to match the strong visual assessments. Kirby has an ERA between 2.30 and 2.40 in all three of his stops, including a 2.31 mark on 50 2/3 Double-A innings. 29.6% of hitters have hit this level for a meager walking average of 5.9%.
Kirby will take the rotation place for another best potential client. Matt Brash He was picked to Triple-A Tacoma and turned into a rest (at least temporarily) after struggling to throw punches over his first five starts for MLB. Kirby doesn’t think he has the same control issues out of the gate, but the initial difficulties Brasch faced are a reminder that even prospective elites often squabble over their first taste in the big leagues. There is uncertainty with any rookie, and Kirby heads into the big business without ever having a single three-stroke under his belt.
However, the sailors wouldn’t have turned to Kirby if they weren’t optimistic about his chances of him being immediately effective. Seattle had a disappointing 12-15 start, but they are looking to battle for a playoff spot this season. If Kirby can anchor the back end of the spin right out of the gate, that would go a long way toward hanging out in the MLS. The M turnover was a mixed bag at first. Logan Gilbert It was excellent. Chris Flexen It was effective, while Marco Gonzalez and signature offseason Ruby Ray let down. The last two players have had great success ahead of 2022, though, which gives M reason to expect better results over the coming months.
It’s been enough time that Kirby won’t reach a full year of service in 2022 even if his promotion proves to be permanent, giving him access to free agency after the 2028 campaign at the earliest. If he stays in the majors from now on, it will be a default lock on access to arbitration in 2025 as a Super Two qualifier. Of course, future optional assignments can affect this path of service. Kirby was not on the 40-man list, so the Mariners will need to take another step to accommodate his official selection.