George Kirby, RHP, SEA

Ready to meet your next great pitching prospect? Yes, I am talking to you, Mariners fans…

Video courtesy of Baseball America
  • Born: February 4, 1998
  • B/T: Right/Right
  • 6’4″, 215-lbs
  • Drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 2019 MLB June Amateur Draft from Elon University (Elon, NC)

The Numbers

His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:

George Kirby hit the ground so firmly they had to reinforce the road. In 2019 he faced 89 batters in professional ball, and he walked exactly none of them. Yeah.

So he goes up to High-A in 2021, cranks up the strikeouts, grudgingly gives up a few walks, laughs at his WHIP and then moves up to Double-A as an age-appropriate 23-year-old (curse you, lost 2020!)

Facing 110 batters in Double-A, he again throws a few walks the scorer’s way and strikes out enough to keep this blue (this is a clean site, so if I talk about working blue, I mean it’s in the Good category, so calm down).

All in all, nothing he’s done since being drafted has scared anyone away from his talent and potential.

He gave up one home run all year. I guess you could say lefties at Double-A got to him with that 2.14 WHIP. But it’s in just 7 IP and 35 batters faced, and even then his strikeout-to-walk ratio was 3-to-1. Hits gonna happen from time to time.

Meanwhile lefties in High-A started wondering if baseball was really their destiny.

Let’s get a look at Kirby from Eric Longenhagen at FanGraphs in April of 2021:

I had only ever seen Kirby throw in bullpens and side sessions at the Mariners’ complex before this week when he pitched in a co-op game. It was comforting to see him throw as hard in games as he does in that setting, and Kirby attacked hitters while sitting 96-99 (at times with cut action) for a couple of innings. I think the quality of his secondary pitches is more middling and limits his upside, but the velocity/command/sequencing troika still points to a mid-rotation future. – Eric Longenhagen, 4/7/2021

Even when he’s downplaying his secondaries, Eric still thinks of him as having mid-rotation potential! We’ll talk about the rest of his comment later.

The Scouts

Warnings

Uh…the secondaries got better reports later in the season, but I guess if you have to criticize something maybe that’s it.

Uh…maybe we watch if lefties hit him hard in Triple-A or something.

Uh…can he crank up the strikeouts a bit more — oh, I got nothing!

Conclusion

This kid is the real deal. His command is otherworldly, and he combines that with almost triple-digit heat. Plus he knows how to pitch and how to sequence his pitches. There’s really nothing not to like. I mean, he’s got height, he’s got a repeatable delivery, he has a clean delivery. Do you want him to rescue kittens from trees too?

This is what a top pitching prospect looks like. I suppose health could derail him as it could any pitcher. But mostly he’s going to reach the majors, and he’s going to dominate in the majors. The only question is will he be mid-rotation or top-of-the-rotation.

Don’t judge on first impressions when he gets called up. If a few balls get through the infield, don’t worry. He’s got the tools, the skills, the pitchability, the body, and the mindset to be a great pitcher. Count on it.

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