The Indians have acquired right-handed pitching prospect Damon Casetta-Stubbs from the Mariners, the two teams announced. The move completes the clubs’ June 10 deal that sent first baseman Jake Bauers to Seattle for a player to be named later.
Casetta-Stubbs was Seattle’s 11th-round draft pick in 2018 out of a Washington high school, signing for an overslot $325K bonus. He has spent the past three years in the low minors, topping out at High-A in 2019 but pitching in Low-A to this point in 2021. While he’s only managed a 6.42 ERA in 40 2/3 innings this year, the 21-year-old has struck out a lofty 31.2% of opposing hitters, far and away a career-best mark. Casetta-Stubbs has issued way too many walks (14.5%), but he’s also keeping the ball on the ground at stellar 56.2% clip.
The uptick in strikeouts doesn’t seem to be a coincidence. In mid-May, Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs wrote that Casetta-Stubbs had improved his velocity from sitting in the low-90s to working in the 93-95 MPH range consistently. Longenhagen slotted Casetta-Stubbs as the #25 prospect in the Mariners system, suggesting he’s likely to wind up as a solid reliever at his peak based on his combination of quality stuff and subpar control. He’ll need to be added to the 40-man roster or made available in the Rule 5 draft after the 2022 season.
Bauers, meanwhile, has continued to struggle in Seattle after a poor start to the year with Cleveland. The left-handed hitter has taken 91 plate appearances as a Mariner, hitting .241/.290/.299 with a single home run.