TODAY: The Mariners made the move official, selecting Woo’s contract and placing Gonzales on the 15-day IL with a forearm strain. To clear room for Woo on the 40-man roster, right-hander Easton McGee was transferred to the 60-day IL.
June 2: The Mariners are calling up pitching prospect Bryan Woo to start tomorrow’s game against the Rangers, tweets Corey Brock of the Athletic. Left-hander Marco Gonzales was slated to start but has been scratched with a forearm issue. It seems likely he’ll hit the 15-day injured list in a corresponding move, though that hasn’t yet been announced.
Woo, 23, is in the majors for the first time. A sixth round pick in 2021 out of Cal Poly, Woo has significantly elevated his stock in pro ball. He posted huge strikeout numbers in the low minors last season, cementing himself as one of the better prospects in the Seattle farm system. Baseball America slotted Woo seventh among M’s prospects over the offseason, praising his three-pitch arsenal and athleticism.
BA suggests Woo could settle in as a back-of-the-rotation starter at his peak. Keith Law of the Athletic credited Woo with mid-rotation upside but suggested spotty command could eventually push him towards a relief role. He’ll break into the big leagues as a starter, making the jump directly past Triple-A in the process.
The right-hander has made nine starts for Double-A Arkansas on the season. He’s posted a brilliant 2.05 ERA through 44 innings with an excellent 34% strikeout rate. Woo has kept his free passes to a 7% clip, a particularly promising development considering the strike-throwing questions some evaluators expressed over the winter.
Seattle has already gotten strong results from one rookie righty this season. Bryce Miller has excelled through six starts, adding an exciting complement to their already fantastic trio of Luis Castillo, George Kirby and Logan Gilbert. Gonzales has had a tougher go as the fifth starter, posting a 5.22 ERA over 50 innings.
While Gonzales has never missed many bats, he’s posted solid back-of-the-rotation numbers for the bulk of his Seattle tenure. He’s an excellent strike-thrower and has typically been durable. He missed around a month during the 2021 season with a forearm strain, however, and he’s again battling forearm issues. The extent of the injury is to be determined, as Brock notes he’s headed for further evaluation.
Chris Flexen filled in the rotation earlier this season. He struggled and was moved to the bullpen and fared much better in long relief. Flexen hasn’t pitched in four days and could’ve been an option to take a spot start in Gonzales’ stead, but the M’s have elected to dip into their farm system for one of their most talented young arms.
Woo won’t reach a full year of service time even if he’s up for good. He’ll be controllable through at least 2029 and wouldn’t qualify for arbitration until after the 2025 season at the earliest. Additional minor league assignments could push that timeline back.
The Mariners will need to formally add him to the 40-man roster tomorrow. Seattle is technically at capacity but could move either of Dylan Moore or Robbie Ray to the 60-day injured list without issue. Moore has already spent more than two months on the shelf; Ray is out for the season.