#44 Michael Mariot
Acquired: Drafted 8th Round of 2010 Amateur Draft
From: Southlake, Texas
Mariot features a fastball that prior to the draft was believed to be a potential plus pitch by Perfect Game USA. He throws it in the low to mid 90s while exhibiting good command. Mariot also throws a change, slider, and curve that at times are average to above average offerings.
The Royals liked the Nebraska #1 entering the 2010 draft and informed him that they were planning on drafting him between the 4th and 6th rounds. For some reason this didn't happen, but the Royals must have been thrilled when Mariot was still available in round eight.
Originally I viewed Mariot as a relief option, however, for most of the season in Wilmington he was developed more like a starter. Don't be deceived by only 9 of his appearances coming in starts, because for most of the season he piggy backed with Noel Arguelles, coming in after Arguelles reached his pitch limit.
Especially comforting with Mariot is his quality command. In Wilmington Mariot walked just 1.88 per 9 innings, which compares extremely favorably with the league average of 3.21. Mariot maintained such a low BB/9 while posting quality strikeout numbers all season long. Thanks to these numbers opposing hitters only were able to post a .248/.288/.386 slash against him.
I expect Mariot to open the 2012 season in Northwest Arkansas. I'd like to see him continue to be developed as a starter, but I still see his future in middle relief.
Picture credit to Wilmington Blue Rocks' team website.