PEORIA, Ariz. -- Max Povse has stood out at Mariners camp from Day 1, for obvious reasons. The lanky right-hander measures 6-foot-8, which gives him a head up on much of the competition in terms of getting picked out of a crowd.But Povse, acquired from the Braves along with fellow
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Max Povse has stood out at Mariners camp from Day 1, for obvious reasons. The lanky right-hander measures 6-foot-8, which gives him a head up on much of the competition in terms of getting picked out of a crowd.
But Povse, acquired from the Braves along with fellow right-hander Rob Whalen for former first-round Draft pick Alex Jackson in November, has proven to be more than just a tall guy on the mound, as he's thrown six perfect innings in his first three Cactus League outings.
Spring results against mixed lineups can be hard to judge, but the youngster included Michael Trout and Jose Pujols among his victims in a swift three-inning relief stint in a 9-2 loss to the Angels on Sunday, which tends to validate things a little more for the Mariners' No. 6 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com.
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Povse's fastball has ticked up since his arrival as he was hitting 93-95 mph in that outing, which further intrigues the Mariners brass.
"There's a lot of things that are interesting," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "He throws strikes, first of all. There's been a little uptick in the velocity. He landed his breaking ball, he throws a good changeup. It's more sinking at the bottom of the strike zone, but yesterday he threw some four-seamers up in the zone.
"There's a lot of room for growth with him, which is exciting. You take a guy that big, and he does it pretty easy. He's not grunting it down the mound. It's coming out pretty easy."
Being 6-foot-8 comes with some natural advantages in creating a downward angle on the fastball, which Povse accentuates with an over-the-top delivery. He says he's studied other tall pitchers, like former Mariner Doug Fister, and credits tougher workouts this offseason with improving his leg strength and drive off the mound.
"It feels like it's coming out good," Povse said. "But it's a long season. So I'm happy where I'm at right now, but I've got to continue it for the long run."
A third-round Draft pick of the Braves out of the University of North Carolina-Greensboro in 2014, Povse split last season between Class A Advanced and Double-A and posted a 9-6 record and 3.36 ERA in 26 starts. He admitted to being surprised when Atlanta dealt him, but he is happy for an opportunity with the Mariners. Povse will likely open the year in Double-A Arkansas.
"I enjoyed my time in Atlanta. It was a good organization to be in," he said. "But being over here, this being my first big league camp, you get off to a good start and it gives you some confidence."
The obvious question is how a 6-foot-8 kid from North Carolina isn't playing basketball. He did play hoops in high school, but Povse gravitated toward the diamond and appears to have found his niche.
"He is from North Carolina and takes things in stride," Servais said with a smile. "He doesn't have a real fast heartbeat, I guess is the best way to put it. I've been very impressed with how he's handled camp. Coming into a new organization, sometimes you try to do too much and you press. This is just kind of who he is.
"He throws strikes and you go from there. He has been open and very receptive to a couple things [pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr.] has thrown at him. And it's paying off. He's throwing great."
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter [
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