Max Povse was acquired by the Mariners on November 28, 2016, along with right-hander Rob Whalen, from the Braves in exchange for former M’s first-rounder in 2014, C/OF Alex Jackson and a player to be named later (which turned out to be left-hander Tyler Pike). Povse began 2017 at Double-A Arkansas as a starter, and he’s since made appearances at Triple-A Tacoma, and for the big league club in a relief role.
Povse displayed a four-seam and two-seam fastball that both sat 94-to-96 mph with steep downhill plane that he creates from his 3/4’s arm slot and 6’8’’ frame. His velocity has played up in shorter stints, as it usually sat 90-to-92 mph as a starter. The two-seamer also had some late arm-side run. He displayed average command and plus control (career 2.18 BB/9) of both offerings during this viewing, changing the hitter’s eye level and eliciting weak contact.
Povse’s best secondary offering is his changeup. The pitch has significant fade and plays well off his fastball despite a lack of velocity separation (87-to-89 mph) due to the deception added by his arm action. The changeup grades as plus because of the movement, and his ability to command it in the zone.
His other secondary pitch was a curveball that sat 80-to-81 mph, that he used mostly as a get-me-over, but he also used it for put-away on occasion. It had 11-to-5 break, but he showed more slurvy version when using it for put-away. The pitch lacks sharp bite, but he was able to throw it for strikes. It seems as though the M’s are committed to Povse as a reliever at this point in time, however he’ll need to improve the curveball should he convert back to a starting role.
With two above-average offerings and plus control as a reliever, Povse has the makings of a Role 60, eighth-inning setup man. If he is stretched back out, he has a ceiling as a Role 50, number four or five starter. It’s probable he rejoins the M’s bullpen when rosters expand September 1.