We've been working this angle for a few years now, in trades and through the draft. We do it mostly with relievers but we're not afraid of short starters either. Recent Mariners players around 6 feet tall off the top of my head:
- Ruffin (one of the key pieces in the Fister trade, bless his heart)
- Erasmo (not well liked by The Pencil, so we swapped him for somebody taller who could get a rotation look)
- Sanchez (RIP)
- Recent draftees Altavilla (Starting and succeeding in the Cal League), Kerski (relieving and succeeding in the MWL), Cochran-Gill (killed Bakersfield out of the pen, struggled w/ control in Jackson), Paul Fry (the lefty kid striking out 12 per 9 while looking like a grocery bagger)...
Zokan and Horstman are about that size too, IIRC, and then there's this year's crop of arms in the 6 foot range (Jio Orozco's that size as well, as are some more relievers). The Ms obviously believe this is a market inefficiency given the fascination with "Downward plane" and the effect it has on hitters (see: Fister, Doug and the way his fastball appears when he's throwing it down at them from atop a 2 story building).
Does 96 from a guy who's 6 feet tall look as impressive as one from a dude standing 6'7? Probably not. But Colon and Pedro got by all right early in their careers anyway. Pedro's pitch movement was insane, of course - but Neidert can get a mid-90s FB to swerve up to the plate still, and his breaking ball breaks too much right now to control. He has great movement and velo already and if he's not done growing, I'm sticking with my mold-of-Chris-Archer schtick.
Moore doesn't throw that hard, but that doesn't make him a #6 starter. The smack talk about how "4-pitch pitcher is code for no-plus attributes" is just weird to me. I really can't wait to see Moore in the minors - "plus pitchability" is still a plus attribute, and his stuff isn't exactly pathetic.
We'll see if the Ms can exploit this one. So far, we've had a few short relievers make good but nobody else has really broken through. If this draft is gonna really pay off, a couple of the short guys are gonna have to come through for us. We obviously believe they can, and that's not a new thing for our org.