It’s the 10th annual Prospect Insider Seattle Mariners prospect rankings. A few things you should know before continuing:
- Ceiling/potential value is only part of the equation. Probability, among other things, also is a significant factor.
- The player’s likely future role can dictate his value as much as his chances to get to the majors or his upside.
- While I do not crawl into each organization’s farm systems with a microscope, I did have numerous conversations about where the weakest Mariners system in some time fits in baseball right now. Keith Law and Baseball America have Seattle at No. 28. While I don’t necessarily disagree, I do like the Mariners system better than five others; Angels, Marlins, Tigers, Orioles and White Sox.
- I value upside more than simple depth, and if the ‘depth’ in question carries more risk than anything else, it’s not really depth.
- I greatly value the reliable information I can gather on a player’s offseason training habits and how he handles himself between games during the season.
- Simply put, the same bat at a premium position is more valuable. The position tree: catcher, shortstop, second base, center field, third base, right field, left field, first base.
- Pitcher prospects carrying the high probability of late-inning relief work are not typically as valuable as potential starters, even if they’re chances of getting to the majors are greater, and/or they are closer to the big leagues. A potential setup man or closer with a 2016 ETA, however, may very well be more valuable than a high-risk, medium reward starter who is four-plus years away.
- The potential for superstardom, all-stardom and average everyday contributions far outweighs a high probability fringe regular. The whole point of a farm system is to avoid free agency as much as possible to maintain great financial flexibility to supplement a good club and make them World Series contenders. Fringe-regular talents are a dime a dozen. The lone possible exceptions are catchers, in which a case-by-case basis will be utilized.
- It’s important to keep in mind that organizational rankings or individual rankings are no guarantee of anything whatsoever. For example, go check out Baseball America’s org rankings. They also display that club’s ranking the past five years. Many of the top 10 ranked systems from 2011 and 2012 did absolutely nothing toward winning. The Braves ranked No. 2 in 2011, haven’t done squat with that group and now are rebuilding. Colorado ranked No. 10 — they haven’t been any good for years. Same with the Reds, who ranked No. 6 in 2011 and No. 7 in 2012. The Rays have actually gotten worse since ranking No. 3 in 2011 and No. 4 in 2013. This isn’t to say BA is bad at rankings — FTR, Keith Law is far and away the best in the business of talent evaluation in all facets, individual and team — it’s simply proof that good farm systems only mean something if the front office knows how to get the talents developed and knows how to use the good, solid farm system. Kansas City is a great example of that. The New York Yankees, No. 5 in 2011, No. 6 in 2012, are not.
- Below are the Top 25 prospects in the Seattle Mariners organization. Take note that there are two grades listed for each tool. The first is present showing, the second is ceiling. It is NOT the most likely outcome.
- Click on the player’s name for scouting report and tools grades.
- Luis Rengifo, 2B
Switch hitter, pounds fastballs, solid hands and arm.
- Luis Liberato, CF
Possesses solid tools that show average in games. Lacks instincts at plate, in field.
- Adrian Sampson, RHP
Low three-quarters slot, 89-93 mph fastball, average mid-80 slider, firm changeup. Fits well in relief role.
- Marcus Littlewood, C
Converted shortstop; on track for a chance at big-league defense. Bat still inconsistent but shows patience.
- Juan De Paula, RHP
Has performed in DSL with above-average velocity, fringe secondaries that need a lot of refinement, but gets good spin on breaking ball.
- Austin Cousino, CF
Strong defender, runner; has line-drive swing, power hitter’s game plan.
- Tyler Pike, LHP
The hope is Pike can fix his delivery and get back on track; solid-average arsenal including big-league curveball and changeup.
- Dario Pizzano, OF/1B
Hit tool shows in games, average power, too, but has no position; 2016 a big year for him.
- Paul Fry, LHP
Sits 90-93 mph with solid-average slider and 55-60 command. Chance to see majors in 2016.
- Tim Lopes, 2B
Short on physical tools — fringe-average across the board with no power — but good feel, can handle second base, work counts.
- Ramon Morla, RHP
Former third baseman; Up to 99 mph with short but effective slider. Had Tommy John surgery in 2014.
- Joe DeCarlo, 3B
Three tools show — 55 run, 60 arm, 65 raw power — the latter not yet in games due to 30 hit tool.
- Rayder Ascanio, SS
Not much to dream on at the plate, but above-average runner and plus glove at short.
- Ismerling Mota, C
Good receiver, has the arm strength. Considered solid all-around offensive threat. Years away.
- Matt Anderson, RHP
Purely in a relief role Anderson sits 90-93 mph, touching 95. Slider flashes plus, command still below-average.
- Mayckol Guaipe, RHP
Poor man’s Yoervis Medina stuff wise; better control, same poor command that dooms him.
- Steve Baron, C
Swing still needs work but Baron has come a long way. Defensively he can do the job; Works, smart, understands the game very well.
- Carlos Misell, RHP
Bullpen piece masquerading in the rotation for now; 89-92 mph, changeup, slider; Velo may play up in shorter stints due to arm speed.
- Emilio Pagan, RHP
Two average or better pitches, plus control, 40-45 command. Chance at middle-relief role by 2017.
- Zack Littell, RHP
Raw stuff remains unpolished, but up to 95 mph with improved delivery and changeup.
- Kyle Wilcox, RHP
Up to 97 mph with life and deceptive arm action. Could move quickly.
- Danny Hultzen, LHP
Without knowing his health status and long-term role (for now he’ll pitch in relief in attempt to simply get him back on the mound and keep him there), his value is impossible to infer.
- David Rollins, LHP
Rollins touched 94 mph and flashes a quality slider but the ceiling likely sits somewhere between the taxi-squad and middle reliever.
- Leurys Vargas, 1B
Vargas, now 19, is a strong, left-handed hitter with plus raw power. He’s still learning to make contact and hit a snag in 2015 with breaking balls. The swing is long, but the Mariners’ staff already has helped Vargas make an adjustment, and that likely continues.
|Gone From System/Off Radar/Graduated
- Trey Cochran-Gill, RHP — Traded to Oakland for RHP Evan Scribner.
- Daniel Missaki, RHP — Traded to Milwaukee for 1B Adam Lind.
- Freddy Peralta, RHP — Traded to Milwaukee for 1B Adam Lind.
- Enyel De Los Santos, RHP — Traded with IF Nelson Ward to San Diego for RHP Joaquin Benoit.
- Carlos Herrera, RHP — Traded to Milwaukee for 1B Adam Lind.
- Tyler Olson, LHP — Traded to L.A. Dodgers for PTBNL/cash. Now with New York Yankees.
- Jabari Blash, RF — Rule 5 pick by Oakland. Now with San Diego Padres.
- Erick Mejia, 2B/SS — Traded to San Diego for RHP Joe Wieland.
- Ji-Man Choi, 1B — Signed with Baltimore Orioles as minor league free agent.
- Jack Reinheimer, SS — Traded to Arizona May, 2015 with OF Gabriel Guerrero, RHP Dom Leone for 1B Mark Trumbo.
- Gabriel Guerrero, RF — Traded to Arizona, May, 2015 with IF Jack Reinheimer, RHP Dom Leone for 1B Mark Trumbo.
- John Hicks, C — Designated for assignment, claimed by Minnesota Twins.
- Patrick Kivlehan, OF — Traded to Texas Rangers with RHP Tom Wilhelmsen, OF James Jones for RHP Anthony Bass, CF Leonys Martin.
- Jabari Henry, OF
- Leon Landry, CF
- Jose Leal, OF
- Stephen Landazuri, RHP
- Julio Morban, OF
- Corey Simpson, RF
- Jochi Ogando, RHP
- Ketel Marte, SS
- Mike Montgomery, LHP
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Publisher, Executive Editor, Director of Analysis
Jason founded Prospect Insider in 2006 after getting his start at Inside the Park three years prior. He spent years covering prep, college and pro sports for several news outlets, both local and national, including MLB.com and ESPN Insider. He served as co-host of the afternoon drive show on 1090 The Fan CBS Sports Radio from 2013-2015. He's not done podcasting yet and now serves as managing editor at HEROSports.com.