Before we discuss the best tools in the Seattle Mariners organization, let me declare something here:
I left a lot of 60-grade tools and pitches on the cutting room floor, and a few 70 fastballs.
There are more 70-grade and 60-grade tools in the Top 40 this year than I’ve ever seen in my now-18 years scouting and ranking Mariners prospects.
At the height of the Jack Zduriencik era in terms of farm systems — 2013 when they ranked top 10 by most outlets, No. 8 by Keith Law — when the likes of Taijuan Walker, Mike Zunino, Danny Hultzen, Nick Franklin, and James Paxton were all Top 100 prospects by most accounts.
Looking back at my 2013 spreadsheets for Mariners rankings, Walker had the best OFP at 55, followed by Hulzen at 54, Zunino and Paxton at 52, and Franklin at 50.5. Brad Miller came in at 50, Brandon Maurer at 47.5, Luiz Gohara at 45, Gabriel Guerrero at 45 and Julio Morban at 44.
In order, that entire group of 10 would rank like this.
8. Zunino, Paxton
17. Maurer (tied)
22. Gohara, Guerrero (tied)
26. Morban (tied)
And that was the best year under the previous regime.
Want to compare to the year Dipoto took over in Seattle? Here it is against this year’s group:
This was the club’s Top 10 entering the 2016 season.
More context: In 2013 — again, Zduriencik’s best farm system by most accounts (maybe all) — My No. 23 prospect was LHP Jordan Shipers, with a 39.5 grade.
Right now I have to go 42 prospects deep to get below 40.0. There are lots of 40.0s in the 30s and 40s, but it doesn’t dip below until No. 49, catcher Matt Scheffler.
This system has changed.
Kelenic is in this conversation, as is Marte, but Trammell is the runner-up behind Clase, whose 70 speed and electric, quick-twitch actions give him a chance to stick in center for the long haul.
|Outfield Arm||Julio Rodriguez||70|
Kelenic and Braden Bishop, among others, come in around grade-60, but no one seriously threatens Rodriguez’s crown here.
|Defensive Catcher||Cal Raleigh||55|
Carter Bins isn’t far behind in tools but Raleigh is more advanced at this stage.
|Infield Arm||Milkar Perez||70|
Marte has a 60-grade arm, Aguilar too, but Juan Querecuto rivals Perez’s 70-grade.
|Defensive Infielder||Juan Querecuto||60|
Querecuto is still raw at the plate but is instinctual in the field, has very good hands and feet, and that big arm to finish off plays.
|Defense Outfielder||Braden Bishop||70|
Bishop’s heart rate is undetectable as he plays center field, showing elite routes and tracking skills and very good jumps. He also has a good arm.
|Fastest Baserunner||Jonatan Clase||70|
Despite going from 155 pounds to the 185 range since he last took the field in the DSL in 2019, Clase still is explosive with his first step and accelerates to game-changing speed within a few steps. He might not hold this crown a year from now with the club’s international efforts recently, but no one else is all that close at the moment.
Prior to his elbow surgery, Munoz sat 96-100 mph and touched 103 mph in his short time in the big leagues. Of the 185 fastballs he’s thrown in MLB, 128 have registered at 100 mph or higher. Oh, and the pitch has life and run, too. **shrugs**
If we split it up between pitching roles, Logan Gilbert would get the honor for starters thanks to life and run on what projects to average around 94 mph.
Gilbert and Brandon Williamson would win the award for starters, and Williamson’s breaker has room to surpass both. Delaplane’s is a tight-spinning power curveball with late downward break, capable of generating whiffs in the big leagues.
Yohan Ramirez has the best slider among relievers, but Hancock’s 60-grade can be dominant when he’s tunnelling with his fastball and changeup.
Hancock’s changeup belongs in the conversation for runner-up, but Stoudt has a chance at an eventual 70-grade dead fish.
Kirby has plus-plus control and plus command of his fastball and uses the skills to attack the entire zone and beyond with purpose.
Jason A. Churchill
Latest posts by Jason A. Churchill (see all)
- The Mariners need more offense: Here’s who can help - October 5, 2021
- Mariners Prospects of the Year: Under-the-Radar Trade Acquisition and High-Ceiling Bat Show Off in 2021 - September 29, 2021
- Prospect Report: Arm strength, trade returns, corner infielders - September 6, 2021
- When this season’s top contenders made the jump - August 17, 2021