Seattle Mariners top catching prospect Harry Ford has been drawing rave reviews so far this spring down in Peoria, Arizona. Daniel Kramer of MLB.com wrote about how Ford is using the opportunity to take in all of the sights, sounds, and experiences of being in big league camp.
As a first timer in big league camp, Ford is getting the chance to learn from multiple big league catchers who have had success at the Major League level. He gets to see how Cal Raleigh and Tom Murphy prepare for a season behind the plate and how they handle pitchers. According to Kramer, he is trying to carve out his routine and has benefited greatly from the guidance and leadership of Raleigh and Murphy.
Kramer also points out that Ford will be at the crux of the game calling and planning that Great Britain will be preparing in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. The 20-year-old will have his work cut our for him against the star studded United States team on Saturday March 11. He will also face some established big leaguers like veterans Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn as well as nasty reliever Devin Williams. It will certainly be a challenge for the young Ford, but he should benefit greatly from the experience.
Jason A. Churchill expects that Ford will start the 2023 season in High-A Everett, so fans should go out to see him if they can get the chance to this season. Kramer thinks that if Ford can repeat his offensive success from last season, he could aggressively be promoted to Double-A. He might have to hit the cover off the ball for the Aqua Sox to get promoted to Double-A, but Ford certainly has the talent to do it.
Mariners Draft Spotlight
Now that the college baseball season has kicked off, we finally have some real life baseball performances to talk about. A player who had a standout opening weekend was Maryland middle-infielder Matt Shaw. The 5-foot-11 righty went 6-for-12 with two doubles, and a home run. He also went two for two on stolen base attempts, struck out twice and walked twice.
Not only did he impress this past weekend, but he has two very good statistical seasons under his belt so far at Maryland. in 2021 he hit .332 in 45 games with a .408 on base percentage and a .543 slugging percentage. Then to follow that up he slashed .290/.381/.604 with 22 home runs and 67 RBI in 60 games last season. Things are looking up for the 21-year-old, and may be an intriguing college middle infielder for the Mariners to draft this summer.
Joe Doyle, Draft Director at Prospects Live praised the fast hands of Shaw last weekend.
Matt Shaw. The hands. They are electric. pic.twitter.com/YWEAFD8FFz
— Joe Doyle (@JoeDoyleMiLB) February 18, 2023
Some prospect rankings differ on where they have him ranked. Prospects Live has him as high as number 11, while MLB Pipeline has Shaw 20th, so he may be an option for the Mariners in the early 20s. Prospects Live said he has the chance of, “developing into a Kike Hernandez type pro.” That would certainly be a valuable player for the Mariners to have coming up through their system. They do not have much infield depth in the high minors. According to MLB Pipeline, there is not a single infield prospect who is has played at a level higher than High-A ball. Therefore adding a college infielder would give the Mariners hope for some help in just a few years at the big league level.
High school baseball is also right around the corner in the Pacific Northwest, with practices beginning this Monday February 27th. One of the top high school arms in the class may be available for the Mariners at the end of the first round, and that is Oregon high schooler Noble Meyer. He is a 6-foot-5 righty from Jesuit high school in Portland, Oregon, the same high school that Mick Abel attended.
Ranked 22nd overall on Prospects Live’s board, they say, “he checks a lot of the boxes.” With a fastball that touches 98 and his delivery has some deception, that is a pretty good starting point for the teenager. He also features a slider and changeup in his arsenal, and it will be fun to watch a local kid draw draft buzz from around the game.
Mariners Make Minor League Moves
The Seattle Mariners announced that they signed veteran outfielder Kole Calhoun to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training. He will most likely serve as depth in camp now that Taylor Trammell is out for a chunk of time with a broken bone in his hand. Calhoun has been around the A.L. West a lot in his career, having played for the Angels and Rangers. If the Mariners have more injuries to the outfield mix, they now will have a veteran who has been around the division a lot, who brings some veteran leadership to the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers more than likely.
The club also announced that they signed Kean Wong to a minor league contract. He is the brother of Kolten Wong, and has had a few short stints in the big leagues. However he has mostly spent his time in Triple-A with the Angels and Rays affiliates. He should be a depth player with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers.
Mariners Prospects in the News
The MLB Pipeline team highlighted the prospect in each organization that they believe is the “best pure hitting prospect”, and the Mariners prospect added 15 pounds of muscle this offseason according to the article.
The hype train for Bryce Miller continues on down the tracks as Ryan Divish is the latest to write about the ascending right hander.
NESN wrote about a minor league flame thrower that is catching attention in big league camp for the first time.
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