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10. George Feliz, CF | R/R | 9.21.02 | 5-11 / 170
Feliz swung and missed a too often in 2021 (23.5% K), but also drew plenty of bases on balls (10.7%), and showed more pop than expected (.451 SLG), so I still have more than enough confidence in the bat.
He’s a plus defender at a premium spot and projects to stay in center long-term, thanks to natural instincts and plus speed.
Initially, there were some Victor Robles comps tossed on Feliz, but he may be a more physical hitter than anticipated, garnering a few Austin Jackson comps now, too. I still see Ender Inciarte and Andres Torres in film study, but with some power upside neither displayed at the big-league level.
On the upside, Feliz is Andrew McCutchen lite, though for now his value is more attached to his speed and defense than some of other top 15 prospects. His ranking is a bit more volatile than anyone else in the top 10, but his floor is respectable, and he’ll spend all of 2022 in the states at 19 years of age. If he reaches Modesto, he’s right on track.
ROLE: Regular CF
COMPS: Ender Inciarte, Victor Robles, Austin Jackson
9. Adam Macko, LHP | L/L | 12.30.00 | 6-1 / 175
For some, the knocks on Macko are the sleight 6-foot, 175-pound frame and below-average control. But I see plus athleticism and arm speed, increased velocity and overall stuff, and a 21-year-old that has a chance to reach Double-A in 2022.
Macko is up to 95 mph with two promising breaking balls and a changeup that needs significant improvement. But the velo isn’t consistent yet, and the lefty will have to throw more strikes to remain a rotation candidate.
After missing all of 2020 with everyone else in the minors and managing just 33.1 innings in 2021, there are workload hurdles to clear on top of the developmental ones, particularly when it comes to the increased heat.
As a raw pitching prospect, it’s still a plus athlete with a 60-grade curveball and life on the fastball, and while there’s still time for him to answer the questions attached to his profile, 2022 is a pretty big year for Macko.
8. Levi Stoudt, RHP | R/R | 12.4.97 | 6-1 / 200
Stoudt, 24, is a four-pitch right-hander with a plus fastball into the mid-90s and touching 98 with hop and arm side run. The best secondary is a firm (84-88) Vulcan-grip changeup that flashes plus and may end up a 70-grade offering.
Stoudt’s slider ticked up in 2021, but it’s still an average pitch, and his curveball remains below average entering this season. The easy projection here is a late-inning reliever, but the fastball has too much value and the slider too much promise to banish Stoudt to such a role just yet, especially considering there were times a year ago the slider was big-league average.
He’s a good athlete with a simple, repeatable delivery, suggesting better control and command is in the offing.
Stoudt likely starts 2022 in Double-A Arkansas and has a chance to see the majors by year’s end in a relief role, but a bit more consistency in pounding the zone could get him there as a starter early in 2023.
7. Matt Brash, RHP | R/R | 5.12.98 | 6-1 / 185
Brash owns the best pitch in the system in a sharp, power slider (84-89), inducing whiffs at will and working very well in combo with his 93-97 mph fastball. He’ll touch 98 with the heat and there’s some zip up in the zone and to his arm side.
But entering 2022 it’s mostly a two-pitch arsenal, suggesting a long-term bullpen role for the right-hander. But the changeup has shown more current value and projection than some seem to be crediting and his best two offerings have dominated left-handed batters.
Brash will need to throw more strikes, specifically early to avoid hitter’s counts, if he’s to stick as a starter, and he’ll need the changeup to some extent in order to get through lineups two-plus times per outing, so he’s not a finished product by any stretch.
He could help out of the bullpen right from the start this season, but if the Mariners see as much upside in Brash the starter as I do he’ll start the season in Triple-A Tacoma’s rotation working on efficiency, command, and the changeup with a chance to help the parent club in either role by June or July.
6. Brandon Williamson, LHP | 4.2.98 | 6-6 / 215
Williamson touches 95 mph to set up three quality secondaries and employs a high three-quarter slot. He stays closed consistently, creating some deception through release, and his arm speed is consistent with all four offerings.
The lefty throws everything downhill, and showed in 2021 he could work effectively up in the zone with the fastball, which sets up his plus curveball (79-83) to lefties and righties alike. The slider (84-87) is a sweeping breaker which took a big step forward last season and is now a legit consistent weapon for Williamson.
He also throws a projectable changeup that flashed average in 2021, completing a repertoire that should keep the TCU product in the rotation for the majority of his career.
Williamson has scraped 97 mph with his four-seamer and often hit 93-95, but had games a year ago he was mostly 90-92, raising questions about the value of the pitch long-term. But it’s not just about velo, as Williamson’s heater has the shape and spin conducive to swings and miss and weak contact.
He’s a starter, but there’s variance in where he lands in the rotation based on his fastball velocity and command, but he’s already boasting a big-league arsenal and there’s physical projection left, despite the lefty being 24 in April.
Jason A. Churchill
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