(Photo of Cal Raleigh by Mark Wagner/Travs)

For this Prospect Rankings Update, here are a couple of notes:

  • For many of the rankings, there isn’t much difference between players ranked 5-10 spots apart, sometimes more. So if you see a player at 13 you expected to be at 8, or a player at 23 seems to be underranked, maybe the only difference there is microscopic.
  • Like always, I prefer upside to high probability, so if the risk factor is within two points (2-8 scale) I’m taking the upside play every time.
  • Positions matter. Catchers and shortstops are inherently more valuable than first basemen and left fielders.
  • Handedness matters, albeit a lot less than positions and other factors. If all else is equal, a lefty usually gets the nod.
  • Arms with a chance to be a No. 3 or better starter will always rank higher than a pure reliever, based on value and how difficult it is to find them. This goes back to the ‘positions matter’ note.
  • I included all signed draft picks from the 2019 class in the consideration phase
  • Michael Limoncelli has Top 25 upside but until he’s further along in his recovery or pitches in a game, he’ll be left out of rankings. Same goes for Levi Stoudt.
  • The movement you’ll see below is based on .performance, scouting reports, injuries, and timelines; if a 24-year-old was ranked No. 33 in April but isn’t ranked now it could be for many reasons, including the draft depth pushing the player out or the player simply not performing enough to keep him in. Some players have a shorter shelf-life because they have less time to make enough progress, which is why you see a lot of players 22-24 years of age in West Virginia or Modesto drop off quickly if they get hurt or don’t perform enough.
  • Click HERE for the scouting scale in real life, updated for the current MLB environment, flush with what the grades looks like in MLB terms. For example: How many home runs in the majors results from 60-grade power?
  • These rankings are not about the players most likely to make it to the majors. They’re also not a ranking of the players with the most upside.
  • Since someone will ask, understandably so, I asked six in the industry about where the Mariners’ system ranks right now. The highest: 8-10. The lowest: 15.
  • Seriously, click HERE first.
RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
1 Jarred Kelenic OF 20  AA

Kelenic has weathered a slump and now is looking like the star he appeared to be the first two full months of the season.

The hit tool continues to improve as he’s challenged by better pitching, he’s still hitting for enough power, despite having just turned 20 and facing California League arms, and there are no weaknesses showing.

Kelenic is on pace to start 2020 in Double-A Arkansas with a big-league ETA of somewhere between late 2020 (highly optimistic, yet not out of the question) and early 2022 (in a case of unforeseen stagnation in development or an injury setback).

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
2 Logan Gilbert RHS 22  AA

Gilbert has been challenged a bit in the Texas League but he’s shown he’s up for it. He’s responded with a better pitch mix, throwing a few more changeups, blending both curveball and slider into the arsenal and showing more consistent 93-94 mph velocity than he was earlier in the year.

I still think there’s a chance Gilbert ends up living 93-96 with three offspeed pitches and that’s why for me he’s the best pitching prospect in the organization and it’s not remotely close.

Gilbert is closer to Kelenic than he is No. 3.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
3 Julio Rodriguez OF 18  A

Rodriguez, who won’t be 19 until after the season and has shown tremendous Kelenic-like maturity and development in such a short time in pro ball, and an even shorter time in the states.

It’s 60 or better raw power and signs of a 50 or better hit tool. He’s likely a corner outfielder with a 55-60 arm, instincts and average speed, but his footspeed doesn’t tell the tale of his athleticism.

I see a lot of Moises Alou here and another comp that fits is current Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
4 Justin Dunn RHS 23  AA

Dunn is within a year or two of a crossroads, but he’s performed well, throwing strikes consistently, showcasing an improved slider — more late bite and some added tilt in some starts — and bouncing back from tough innings or outings.

The crossroads is, at 23 and headed for Triple-A/MLB, the club will have to decide on Dunn’s role. In order to start long-term, he’ll need to show significant improvement with the changeup and fastball command to left-handed batters. But there’s no reason to make that decision now or anytime before this time next year, really.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
5 Justus Sheffield LHS 23  AA

Sheffield has been consistently good in Double-A Arkansas and his next stop is Seattle — not Tacoma.

He’s sitting 90-93 mph with the fastball, but in two of his last three starts it’s been more 92-94 — fewer 90-91, more 92, 93, and even a few 94. Could be random, could be a good sign.

The slider has been better the last handful of starts, too, and he’s throwing more changeups as a result of the control and command being better — he’s in more changeup counts, and executing the pitch better.

Without a full return of velocity — he was 92-94, touching 95-97 some starts a year ago — Sheff likely falls short of a No. 2 projection, but still fits nicely in the middle of the rotation. But development never stops in baseball these days, suggesting there’s a chance he gets back some or all of the veloc he teased us with last season in the Yankees org.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
6 George Kirby RHS 21  SS-A

Kirby has a chance to move as quickly as Gilbert, or close to it, based on a combo of command, control, fastball value and consistency in the secondary stuff, although Gilbert entered 2019 with a more polished arsenal after the fastball.

Kirby is a very good athlete, which bodes well for continued success repeating his delivery and supplies a high floor of a No. 4 starter for the 2019 first-round pick.

I can’t express enough how much I love the way Kirby uses placement on the pitching slab and his arm slot to create angles with his fastball and breaking ball, and his delivery is of the low-to-medium effort variety, suggesting many positive possibilities moving forward, including more consistent velocity in the mid-90s.

I saw him live 92-93 mph and easily reach back for 96 in a start at Tri-City in July and again in Vancouver in his next outing.

Kirby could reach No. 2 starter status, and the Mariners got him on the cheap. I considered swapping out Kirby for Sheffield.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
7 Cal Raleigh C 22  AA

Raleigh again moved up a few spots here, and he did so because he showed there was a very short transition to Double-A pitching the past three-plus weeks.

He’s making contact after a slow first 10 games, and now the power is showing up, too. While he’s never likely to be a plus defender, he does have some defensive tools that project in that direction, including throwing/controlling the running game and receiving.

In the end he could grade out as average or even better behind the plate, though his bat is likely to get him to the majors before his defense catches up, which is the opposite of how backstops generally develop into major leaguers.

I considered Raleigh at No. 6, in case you’re wondering.

 

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
8 Kyle Lewis OF 24  AA

Lewis has shown a better hit tool the past six or seven weeks and the power is showing up a bit more, too. The ceiling here still is too high to place him below significantly higher risk prospects or those with a ceiling well below that of the former first-round pick out of Mercer.

If one looks close enough, Lewis’ season production isn’t that far off Evan White’s, since Lewis has a 25-point advantage in on-base percentage, and the scouting report still favors Lewis due to positional value and raw power.

Lewis does have a shorter shelf life in this spot since he’s a year older and hasn’t shown the game power that profiles well in a corner outfield spot, which is likely where he ultimately lands in the majors.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
9 Noelvi Marte SS 17   R

Marte isn’t Julio Rodriguez — they are different players with different strengths and weaknesses and play different positions. But Marte may be on a similar path as Rodriguez as he performs well in the Dominican Summer League.

He’s recovered from two or three mini slumps already, is showing power, some plate skills and some noticeable improvement defensively, which may be the biggest question on Marte’s future

The physical tools are there to stick at shortstop; lateral range, instincts, arm strength. But the consistency in footwork in terms of getting himself in a position to make a quick, accurate throw is a work-in-progress (better the last four weeks, I’m told), and he’s shown the occasional rush job in fielding cleanly to transfer.

The good news here is he’s 17, has gotten better this summer, and has allt he tools to move to second, third or center if the Mariners decide shortstop isn’t his future. He’s a 70 runner with good baserunning skills (base stealing, too) and has a good feel for the barrel at the plate, suggesting at last average power. He’s years away, of course, but there’s a very good chance we see him in the states next season.

Whether that’s a full-season assignment like Rodriguez earned or a short-season gig next June after more time in extended, we’ll have to wait and see.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
10 Jake Fraley CF 24  AAA

I like Fraley a lot and believe more than most he has a chance to be an everyday player. That everyday profile will have to be led by defense, baserunning and the hit tool, however, because despite a large tick in the right direction with the power production, there’s probably not a ton of room left there.

But he can play center — and he’s good enough to start there, and if he ends getting that nod, the bat should play regularly if he evens things out some versus left-handed pitching — and could bring a Shane Victorino-level value to the Mariners if things work out in his favor in some areas.

I’ve also heard David DeJesus, Darrin Erstad, Trot Nixon and Randy Winn. All of which started a lot of games in the majors.

But there is certainly a chance he’s merely a good extra outfielder on a contending team. If Fraley was 21 or 22 and in Double-A, we could dream a little more ceiling here. But he’ll be 25 next May, suggesting the clock is ticking on the upside.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
11 Isaiah Campbell RHS 21   NA

Campbell slides up without pitching based on nothing he’s done or not done. But to sum it upm he’s a power arm with a chance to start and a floor as a legit three-pitch high-leverage reliever.

He’s constantly into the mid-90s as a starter, has three secondaries and has the physical tools to hold up in a starting role. Command will likely dictate, but he’s going to start for a while once he gets his pro career under way next spring.

I expect Campbell, provided he’s fully healthy coming out of spring training, to join Kirby, among others, in the West Virginia Power rotation in April.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
12 Evan White 1B 23  AA

White’s consistent hit tool has answered some questions this season. Still remaining, however, are the real question about power — questions I wouldn’t be concerned about all that much if White were a middle infielder or at least playing the corner outfield spots.

He’s probably the best defensive first basemen in the minors and among the Top 4-6 in all of baseball, but the value of an elite defensive first baseman does not match that of elite defenders at… any other position.

There are so outs generated in baseball right now that are not ground balls, meaning first basemen isn’t as involved as the position once was, not to mention the impact of shifts.

White currently projects an average to above average hit tool, which suggests reaching a .280/.350 double-slash is a legit possibility. What’s not apparent is a .320/.400 line that would better support what appears to be average to slightly above-average power. Citing a .280/.350/.450 triple-slash, which could very well be the upside here offensively, merely puts White in the average range. And that’s the upside.

The average qualified MLB first baseman in 2019 is posting a .266/.353/.477 line as of July 13.

In the end, White has to hit for power to be more than an average first baseman. Average first basemen are not nearly as difficult or expensibe to acquire as the same at any other position in baseball.

But that’s not to say White’s profile is not valuable, nor good enough to warrant being the Mariners’ first baseman of the future, because it is and it does.

And White has proven adept at adjustments that help his swing. Physically, the tools are there for 25-homer power. If he gets there, it’s a different conversation. Let’s talk then, but in the meantime, White received consideration as high as No. 9 and as low as No. 13.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
13 Brandon Williamson LHS 21   SS-A

Williamson remains a bigger upside play than either Kirby or Campbell, as well as Dunn or Sheffield. There’s more risk here, too, because there’s spotty command and inconsistent secondary stuff, but the lefty has shown more than flashes of above-average stuff in Everett, including mid-90s (been mostly 92-93) heat and a power slider. Both have been swing-and-miss pitches this summer.

I’d label Williamson as a potential No. 2 with significantly more risk on that than the arms ahead of him, but he, too, comes with a relatively high floor as a power reliever that could sit 95-plus in shorter stints.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
14 Shed Long 2B 23  AAA

Long is on the IL with a finger injury but he’s shown me he’s about average at second base and good enough at third and in left field to be used in a multi-position role for a good team.

In the near future, a healthy Long should be playing regularly at second base in the big leagues where we’ll eventually see a little more power, as his Triple-A .466 slugging percentage suggests.

Long’s hold at this spot is likely short-lived, however, since he’ll either graduate or lose traction if he hasn’t performed enough to stick in the majors at this point next summer.

 

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
15 Austin Shenton 3B 21   A

I’m still not entirely sold on Shenton’s glove at third or the hit tool — but I buy the long-term power and my grip on the hit tool question is getting a little loose. He’s done nothing but hit and show evident plate skills since signing, even since being promoted to West Virginia, where he’s started to show more of the plus raw power.

If Shenton proves he’s a third baseman, he might be a top-10 prospect. He still might be if he’s moved to right field and shows he can be average there.

If he has to move to first it’s going to put a lot of pressure on the bat to shoot up this list further than he already has.

I liken Shenton to Mike Moustakas, whose glove at third was questioned basically his entire minor and major league career but he ultimately showed he was just good enough to stick, and built on that until he was about average.

The bat played, of course, and now he’s shown such strong instincts in the field and such reliable hands, the Brewers have used him at second base. Shenton fits this mold, too.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
16 Sam Carlson RHS 20  NA

We’ve recently learned Carlson will not face live hitters this summer but all else is well in his recovery.

When he’s healthy, Carlson throws a heavy, sinking fastball up to 96 mph, setting up a quality changeup that projects as plus and a promising breaking ball.

There’s physical projection, left, too, and there have been some loose comps to Tyson Ross, Carlos Carrasco and Rick Porcello.

Carlson has a shot to perform his way back into the Top 10 next summer. Perhaps beyond.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
17 Braden Bishop CF 25   MLB

Bishop falls a bit more here, for two reasons. He’s 25 and running out of valuable development time, and he’s still hurt.  That doesn’t mean can’t prove he can hit major league pitching, he just may not get as long a look as he otherwise would have if he weren’t on the IL thanks to the presence of other young players that could profile in center, too, such as Fraley.

Bishop gets to the barrel very well, has come a long way, and despite a bit of an advanced age for a prospect, is likely to keep getting better. He’s found what works for him as a hitter, has proven he’ll seek out answers and that he has the ability to put them to work in games.

I don’t see a star or anything here, but scouts that stick their nose up at any chance Bishop is more than a fourth or fifth outfielder get the lazy tag for me. There’s more to a player and his chances to succeed and get better than what’s shown in live games.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
18 Damon Casetta-Stubbs RHS 19   SS-A

If you told me Casetta-Stubbs’ season has been of mixed results, I’d call hogwash. He’s 19, has fought admirably through some struggles, but keeps competing, coming back from off outings with good performances and has earned his spot here at No. 18.

Scouts see some Tanner Roark, Kyle Gibson, Chris Tillman similarities, though DC-S already boast a firmer fastball than Tillman displayed the majority of his career, but it’s a strong comp nonetheless because Tillman was living in the low-90s early in his career.

Still a bit of a project, but I can’t wait to see what Casetta-Stubbs does in his second full season.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
19 Juan Then RHS 19  SS-A

Then is a fastball (91-94 mph), curveball, changeup right-hander with average present control and command. His changeup is ahead of the curveball but the latter pitch has bigger long-term promise thanks to depth and consistent spin.

He’s a full step better now than he was when Seattle traded him. In case you were wondering.

I’d be higher on Then, but I don’t love the delivery; there’s little projection in it and the fastball tends to flatten. It’s an easy ask and difficult to execute, of course, but adding a cutter or two-seamer could be ideal, at least in theory.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
20 Ricardo Sanchez LHS 22   AA

Sanchez lacks frontline upside but comes with probability on a No. 4 starter profile.

He reminds some of the Marco Gonzales mold, and that’s fair, but Sanchez has shown more velocity as a starter — up to 94 mph — and in side work has touched 96.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
21 Aaron Fletcher LHR 23   AA

Fletcher is a fastball, slider reliever with a rock-and-fire delivery similar to that of former Mariners southpaw James Paxton. Fletcher, though, tucks his front shoulder and uses more effort.

Acquired with No. 24 in the trade with the Nationals on Deadline Day (Roenis Elias, Hunter Strickland), the Houston Cougars product sits 92-96 with life all over the zone. The slider is about average. He gets on the side of it sometimes and it flattens and it lacks depth. He will sweep it a bit versus lefties, but there’s little bite to it — it’s really more of a cutter right now.

Fletcher ranks higher than Guilbeau right now for me because I see a chance he can start. I don’t have any idea whether or not Seattle sees that or is considering it, but in comparison with his fellow former Nationals teammate, Fletcher gets that nod.

As pure relievers, Guilbeau is better now and projects better in the majors because he has a second big-league pitch at present. Not sure Fletcher has that.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
22 Danny Chang LHS 19   R

Chang is a fastball, curveball, changeup lefty with tons of projection left on a 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame.

He’s mostly upper-80s but it’s easy velocity making it just as easy to project at least a low-90s fastball down the line.

The curveball has depth and the changeup is his second-best pitch at present.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
23 Ljay Newsome RHS 22   AA

Newsome projects as a back-end starter with a classic profile of a command-and-feel talent. The velocity spiked early in the year but he’s mostly 87-90 mph now and the secondaries haven’t been consistent.

While there’s no physical projection here of which to speak, if there’s another tick of velocity in there we might be able to bump him from a future No. 5, and Newsome did make velocity progress between last season and 2019.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
24 Taylor Guilbeau LHR 26   AA

Guilbeau might rank higher here if he weren’t 26, but I didn’t penalize him much for it since he’s a pure reliever and likely falls entirely off this list due to graduation and exhaustion of eligibiluty or a failure to do so over the next year or so.

Scouts told me on Deadline Day he was 92-95, touching 96, with a slider. But what I saw in Tacoma was 94-96, touching 97 with an above-average changeup that induced swings and misses thanks to sink and fade.

So yes, for now, Guilbeau is the highest-ranked pure reliever in the system. He’s basically a lefty version of Jake Haberer, but he throws more strikes and is closer to the majors.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
25 Dom Thompson-Williams OF 23   AA

Thompson-Williams has the physical tools of a Michael Brantley but his swing leaves his raw power packed away because it’s about the middle of the field and the opposite field.

DT-W can handle center field but projects better in left field.

Matt Lawton?

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
26 Juan Querecuto SS 18   R

He’s a good athlete with raw tools and after an injury sidelined him for the first half of the short season, he’s back.

He hasn’t hit much, but shows strikezone judgment and should be able to handle shortstop long-term.

The bat was always going to be the question, and it still is.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
27 Jake Haberer RHR 24   AA

It’s easy velo up to 98 mph with a power reliever’s delivery and breaking ball. Most upside among pure relievers in the system.

Haberer has experienced spotty control and command or he’d be in the big leagues right now. While it’s not as extreme a situation, he’s a bit like Dan Altavilla; great raw stuff, command and control holding him back.

But that’s common for power relievers.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
28 Carter Bins C 21  SS-A

Defensively Bins projects very well and there’s power and pateince in the bat, but not quite enough consistent contact early in his pro career.

From what Is aw in about 10-12 plate appearances, the swing needs a rehaul. Maybe a complete rehaul.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
29 Raymond Kerr LHR 24   A+

Kerr has touched 100 mph and sits 93-97 with easy effort. The breaking balls flashes above-average and he only gets into trouble when he loses fastball command or the breaking ball flattens, which is happening far less now than it was as a starter.

Kerr also has a changeup in his arsenal, is a terrific athlete and has put in a lot of work to get better in a very short period of time.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
30 Jorge Benitez LHS 20  SS-A

Benitez pitches aggressively and if he can add a tick or two of velo he has the pitchability to fall into a back-end starter role.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
31 Joey Gerber RHR 22  AA

Gerber hides the ball well, is up to 96 mph with life up in the zone from a slightly lower than 3/4 slot. His 82-86 mph slider flashes plus, but he sets it up well by moving the fastball all over the zone to get ahead.

He’s faced some challenges in the Texas League and has been good in general, but a few too many walks. It’s a small sample, but he also walked 19 in 38.1 innings at Modesto and is something he’ll have to clean up to be a big-league option.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
32 Brayan Perez LHS 18   R

Perez has been as advertised, which is to say he’s been 89-91 mph with command of a breaking ball and signs of a solid-average changeup.

Word is, he’s been up to 93 in side work, suggesting more velo could be in the offing long-term. We’ll wait, but it’s been a short season of mixed results and scouting reports.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
33 Sam Delaplane RHR 24  AA

Delaplane typically throws a lot of strikes, using the upper zone and a tight curveball to keep hitters guessing — and swinging and missing.

There’s no physical projection here, but he might be ready to serve in a middle relief role in the majors right now.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
34 Dutch Landis RHS 18   R

Landis has the best present fastball of the club’s handful of prep arms selected in June’s draft. He’s been up to 94 mph and sits 89-92 with some life up in the zone. The curveball (73-76 mph) and changeup (79-82 mph) are a ways away, but time he has.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
35 George Feliz CF 16   NA

The club’s top international signing ($900,000) has an advanced feel for the game and projects as an everyday centerfielder with an above-average hit tool. If the power comes, he’ll be fun.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
36 Wyatt Mills RHR 24  AA

Mills creates deception with a low arm slot and the stuff plays up as a result. He’s found his release point of late and shown some dominance with the sinker-slider combo. He’s up to 95 mph and sits 91-93.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
37 Tim Lopes UT 24   MLB

Lopes brings a 50 hit tool, 40 power, 50 shortstop glove, and 60 speed. He’ll make hustle plays and if he sustains high contact rates is a better UTM option than Dylan Moore — and might be even if he doesn’t.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
38 Jonatan Clase CF 17   R

Multi-tooled athlete with compact swing, mature approach, some pop and plus speed. He just turned 17 in May. I considered Clase for the top 30, but since I haven’t laid eyes on him at all for context, I stuck with the tone relayed to me by a scout and an assistant trainer.

FTR, there are a handful of Clase’s teammates, outside of Marte, that were considered for the Top 40 and likely show up here as early as this offseason, and certainly next spring and summer, including OF Arturo Guerrero, C Ortwin Pierternella, 2B/SS Asdrubal Bueno, Milkar Perez, C Jose Caguana, RHP Wilton Perez (!!) and LHP Jose Aquino.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
39 Tyler Driver RHS 18   R

Driver has a kitchen sink full of pitches, including a solid-average slider and two fastballs. There’s physical projection there on a 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame and an org belief he possesses the makeup to max out his natural abilities.

Sounds to me like Driver is not interest in failing, either.

RANK PLAYER POS AGE TREND LEVEL
40 Josias De Los Santos RHS 20   R

De Los Santos has pitchability, some physical projection from a 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame and an above-average breaking ball.

De Los Santos will touch 93 mph and pitch comfortably at 90-92. He has a slider (81-84 mph) and 85-87 mph changeup. He can throw all three for strikes, gets some armside run on the fastball and has good armspeed on the change, though it lacks sink and fade at present.

The slider is fringe-average now, but can be a problem for

De Los Santos’ frame may not carry a lot more weight and scouts don’t love the delivery, but he has as much helium as any arm not already in the Top 15 and is not a name you should forget.

I won’t let you, anyway.


Next Group

I could list just about every decently-performing or tooled up player here, but that’s not the point, so …

Donnie Walton, SS — Walton makes contact with a line-drive stroke, has underated shortstop defense (at least by me initially) and is an above-average runner. There’s no true standout tool, however, and he’s 25 already, but there’s a useful skillset here. If Walton is back in the org next year — he has to be added to the 40-man roster or be exposed to the Rule 5 over the winter — I expect him to start the season in Triple-A Tacoma, making it feasible he sees time in the majors in 2020.
Erik Swanson, RHP — Swanson has fallen pretty far since the start of the season after initially showing 92-96 mph velo and now sitting 90-93. The slider remains below-average and there are no signs of a third big-league pitch. His fastball hasn’t ticked up in velo or value in a relief role and he’s 26 in September. If the velocity is stuck in the low-90s, they should probably keep developing as a starter.
Anthony Tomczak, RHP — Tomczak is up to 91 mph with sink and armside run to set up a mid-70s curveball and a hard changeup.
Art Warren, RHR — Injuries and now age (26) are cutting into Warren’s chances to contribute. Fastball up to 99 mph. He returned June 8 after missing most of the first half and has been 93-97 with more strikes.
Gerson Bautista, RHR — He throws hard and the slider is above average but the command is well below average… which is a problem.
Connor Kopach, UT — Like the player but would like to see production in Double-A — he’s still in Advanced-A Modesto. 65 runner. Manages at SS, plus at 2B, has been playing left, right and occasionally center, too, but it’s a work in progress out there.
Max Roberts, LHS — Has missed the entire 2019 season, but an intriguing project.
Luis Liberato, CF — There are some tools here, and some performance, and if this list went to 50 he’d be in it, but it’s tough to buy the hit tool right now.
Nolan Hoffman, RHR — Status is stagnant, but not a down trend.
Joe Rizzo, 3B — Not enough power for any position he profiles for, not likely to fit at second base, left field.
Matt Festa, RHR — Start him or there’s zero staying power.
Darren McCaughan, RHS — 55 command and 60 control. Might be a No. 5/swingman or a strong three-inning relief option, but lacks the fastball value and swing-and-miss offpseed pitch to be more.
J.T. SalterRHR — When he throws strikes with 95 and the curveball, he’s nasty. Still working on control.
Deivy Florido, RHS — Long-term prospect with command and feel. Fringey present stuff, but he’s 18 and competing well as he’s bounced between three leagues.
Robert Perez, 1B — Another long-term prospect, but he’s without a position and hates breaking balls.
Levi Stoudt, RHS — The club’s third-round pick was a slight overdraft and I see a relief profile from the get-go due to lack of projection and present stuff. He had Tommy John over the winter.
Tim Elliott, RHS — This year’s fourth-round pick has average velocity a fringe slider and potential average changeup.
Michael Limoncelli, LHP — 2019 sixth-round pick had Tommy John but brings some projection and has been up to 94 mph. He’ll rank once he shows the velo is back next spring.
Blake Townsend, LHP — Projectable at 6-foot-4 and already showing velocity increases.
Arturo Guerrero, RF — Solid athlete with plus raw power and arm strength, but showing improved hit tool.
Yeury Tatiz, LHP — Projectable frame with promising secondaries and command. Was promoted from DSL to AZL this summer.
Ortwin Pieternella, C — Good athlete, plus arm, power and advanced strikezone judgment.
Nolan Perez, 3B — Plus bat speed and raw power, but an overaggressive approach may hold him back.
Ty Adcock, RHR — 93-96 mph with life and a hard curveball.
Wilton Perez, RHP — Projectable at 6-foot-3, 175 pounds with easy 85-88 mph velo. He turned 17 in March.
Daniel Santos, C — Solid swing and plate skills, has the physical tools to stick behind the plate.
Jake Anchia, C — 60 power, 55 arm strength, 35 but improving hit tool.
Miguel Perez, CF — Good athlete with some leverage in the swing. It’s a plus glove and 55-60 speed, but he’s still learning to hit.
Ryne Inman, RHP — 92-95 mph and a plus curveball suggest a relief role fits. Make the move, he’ll skate through Class-A.

Strengths

It’s been a little while since discussing Mariners farm system strengths was anything but a joke, but here we are.

1. Starting Pitching

Gilbert is legit, Dunn and Sheffield have a good chance to be at least No. 3 or 4 starter, Kirby has probability and upside, while Williamson, Casetta-Stubbs, Chang, Campbell, Carlson, Driver, Limoncelli, Landis bring lots of upside, despite the fact most are projects.

2. Outfield

Kelenic and Rodriguez may be destined to flank whoever ends up the centerfielder of the future for the Mariners and both have a chance to to be above-average players, perhaps all the way to all-star levels.

Weaknesses

1. Catching

This exists for most of the league, but beyond Raleigh there doesn’t appear to be a potential No. 1 backstop in the org. There are a few backups, however, and with improved player development a profile can change in short order, so there’s hope, even down here in the weaker areas. of the system.

2. Infielders

This started off as ‘Middle Infielders’ but the club lacks impact and depth at the corners, too, with White and Shenton the lone corner infield prospects to rank in the top 15 and there are serious questions as to whether or not Shenton stays at third.

Player Development

No matter which side one falls on with regard to Jerry Dipoto and Andy McKay, it’s inarguable the Mariners player development staff is greatly improved and Dipoto and the scouting staff are finding fits for their organization’s strengths.

This isn’t to say they’re setting the pace in Major League Baseball, but players are succeeding up and down the system and most of them were drafted and signed by the club, not acquired from another organization’s developmental system.

I wouldn’t necessarily say the foundation now is set for Dipoto to start putting together a sustainable winner at the big league level, but it’s not far off, that is for certain.

Top 40 Breakdown

Arms: 25
Bats: 15
Starters: 17
Relievers: 8
IF: 6
OF: 7
C: 2
LHP: 8
RHP: 17
LHB: 6
RHB: 8
SW: 1
DRAFT: 19
TRADE: 10
INT: 8
FA:
3
2015: 1
2016: 2
2017: 10
2018: 16
2019: 11

Jason A. Churchill

Churchill founded Prospect Insider in 2006 after getting his start at InsidethePark.com. He spent several years covering prep, college and pro sports for various newspapers, including The News Tribune and Seattle PI.

Jason spent 4 1/2 years at ESPN and two years at CBS Radio prior to joining HERO Sports in July, 2016.

Find Jason's Mariners podcast, Baseball Things, right here and follow him on Twitter @ProspectInsider.