(Photo of Isaiah Campbell courtesy U of Arkansas Athletics)
As we work our way toward Jarred Kelenic, Logan Gilbert, George Kirby and Julio Rodriguez, among others, let’s continue the countdown of the Top 50 Seattle Mariners Prospects entering the 2020 season.
Down the page here, you’ll find prospects 11-50, including the update after the Mariners lost No. 31 Ricardo Sanchez on waivers to the St. Louis Cardinals Thursday.
Here are Nos. 6-10 in reverse order:
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Campbell did not debut last summer after pitching his Arkansas Razorbacks into the College World Series, ending the year with over 118 innings.
The Mariners selected Campbell with their competitive balance pick, No. 76 overall, and were lucky to get a shot at him. He has had elbow soreness that concerned some clubs
Campbell, a Portugal native, is a power arm with a bulldog mentality. The lazy scout screams ‘bullpen,’ but the right-hander is strong, has four projectable pitches and holds his velocity deep into games.
Campbell will sits 91-95 mph and touch 98 beyond pitch 100. He creates good plane from a high three-quarter slot that enables good tunneling with his 82-85 mph slider. He did a good job in college keeping the ball in the yard.
The curveball is fringe-average but flashes depth and good shape and the changeup is useful with a good chance to be more.
There’s No. 2 upside here and a relatively elevated floor if Campbell ends up in the bullpen. He’ll have a swing-and-miss breaking ball — if he can tune up the consistency on the slower version of the pitch — and heavy fastball from Day 1, so I’ll take my chances he develops the command and changeup.
Campbell could follow Logan Gilbert’s path from a year ago — which would mean a pro debut in Class-A West Virginia — though it’s difficult to see him match his predecessor’s product up the ladder in his first year.
White answered some questions many scouts had about the former first-round pick’s bat, but the developments can’t be properly measured by traditional statistics.
White went from average hitter with average power potential to half-tick better, at least, on both departments. He’s unlikely to get much beyond the 18-25 homer range, but that could come with 35 doubles and solid OBP.
He’s great athlete owning an elite glove at first base with a plus arm, and carries 60 foot speed that impacts games.
At the end of the day, he’s likely — at least ultimately — an average offensive first baseman with a chance to be Matt Holiday lite if all goes well.
White is expected to be the starting first baseman on Opening Day, though I have some question how much he’s going to hit early.
Sheffield opened the 2019 season without the top-range velocity or playable command he needs to thrive, and the juiced ball didn’t help him pitch through his time in the PCL.
He then joined now-Marines pitching coach Pete Woodworth in Double-A Arkansas and began to look more like the arm the club hoped to get in the deal that sent James Paxton to the New York Yankees.
Sheffield was inconsistent in multiple stints with the Mariners last season, but flashed mid-rotation or better stuff, including a fastball up to 95 mph and averaging around 93 — just not the command necessary to make it work for the long haul. The slider flashed plus, with sweeping deception and late bite.
The lefty is a three-pitch arm who relies on deception and movement rather than overpowering velocity and pitch mix, and might benefit from more ways to attack right-hander batters.
He’ll start 2020 in the club’s rotation where he’ll get a long look in order to determine his immediate future value. On the downside, Sheffield could be a very good multi-inning reliever.
Lewis made strides in 2019 learning to generate consistent backspin and it showed well in his September call-up. But he continues to struggle to make contact and hit for average.
He’s above-average athlete with a plus arm and good defensive range in a corner, and can spell the starter in center, too.
If he’s to earn a regular role with the Mariners as early as 2020, Lewis will need to find his timing and stay off his front foot. Some of that will come with better chase discipline, all while maintaining his swing leverage so he’s not pounding ground balls into the dirt.
The former first-round pick could open the season in the big leagues with Mitch Haniger out until at least May, but there’s a lot of work to do here with the bat in order to unlock the impact power.
He’s Justin Upton meets Sammy Sosa if it all comes together, but the power will help him stay on the map if the hit tool takes additional time to develop.
Marte acquitted himself quite well in his first shot at pro ball last summer in the DSL and he’ll make his stateside debut in 2020.
At 18, Marte projects to hit and with power, and boasts speed grades ranging from 65 to 75, depending who is asked. As he fills out he may settle closer to 65 than the upper end of that range, but can run and has above-average skills on the bases.
His power extends from his extreme pull side to straight-away center and projects above-average to plus. He’ll need some time to learn to get to it consistently without selling out, but all the tools are present be an impact bat.
The questions come on defense, and not due to a lack of arm strength or athleticism, but he did go on a nice run last summer showing some consistency with his hands and with his footwork on throws. If he can’t stick at shortstop, second base, third base or even center field could make some sense.
Marte could see West Virginia in 2020, but it’s uncertain if he gets there in April on a full-season assignment or stays back in Extended and earns his way to the Sally League in July or August.
Jason A. Churchill
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