As we work our way toward Jarred Kelenic, Logan Gilbert, Kyle Lewis, George Kirby and Julio Rodriguez, among others, let’s continue the countdown of the Top 50 Seattle Mariners Prospects entering the 2020 season. Here are Nos. 16-20 in reverse order.
Down the page here, you’ll find prospects 21-50, including the update after the Mariners lost No. 31 Ricardo Sanchez on waivers to the St. Louis Cardinals Thursday.
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Shenton was the club’s 5th-round pick last June and he raked from Day 1, batting .298/.376/.510 at two stops, including Class-A West Virginia.
At present, Shenton has a better hit tool than game power, but there’s enough bat speed to suggest that could change over time. He finds the barrel and can spread hard contact to left-center with doubles pop.
I have as many questions about Shenton’s chances to stick at third as anyone — he’s not a great athlete — but I’m not sure where else he fits as an everyday player, which he may not be in the end for multiple reasons. But I like the chances the offensive profile changes in time because solid hit tools open a lot of doors in the development phase.
Shenton likely heads to Modesto to start 2020.
Guilbeau came over in the trade with Washington last summer that also landed the club Elvis Alvarado in exchange for Roenis Elias and Hunter Strickland. At the time, I was told he was a fastball-slider southpaw with reverse split issues who touched 95 mph. What I saw in Tacoma — and what Guilbeau showed in the majors later that month in the big leagues — was a true power lefty up to 97, sitting 93-95 with a plus changeup and fringe-average slider.
The fastball sinks and has run to his arm side, and the slider isn’t a lost cause, so there’s hope he gets better versus left-handed batters. He’s a good bet to see the majors early in 2020, perhaps as a member of the Opening Day roster.
Bishop had a great start to 2020 in Triple-A but injuries derailed his chance to see big-league pitching and make some adjustments. He looked over-matched in his limited chances.
It remains a 70-grade glove and 60 speed, but Bishop’s ability to hit will dictate his future role, despite the defensive value at a premium position.
He showed at least doubles pop last spring and has improved every year, so despite being 26 already, I have hope he can get to a point where he’s making enough solid contact to hit .260/.320/.400 and justify playing a lot.
He’ll have a shot to win a job this spring, but he’s at least goo enough — today — to be among the 26 that go north with the club come the regular season, especially with the roster down Mitch Haniger for the time being.
Fraley battled a few nagging injuries last summer, too, but he showed he can get to his average pull power, showing a more complete profile than in years past.
He will have to show better versus left-handed pitching, but he can handle hard stuff and is a plus defender himself, albeit with a below-average arm that over the long haul likely limits him to part-time play or a left-field gig.
Like Bishop, Fraley, too, will have a shot to start the year with the big club with Haniger out til May or longer, but there’s a lot of competition and it could down to who makes the most consistent contact in March.
Cardozo became available when the Dodgers had to back out of their agreement to use pool money elsewhere and the Mariners did a great job staying with the right-hander and getting a deal done.
There’s physical projection to dream on but it’s not all wishing well on Cardozo, who was touching 89-90 last spring and the pitch offers movement to his arm side and natural sink late in its path to the plate. He also throws a low-70s curveball and firm changeup that flash some polish.
He’ll spend all of 2020 as a 17-year-old, but is strong and sturdy in his lower half and shows good athleticism. He’s likely bound for the DSL come June.