Well, ranking every player in the system is futile and merely a gesture, not a value add, so I didn’t do it.
But I did save a small handful for this conversation.
They didn’t rank, but they very well may see the majors at some point.
Penn Murfee, RHP
Low arm slot, crossbody action but he stays in line to the plate with his lower half, lots of deception, sinker, slider, with a four-seamer effective above the hands. Pounds the zone, but needs a better way to attack left-handed batters. He’s 26 in May and has just six appearances above the California League but in shorter-than-starter stints Murfee projects to be an effective option in the majors as early as 2020.
It would be more than a mild surprise if Murfee didn’t see the big leagues. If Seattle likes the idea of a multi-inning Opener, Murfee fits the bill versus a right-heavy lineup. There are scouts who haven’t given up on Murfee staying in the rotation, and ‘given up’ is not a term I will use, either, but I will say it’s highly unlikely he’s a long-term starter.
Eric Filia, OF/1B
Has always been able to put bat to ball well with a line-drive stroke. It’s average bat speed, but a short swing, though not much power has come of it, as Filia has slugged .430 for his pro career. He’s a fringey defender and 45 runner, too, but the on-base and contact skills should get at least a cup of coffee at some point, despite being suspended three times, twice for testing positive for drugs of abuse — which means he’s tested positive three times — and once in college for plagiarism.
Sure hope the drug suspensions weren’t for a serious drug that affects his life on or off the field moving forward. He’ll be 28 in July, so ‘prospect’ doesn’t really fit, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see him in at T-Mobile in 2020.
Here’s Filia from this winter:
Joseph Odom, C
When you’re a catcher that can frame, throw, and block, the big leagues are waiting.
That’s it, that’s the write-up on Odom.
David Ellingson, RHR
Up to 95 mph with a power breaking ball suggests a half-tick better control and command and Ellingson moves quickly. He finished 2019 at Modesto and just turned 25.
Brian O’Keefe, C
He’s a 40 defender but has above-average power and some OBP skills. If framing remains a thing (electronic strike zone would eliminate the value of it), there’s no reason O’Keefe can’t become more valuable behind the dish and serve as a backup.
Connor Hoover, UT2
Hoover isn’t a shortstop option, but has just enough arm talent to manage at third base and in the corners of the outfield in short stints. He runs well, works counts and packs a little more thump than his 5-foot-10, 185-pound frame might suggest.
Fun fact: Hoover played at all six stateside affiliates for the Mariners last summer, most of it with the two short-season clubs where he put up numbers at 23 years of age.
Photo of Joseph Odom by Jason Ivester, licensed via AP Images