It hasn’t been a strong year down on the farm for the Seattle Mariners. As I’m putting the finishing touches on the Mid-Season Prospect Rankings I’m reminded of the season-long struggles of many of the club’s better young talents. Tuesday, however, was one of the solid days of the year in that regard.

No, not every top prospect went 4-for-4, hit three homers or lasted seven shutout innings — heck, one of the affiliates didn’t even play (Double-A Jackson) — but there were a number of notable lines — enough to compel me to type a few hundred words to highlight them.

Tacoma (AAA)
Chris Taylor: 2-3, 2 BB, SB
Season: 47 G, .285/.359/.404, 9-2B, 4-3B, 2 HR, 23 BB, 34 SO, 12 SB

Jesus Montero: 4-5, 2B
Season: 76 G, .314/.351/.489, 11-2B, 2-3B, 13 HR, 18 BB, 61 SO

Bakersfield (A+)
Tyler O’Neill: 2-4, HR
Season: 62 G, .248/.282/.492, 10-2B, 3B, 16 HR, 10 BB, 83 SO

Everett (SS-A)
Corey Simpson: 3-4, 2-2B
Season: 12 G, .292/.327/.521, 5-2B, 2 HR, 3 BB, 14 SO

Alex Jackson: 2-4, HR, SO
Season: 11 G, .282/.364/.436, 3-2B, HR, 4 BB, 13 SO (Everett)

The status of the Mariners’ system is down, even from the start of the year when it was thin with which to begin. The club since has traded Gabby Guerrero and almost every one of the organization’s top hitters that opened the year with a full-season club has struggled. Ketel Marte and Tyler O’Neill are the two exceptions. O’Neill isn’t hitting for average yet and he’s swinging and missing far too often, but at 19 in Advanced-A, he’s holding his own.

D.J. Peterson is the biggest disappointment. More on that in the Mid-Season Rankings update later this week, and warning: It’s not pretty.

But for Tuesday, it was a solid day in the minors for the Mariners. Besides, as one of the closest friends in the game of baseball told me once, it’s a good day in the minors when the big clubs wins, and M’s shut out the Padres 5-0.

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Jason A. Churchill

Churchill founded Prospect Insider in 2006 after getting his start at 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.


  1. Not worried about Jackson. He will be the best of the bunch, IMO. His bat speed is ridiculous.

    Jason, any word on the M’s in on any of the International guys this class? Would love to get Eddy Martinez or Lucius Fox. Especially Martinez.

  2. I think its fair to ask why this organization cannot develop good hitters.

    Here are the position players taken in the top three rounds of the draft since Jack Z and friends took over:

    2009: Dustin Ackley (1st round, 2nd overall)
    2009: Nick Franklin (1st round, 27th overall)
    2009: Steve Baron (1st supp)
    2009: Rich Poythress (2nd round)
    2009: Kyle Seager (3rd round)
    2010: Marcus Littlewood (2nd round)
    2011: Brad Miller (2nd round)
    2012: Mike Zunino (1st round, 3rd overall)
    2012: Joe DeCarlo (2nd round)
    2013: DJ Peterson (1st round, 12th overall)
    2013: Austin Wilson (2nd round)
    2014: Alex Jackson (1st round, 6th overall)
    2014: Gareth Morgan (2nd round)
    2014: Austin Cousino (3rd round)
    2014: Tyler O’Neill (3rd supplemental)

    That’s an atrocious track record!

    Kyle Seager is the only player who has been a major contributor. Miller is a solid average player at this point.

    Besides that, its mostly negative. Zunino is a good player, but I think its more than fair to question how he was developed. He spent less than 100 games in the minors, and only 52 games in AAA despite the fact that he wasn’t hitting well at that level. We’ve now used up a few years of team control for a guy who is a plus glove/game manager, but should have been given time to develop at a hitter before a very premature promotion. What other team would handle a #3 overall draft pick like this?

    While its certainly too early to make calls on the 2014 class, all of the hitter taken in the previous drafts have been busts. Ackley is the most prominent, but it’s part of a general inability by this team to develop guys who can hit.

    The same thing is true of the international prospects. Every year we sign one or two big-bonus hitters, and not one of those guys has amounted to anything. Ketel Marte is the only player who looks like he might help the team, and he projects more as a solid starter than a cornerstone player.

    Given this horrendous track record, it isn’t exactly surprising that we consistently have one of the worst offenses in baseball EVERY YEAR. There is pretty clearly a serious, systemic problem in the M’s scouting and player development programs. You can’t build a club by signing big-name free agents while only getting 1 above average player every 5 years.

    This team needs an enema.

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