Over the next week I’ll be posting my personal take of who I believe are the top-100 prospects in the Mariners organization. This is long and subjective, which will lead to people thinking I’m stupid.
That’s okay, I do a lot of stupid things and my opinions are just that… my opinions. Take them as such and understand this is less of an exact order and more of a here is a good list of individuals to watch going forward in the order that I find most appropriate.
I took it a step further than I normally do with a short profile on each and every one of the guys I have listed. Many of the comments are based upon data collected either from an internet publication (i.e. Project Prospect, Baseball America, Perfect Game, ect..), a trusted individual that follows the team as closely as I do (Rick Randall, Lonnie Mathias, Alex Carson and Conor Dowley).
This year has been a very cool and unique experience. I’ve gotten to have conversations with people like Chris Gwynn (Mariners farm director), almost a dozen scouts and three different opportunities to see the Generals. There is the added bonus of having the opportunity to watch so many other minor league farm hands through MiLB.tv.
I’m hardly as smart as I think I am. Please don’t take anything I present as much more than some wild ramblings. That’s basically what they are. But, prior to kicking it all off here are a few individuals that did not make the cut this year for various reasons.
While there is no reason too, I wanted to take a few paragraphs and highlight them. This year more than either two previous years, just seemed harder to complete. The last few years was more trying to find who was really “worth” putting on the list. This year I find myself having to justify keeping players off it.
So with that said, here are a few guys who aren’t on the list but are ones to watch and may even make the list next season.
Tyler Jones, 21, C, Rookie Arizona League Mariners
Jones is a great example of great UDFA finds by the organization. He’s got a lot to like about him offensive while still being rather young. No word on whether he can stick behind the plate, but he’s the former battery mate of James Jones whom the Mariners drafted back in 2009. So it’s a good bet they are familiar with the young man and his ability to be behind the plate.
Matt Anderson, 20, RHP, Rookie Arizona League Mariners
A guy that Jason Churchill wrote about several weeks ago. Good fastball, interesting slider and yet another UDFA. Time will tell if the Mariners stick with him in the rotation or keep him in the pen
Jose Leal, 17, OF, Rookie Arizona League Mariners
One from the 2011 crop of International Free-Agents with power and some various other physical tools. Power is, of course, the calling card. He’s looks to follow after those before him in the development mold of Phillips Castillo and Guillermo Pimentel.
I expect to see him in Pulaski next year. There is a chance that we may hear about him when Baseball America does their Rookie Arizona League spread. It’s usually bound to contain some juicy gossip on at least one or two Mariner internationals.
Unknown But Stats Are Interesting:
Two years ago Bob Engle compared him to Michael Pineda. Looking at his picture on MiLB he could fool you into thinking it’s a picture of Pineda four years ago. 6’5 he’s got a big frame and he’s got a decent K/BB ratio (2.3) just needs to limit his HR’s and he should see his FIP come down.
Miguel Sanchez, 20, C, Rookie Arizona League Mariners
Limited display of power with a .366 SLG. But has 14 BB’s in 86 PA’s and is running a ratio of 1:1 K/BB. Should be interesting to see him going forward.
Nate Koneski, 21, LHP, Pulaski Mariners
He’s old for the league, I get that, but good control and swing and miss stuff. It’s not surprising. He should be dominating the league but not everyone does and it just makes him interesting. So sue me… we all have a weak arch type.
Where Did He Go?
Willy Kesler,RHP, High Desert – Released
Fray Martinez, RHP, High Desert -Released
Phillippe Valiquette, LHP, Tacoma – Released
Valiquetee was released back in early April but a lot of people didn’t catch it and I being one of those didn’t even realize it until May. I went to check up on him and he wasn’t pitching. Sort of caught me by surprise.
Kesler was released back in July, which was kind of sad to me. He had a really good season last year in HD and I thought he might have earned a promotion. He came out struggling and never truly fixed what was giving him so many issues. He was old for the league but in general he was a good guy it’s too bad that he didn’t stick around.
Fray Martinez made a bunch of noise last spring with his bullpen sessions where he was routinely touching 100 mph with his fastball. Problem was he had limited command of the pitch and he couldn’t stay healthy. He has pitched an inning this year and while guys that throw gas are fun there is reason why guys like this go from organization to organization trying to stick around.
Dropping Stock Like Wall Street:
Chih-Hsien Chiang, OF, Jackson – Demoted from Triple-A to Double-A
Chiang had a terrible time in Tacoma posting a wRC+ of 42. He’s improved since his demotion to Jackson now with a wRC+ of 78. I’ll be real surprised if he’s still with the organization come next spring. A lot of tough calls going to be coming up.
Kevin Rivers, 23, OF, Clinton – Demoted from High-A to Class-A
I like Rivers. He’s got pop, and good plate discipline. But unfortunately he swings and misses too much and he struggled against some advanced breaking balls in High-A. Time will only tell if the organization is going to give him a chance. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets one more opportunity to stick around.
Steve Baron, 21, C, Clinton – Ugh…
Reports I’m hearing from Clinton are that Baron’s skills as a catcher have actually taken a slight step back and despite the fact he’s made relatively moderate improvements at the plate; at this point his offensive production even with above average defense isn’t enough to carry him to Seattle.
He’s got another year or two to try and improve but it’s not looking good at this point. While you can never really play it over in your mind like this, as you always have 20/20 vision into the past, it wasn’t really hard to see it heading this way from the beginning. It’s also frustrating to see him drafted just in front of guys like Skaggs, Brothers and Richards. They are doing so well and making major league contributions while Baron is doing so poorly.
But that’s life. Can’t win them all.