2014 Seattle Mariners Top 10 Prospects

Seattle_Mariners_logo

Update: The 2014 Prospect Digest Annual finally hit e-book shelves. Check it out!!!

After a long delay – something measured in the months, not days –  I have a bit of an announcement to make: I will be publishing the first ever Prospect Digest Annual sometime late January/early February.

The Prospect Digest Annual will feature each organization’s Top 30 Prospects, ranking the farm systems, and several additional articles.

Until the big day happens, I will be posting each organization’s Top 10 Prospects, starting with the Arizona Diamondbacks and working through alphabetically. Enjoy!

For more Top Prospects click HERE

______________________________________________________________________________________

1. Taijuan Walker, Position: RHP, Age: 21

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

AA

84.0

2.64

2.97

10.29

3.21

28.3%

8.8%

0.64

42.5%

AAA

57.1

3.61

3.49

10.05

4.24

26.0%

11.0%

0.78

45.1%

MLB

15.0

3.60

3.94

7.20

2.40

20.0%

6.7%

0.00

38.1%

Profile: One of the preeminent pitching prospects in the game, Walker headed back to the Southern League for a tune-up at the beginning of last season, throwing 84 innings while striking out 96 and walking 30. The club bumped him up for 11 starts in the PCL (57.1 IP, 64 K’s, and 27 BB’s). He finished what’s likely to be his last extended stint in the minors with a combined 2.93 ERA, 3.19 SIERA, 10.2 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9.

During his brief three-game big league debut, the 6-foot-4 right-hander showed a mid-90s fastball, a hard cutter, a soft curve, and an upper 80s changeup.

Analysis: Legit front-of-the-rotation-type talent. Walker and King Felix Hernandez should give the Mariners of the best 1-2 punches in the big leagues for the better part of a decade. The control isn’t as crisp as you’d like at this point, but it’s still a solid-average skill.

Ceiling: 6.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Above-Average

 

2. D.J. Peterson, Position: 3B, Age: 22

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A-

123

162

.312

.382

.532

10.6%

14.6%

.220

6

0

6

0/1

A

107

155

.293

.346

.576

6.5%

22.4%

.283

5

1

7

1/1

Profile: Among all qualified collegiate players, I had Peterson as the sixth best draft prospect, trailing only Kris Bryant, Mark Appel, Jonathan Gray, Braden Shipley, and Colin Moran. The club grabbed him with the 12th pick last June, and the former University of New Mexico slugger did not disappoint. Splitting his time between short-season ball and low Class A, he hit a combined .303/.365/.553 with 11 doubles, one triple and 13 homeruns. Yeah, that’s a pretty nice debut.

Analysis: Pre-draft evaluation: “The problem with Peterson’s production is that most of it has been done in a bandbox. And once his production is adjusted for park and schedule, his overall line, while still solid, is noticeably less (.364/.487/.739). In fact, his adjusted wOBA, .475, falls to #6 overall.”

I continued: “Overall, Peterson is a solid big league prospect, probably being nabbed somewhere in the middle to back half of the first round. He’s always shown a strong eye at the plate and his power grades out as a 55 or 60. He has a ceiling as a good #5/-type hitter, capable of hitting 20 to 25 homeruns with a .280/.350/.500 line.”

The bat becomes an elite skill if – and it’s a big if – he can remain at the hot corner.

Ceiling: 4.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

3. Victor Sanchez, Position: RHP, Age: 19

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A

113.1

2.78

3.93

6.27

1.43

16.9%

3.8%

0.32

42.9%

Profile: The youngest pitcher in the Midwest League last season, Sanchez more than held his own against competition that averaged three years his senior. The, uh, portly right-hander struck out 79 and walked just 18 en route to finishing with the third best BB-rate in the league.

Analysis: Eighteen-years-old, 6-foot and 255 – 255! – pounds. Yeah, he’s going to have to be careful not go all Calvin Pickering and eat himself out of the league. But the talent is definitely there. He owns a career 2.95 ERA, 3.95 SIERA, and some pretty strong peripherals given his age vs. levels of competition. Not ace quality, but very good nonetheless.

Ceiling: 4.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low to Moderate

 

4. Ji-Man Choi, Position: 1B, Age: 23

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A+

211

169

.337

.427

.619

12.8%

15.6%

.282

24

3

7

0/1

AA

236

150

.268

.377

.485

13.6%

11.9%

.217

10

3

9

2/4

AAA

52

101

.244

.333

.422

7.7%

13.5%

.178

2

0

2

0/0

Profile: Yeah, not sure how many people saw this one coming. Choi, who bounced around a lot defensively before a back injury relegated him to first base, had one helluva season in 2013, hitting a combined .295/.394/.535 with 36 doubles, six triples, and 18 homeruns across three different levels. His total production topped the league average by 53%, the fifth highest mark among all qualified minor league first baseman.

Analysis: I became fascinated by Choi in early June, asking the question – Is Ji-Man Choi the Real Deal? The answer: Sort of. The Korean-born first baseman spent a lot of time doing damage in the High Desert, one of the most hitter friendly parks in all of baseball. But his work in Jackson, .268/.377/.485, a more neutral park, helped to alleviate some of those concerns.

I wrote at the time that Choi would have a ceiling residing somewhere close to 3.0-wins, and that still seems about right. He’s always walked a ton, shown solid-average power, good contact skills, and can handle both southpaws and right-hander equally well.

The question, however, is where does Choi fit? Seattle has about one dozen first baseman on the big league roster.

Ceiling: 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

5. James Paxton, Position: LHP, Age: 25

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

AAA

145.2

4.45

3.89

8.09

3.58

20.5%

9.1%

0.62

46.4%

MLB

24.0

1.50

3.24

7.88

2.63

22.3%

7.5%

0.75

59.1%

Profile: Paxton overcame some problematic control issues last season, posting the lowest walk rate of his three-year minor league career (3.6 BB/9). Like Walker, he was a late season call-up, throwing 24 solid innings with Seattle.

Analysis: During last year’s ranking, I wrote: “Paxton has the ability to develop into a mid-rotation-type starter, maybe a touch better, but his control/command is spotty at best. Already 24, the 6-foot-4 left-hander hasn’t made any significant progress in limiting free passes. And if he doesn’t’ take a developmental step forward this season, Paxton could be headed to the bullpen so the team can see some big league value from him.”

Well, he took that step forward last season. So, I’m sticking with the mid-rotation ceiling. Above-average to plus fastball, hard cutter, curveball and change. Again, not sure how much better – if any – the control improves. 

Ceiling: 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

6. Danny Hultzen, Position: LHP, Age: 24

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

AAA

30.2

2.05

2.68

9.98

2.05

27.6%

5.7%

0.29

34.6%

Profile: The second overall pick in 2011 missed much of the year last season due to partial tears – yes, that’s multiple tears – in his rotator cuff and capsule, and for good measure he had his labrum cleaned up. Sounds like…fun?

Analysis: His selection in the draft was widely panned – before a potential career altering injury. Just a few of the names the organization passed on: Dylan Bundy, Anthony Rendon, Archie Bradley, Franciso Lindor, Javier Baez and Jose Fernandez.

Hultzen looked like a #2/#3-type ceiling pre-injury. Now, I’m going to move that down around a #3/4 until he throws another meaningful pitch.

Ceiling: 3.0- to 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low

 

7. Edwin Diaz, Position: RHP, Age: 20

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

RK

69.0

1.43

2.51

10.30

2.35

30.4%

6.9%

0.65

45.3%

Profile: Seattle grabbed the lively-armed right-hander in the third round two years ago. Diaz, who battled some control issues in his 19-inning stint in the Arizona Summer League during his debut, looked like he was ready for full season action last season, striking out 79 and walking just 18 in 69 innings of work in the Appy.

Analysis: Gut feeling about this kid. He simply overmatched the Appalachian League competition and could be one of the system’s biggest risers in 2014. It’s a bit bold, but I’m going to say mid-rotation-type ceiling.

Ceiling: 3.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low

 

8. Tyler Marlette, Position: C, Age: 21

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A

297

132

.304

.367

.448

8.1%

17.8%

.144

17

2

6

10/14

Profile: A fifth round pick back in 2011, Marlette had his best season to date, topping the Midwest League average production by 32%. He finished with a .304/.367/.448 line, adding 17 homeruns, a pair of triples, and six homeruns.

Analysis: There’s still not a whole helluva lot to go on here, just about one full season’s worth, but Marlette essentially two half-seasons of good offensive production and solid work behind the plate. Solid offensive tools across the board.

Ceiling: 2.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low to Moderate

 

9. Julio Morban, Position: RF, Age: 22

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

AA

326

140

.295

.362

.468

8.6%

29.1%

.173

20

5

7

7/9

Profile: Morban proved that his breakout season with High Desert in 2012 was no fluke. The oft-injured outfielder batted .295/.362/.468 with Jackson in another shortened year. Morban, who now owns a career .283/.338/.463 line, has yet to top 90 games in any of his five professional seasons.

Analysis: Very toolsy prospect. Or so it seems. The power has a chance to be better than average. He can swipe the occasional bag and take a walk every now and then. But a lot of production last season was from a ridiculously high .415 BABIP. Oh, and he’s showing some issues with southpaws. Morban could be a useful big leaguer – in the right environment.

Ceiling: 2.0- to 2.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low to Moderate

 

10. Austin Wilson, Position: RF, Age: 22

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A-

226

114

.241

.319

.414

7.5%

18.6%

.173

11

3

6

2/6

Profile: The production has never really matched the hype. And Wilson, the club’s second round pick out of Stanford, missed about half of his junior season due to a bum elbow. When he did return, his production was nearly identical to his sophomore season (.288/.387/.475 vs. .285/.389/.493).

Keeping with the ongoing theme of failing to live up to expectations, Wilson’s debut in short-season ball was OK.

Analysis: Pre-draft evaluation: “He’s built well, but he’s never really shown a whole lot of power. And for a player relegated to a corner outfield spot that’s a bit concerning, though he did slug six homeruns in 23 games in the Cape last summer. He’s more about projectability right now, maybe with 20/20 potential. He might be what Oakland’s Michael Taylor was supposed to be, but there’s more risk than normal though.”

Ceiling: 2.0- to 2.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 



About

After serving as a video scout/analyst for Baseball Info Solutions, Joe Werner began writing at his original site, ReleasePoints.com. He’s since transitioned into his current niche, prospect analysis, at ProspectDigest.com. He has been fortunate — and incredibly blessed — to have some of his work published and mentioned by several major media outlets, including: ESPN, Cleveland.com and the Baseball Research Journal. He can be reached at: JosephMWerner@yahoo.com.


'2014 Seattle Mariners Top 10 Prospects' has no comments

Be the first to comment this post!
Add Comment Register



Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.