After burping up the majority of the club’s top prospects over the last season-plus — Tiajuan Walker, Brad Miller, Mike Zunino, Brandon Maurer, Roenis Elias, and Nick Franklin — Seattle’s farm system remains a bit thin at the upper level, though there’s plenty of talent developing in Class AA and below.
For a look at the club’s Top 10 Prospects heading into the year click HERE
1. Alex Jackson, LF/RF, Age: 18
The second high school bat taken, Jackson, who was chosen directly following the Twins’ selection of Nick Gordon, was widely regarded as the top prep power bat. He’s off to a scorching start in the Arizona Summer League, hitting .322/.373/.525 through his first 15 games. The organization already moved the former backstop to a corner outfield spot, a decision that will inevitable expedite his ascension through the minor leagues.
2. D.J. Peterson, 3B, Age: 22
The club’s first pick last season, 12th overall, Peterson predictably mashed at High Desert, hitting .326/.381/.615 while topping the league average production by 55%. He’ll get his first true test with Jackson where he’s hitting .290/.333/.500 through his first 15 games.
3. Victor Sanchez, RHP, Age: 19
Never shy about pushing it’s younger pitching prospects through the system, the Mariners promoted the 19-year-old right-hander to Class AA this season, wisely bypassing High Desert’s bandbox. Sanchez has set a career high in strikeout rate, 7.33, while showing above-average or better control.
4. James Paxton, LHP, Age: 25
Technically still a prospect thanks to a time-limiting back injury, Paxton has totaled just 15 innings between Class AAA and Seattle. Solid mid- to back-of-the rotation arm that, hopefully, could be useful down the stretch.
5. Ketel Marte, SS, Age: 20
The 20-year-old switch-hitting shortstop has handled himself quite nicely despite the aggression promotion to Class AA this season, batting .300/.327/.388 with 18 stolen bases. Sneaky good and primed for a breakout within the next year-plus.
6. Austin Wilson, RF, Age: 22
Wilson rebounded from a less-than-expected showing in short-season ball last season (.241/.319/.414) to hit .298/.385/.523 in Low Class A. He’s done enough to prove that he’s ready for the next step, High Desert, though the club may wish to push him directly to Class AA.
7. Ji-Man Choi, 1B, Age: 23
Narrowly missing the Top 100 prospects in my book, The 2014 Prospect Digest Annual, Choi was popped – and subsequently suspended – for methandienone, a performance enhancing drug. After slugging .295/.394/.535 across three levels last season, Choi is hitting .273/.379/.364 in his return to the PCL.
8. Danny Hultzen, LHP, Age: 24
Seven of the nine picks following Hultzen’s selection as the second overall pick in the 2011 draft: Trevor Bauer, Dylan Bundy, Anthony Rendon, Archie Bradley, Francisco Lindor, Javier Baez, and George Springer. The Mariners’ once-promising southpaw is hoping to be fully recovered from shoulder surgery to throw during the fall.
9. Edwin Diaz, RHP, Age: 20
Potentially the next young arm prepared to move quickly through the system, Diaz has struck out 71 and walked 34 in his 78.0 innings of work in low Class A. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the franchise basically have him bypass high Class A a la Victor Sanchez.
10. Chris Taylor, SS, Age: 23
The former fifth round pick has done nothing but hit since entering pro ball in 2012, and his work this season, .315/.391/.493, is just the latest example. The power comes and goes, but Taylor has shown a consistent above-average eye at the plate and speed. Potentially a better than average role player.
Photo courtesy of Craig Malveaux via utsandiego.com.