Top 16 Prospects: Seattle Mariners by Eric Longenhagen April 11, 2017 Below is an analysis of the prospects in the Seattle Mariners farm system. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from my own observations. The KATOH statistical projections, probable-outcome graphs, and (further down) Mahalanobis comps have been provided by Chris Mitchell. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of my prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this. -Eric Longenhagen The KATOH projection system uses minor-league data and Baseball America prospect rankings to forecast future performance in the major leagues. For each player, KATOH produces a WAR forecast for his first six years in the major leagues. There are drawbacks to scouting the stat line, so take these projections with a grain of salt. Due to their purely objective nature, the projections here can be useful in identifying prospects who might be overlooked or overrated. Due to sample-size concerns, only players with at least 200 minor-league plate appearances or batters faced last season have received projections. -Chris Mitchell Other Lists NL West (ARI, COL, LAD, SD, SF) AL Central (CHW, CLE, DET, KC, MIN) NL Central (CHC, CIN, PIT, MIL, StL) NL East (ATL, MIA, NYM, PHI, WAS) AL East (BAL, BOS, NYY, TB, TOR) NL West (HOU, LAA) Mariners Top Prospects Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV 1 Kyle Lewis 21 A- OF 2019 55 2 Tyler O’Neill 21 AAA OF 2017 50 3 Nick Neidert 20 A+ RHP 2019 45 4 Mitch Haniger 26 MLB OF 2016 45 5 Andrew Moore 22 AA RHP 2017 45 6 Dan Altavilla 24 MLB RHP 2017 45 7 Dan Vogelbach 24 MLB 1B 2017 45 8 Ben Gamel 24 MLB OF 2017 40 9 Guillermo Heredia 26 MLB OF 2017 40 10 Max Povse 23 AA RHP 2018 40 11 Chris Torres 19 R SS 2020 40 12 Brayan Hernandez 19 R CF 2020 40 13 Thyago Vieira 24 AA RHP 2018 40 14 Bryson Brigman 21 A 2B 2019 40 15 Joe Rizzo 19 R 3B 2020 40 16 Braden Bishop 23 A+ CF 2019 40 55 FV Prospects 1. Kyle Lewis, OF Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Mercer Age 21 Height 6’4 Weight 205 Bat/Throw R/R Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/45 60/70 40/60 45/40 45/55 60/60 Relevant/Interesting Metrics Slashed .395/.535/.731 with 20 home runs as junior at Mercer. Scouting Report Lewis crashed the national party on the Cape in 2015, distinguishing himself as the most talented prospect and youngest regular on an Orleans roster teeming with talent. (Half of the Firebirds roster were honest-to-god prospects.) His junior year at Mercer included 20 home runs, a Golden Spikes award, and questions about the quality of pitching he faced in the Southern Conference. The power has never been in question, though: Lewis has plus, all-fields power right now, can hit balls out to right center with a flick of his wrists, and projects for plus-plus raw as his rangy 6-foot-4 frame fills out. He has terrific bat speed but also some excessive noise in his swing (an exaggerated and arguably superfluous leg kick, to start), and some scouts think he’s going to swing and miss in pro ball. He only struck out in 16% of his plate appearances as a junior at Mercer, but that’s obviously where the questions about SoCon pitching entered teams’ discussions. Lewis was drafted 11th overall by Seattle and began his pro career at Everett. He tore his ACL as he attempted to avoid a violent collision at home plate in July, and he has been doing things like this in Peoria but has yet to get underway in games. He played center field at Mercer but was not a lock to stay at the position, and the ACL injury has further clouded his defensive prognosis. If Lewis is hitting 30-plus homers (which he has the potential to do), it matters not that he fits better in right than in center. If he somehow can stay there, though — and hits at the same time — then he’s a star. 50 FV Prospects 2. Tyler O’Neill, OF Video Drafted: 3rd Round, 2013 from Maple Ridge HS (B.C., Canada) Age 22 Height 5’11 Weight 205 Bat/Throw R/R Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/40 70/70 45/55 55/55 45/50 55/55 Relevant/Interesting Metrics Slashed .293/.374/.508 at Double-A, then produced nearly identical line at AFL. Scouting Report A dense pillar of meat, O’Neill — at a shredded 5-foot-10, 210 pounds — is the most muscular baseball player many scouts have ever seen. But unlike most players with similar measurables, O’Neill is an above-average straight-line runner, has good range in (but not great feel for) the outfield, and an above-average arm. He does have the sort of power one might expect from a walking bicep, arguably plus-plus raw, and most scouts think O’Neill’s combination of ball/strike recognition and minimalist swing will allow him to catch enough fastballs to hit 20-plus homers annually despite justifiable questions about the hit tool. Scouts who saw O’Neill in the Fall League noted that he swung through or made sub-optimal contact with lots of hittable pitches in the zone, and they have questions about the hand-eye or bat control. But he should do enough to play every day even if the hit tool ends up below average and, if you just look at the tools and not the unique physique, O’Neill has a pretty standard right-field profile. He projects as an average regular. KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 8.8 WAR 45 FV Prospects 3. Nick Neidert, RHP Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2015 from Peachtree Ridge HS (GA) Age 20 Height 6’1 Weight 180 Bat/Throw R/R Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command 40/40 50/55 50/60 50/60 Relevant/Interesting Metrics Recorded 69 strikeouts in 91 innings. Scouting Report Neidert doesn’t throw especially hard (he was 87-91 for me this spring, from a low three-quarters slot), but he has mature command of two terrific secondary offerings and sequences them effectively. The best of these is Neidert’s potential plus changeup, which coasts in at around 82-84 with late tail and fade. He throws a lot of changeups and will do so in any count. It sneaks under the barrels of both left- and right-handed hitters and should be Neidert’s best pitch at maturity. He also has a tilting upper-70s curveball that plays up against right-handed hitters because of Neidert’s arm slot and cross body (but low-effort) delivery, but it’s at least average on movement and could be above average at peak. Neidert was handled with care in 2016, starting the year in extended spring training purely to limit his innings. He was sent to the full-season Midwest League where he struggled to miss bats, but he likely never will if he keeps pitching with a 40 fastball. The command (which projects to plus) and secondaries should still allow Neidert to be an effective No. 4 big-league starter, but his upside is limited by a lack of heat, and he features little, if any, physical projection. KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.2 WAR 4. Mitch Haniger, OF Drafted: 1st Round, 2012 from Cal Poly SLO Age 26 Height 6’2 Weight 215 Bat/Throw R/R Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/40 60/60 45/50 60/60 50/50 50/50 Relevant/Interesting Metrics Has posted 24% strikeout rate over first 161 big-league at-bats. Scouting Report Haniger is an above-average runner with plus raw power. Players with that tool combination don’t exist in droves, but Haniger’s tools only began to play on the field after a significant adjustment. He was demoted to High-A as a 24-year old in 2015 after slugging a paltry .379 for Double-A Mobile. It appeared damning, on the surface, and looked as though the Diamondbacks were souring on him. In reality, though, Haniger had proactively told the D-backs he’d accept a demotion if it meant he could play every day which, with prospects Evan Marzilli, Socrates Brito and Gabriel Guerrero also in Mobile by mid-year, wasn’t going to happen at Double-A. Haniger made a swing change (profiled here and here by D-backs beat writer Nick Piecoro) and took off. You can see the old swing here. Scouts are a little bit apprehensive about Haniger’s propensity to swing and miss and think there’s a good chance he ends up as either a platoon bat or power-first fourth outfielder who can play center field in a pinch. Given Haniger’s purported makeup and clear ability to make significant adjustments, I think there’s a non-zero chance he’s a late-blooming average regular, but it’s more likely he falls just short of that. The Diamondbacks acquired Haniger, along with Anthony Banda, from Milwaukee in exchange for Gerardo Parra and then Haniger was traded to Seattle during the offseason in the Jean Segura/Tai Walker blockbuster. KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 4.3 WAR 5. Andrew Moore, RHP Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2015 from Oregon St Age 23 Height 5’11 Weight 185 Bat/Throw R/R Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command 50/50 40/45 45/45 55/60 45/55 Relevant/Interesting Metrics Recorded just 4% walk rate in 19 Double-A starts. Scouting Report A two-time All American at Oregon State, Moore (who signed for just under slot as a second-round pick in 2015) continues to buck traditional scouting tropes and had success at Double-A in his first full pro season. Moore is undersized, has a high-effort overhand delivery, doesn’t throw particularly hard (he was 90-93 this spring), and lacks an impact breaking ball. But he is athletic, has a potential plus changeup, and has never had issues throwing strikes despite the effort in the delivery. Moore’s ability to work north and south with his fastball and mess with hitters’ eye level allows his changeup to play up. His loopy curveball doesn’t bite hard enough to miss bats in the zone, but Moore would throw it for strikes early in counts in college to get ahead of hitters. He worked more with a short, low-80s slider this spring, which might be effective if he can locate it to his glove side consistently. Moore does enough to project as a big-league rotation piece of some kind, likely as a strike-throwing No. 4/5 starter whose bat-missing abilities are limited. KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.7 WAR 6. Dan Altavilla, RHP Drafted: 5th Round, 2014 from Mercyhurst Age 24 Height 5’11 Weight 200 Bat/Throw R/R Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Command 70/70 60/60 40/40 Relevant/Interesting Metrics Averaged 96 mph on fastball last year. Scouting Report Altavilla’s stuff ticked up after he moved to the bullpen in 2016, and now he sits 93-98 with a fastball that will top out at 100 mph. Though his slider has inconsistent length, it’s exceptionally hard at 87-90 and touching 92, enabling it to miss bats when Altavilla is even just locating it near the strike zone. He has just 40 control but also possesses obvious late-inning stuff. He profiles as a low-risk setup man — and even perhaps as a starter, as the strong-bodied Altavilla has been remarkably healthy. KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 0.7 WAR 7. Dan Vogelbach, 1B Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2011 from Bishop Verot HS (FL) Age 24 Height 6’0 Weight 250 Bat/Throw L/R Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 45/50 60/60 45/50 20/20 30/30 40/40 Relevant/Interesting Metrics Slashed .292/.417/.505 in 2016. Scouting Report Vogelbach won a 3-A state baseball championship in high school at Bishop Verot High School in Fort Myers, mostly playing third base. He tipped the scales at close to 280 pounds at the time and was asked to shed weight early in his pro career with the Cubs. He’s now listed at 6-foot, 250 pounds. He has issues with range, footwork, flexibility, and throwing accuracy. He’ll make the occasional, spectacular-looking, effort-based play but hasn’t shown enough technical refinement in his five pro seasons to convince scouts he can play a position. Because Vogelbach has always been, at best, a first-base-only prospect, scouts have spent the last five years deciding whether or not he’d hit enough to make any kind of big-league impact. Vogelbach has plus raw power but it comes at the expense both of effort and swing-and-miss when he really cuts things loose. He’ll hit some impressive blasts to his pull side and muscle some balls out the other way but, in general, the game power plays beneath his raw because Vogelbach’s approach to hitting is often of the Take What You’re Given variety and he’s spraying contact all over the field. The physical tools for contact are here. Vogelbach has good bat control and hand-eye coordination. The bat speed is good, and he’s shown that he can recognize ball and strikes. The issue here has been his footwork, which would get clunky and leave Vogelbach’s weight way out on his front foot against offspeed stuff. His feel for the barrel is good enough to mask this issue somewhat, but when Vogelbach has made weak contact this has been a cause. I’ve gotten recent reports that Vogelbach has simplified (or at least altered) his footwork and is getting his front foot down earlier, which may turn out to be a beneficial adjustment for him and a possible catalyst for his uptick in statistical output this season (though, that could just be the PCL, too). The whole package looks like it will play as a 50 hitter with 50 game power, though I think there’s more volatility here than is typical for a prospect who has hit all the way up the ladder — both because (a) so much of what Vogelbach is and does is unique and because (b) there’s some evidence that a recent adjustment might make a substantive difference. The glove, arm, and speed are all comfortably below average. The offensive profile closely mirrors that league-wide wOBA average for designated hitters: something in the .333- to .337-wOBA range is about where a .270 hitter with a solid approach and about 18-homer game power ends up. His overall contribution will be diluted by a complete lack of defensive or baserunning value. KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 6.2 WAR 40 FV Prospects 8. Ben Gamel, OF Drafted: 10th Round, 2010 from Bishop Kenney HS (FL) Age 25 Height 5’10 Weight 170 Bat/Throw L/L Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 50/55 45/45 30/35 55/55 45/50 55/55 Relevant/Interesting Metrics Slashed .308/.365/.420 at Triple-A in 2016. Scouting Report Gamel made a minor adjustment to his footwork during the 2014 offseason and he had big years at Triple-A Scranton in 2015 and 2016 before he was dealt to Seattle for Juan De Paula and Jio Orozco (Yankees list is here) last season, during which he made his big-league debut. Of the bevy of hyper-versatile outfielders on Seattle’s 40-man roster, Gamel is the only one in the minors right now. He’s an above-average runner and capable of playing all three outfield spots despite occasionally late reads off the bat. Gamel has excellent hand-eye coordination and has improved his timing at the plate. He laces line-drive contact from gap to gap and runs the bases well. While Gamel isn’t the defender Guillermo Heredia is, I think he’s more likely to contribute with the bat, and I prefer his handedness to Heredia’s, which is why I have them slotted as I do. They’re very similar players. KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 4.4 WAR 9. Guillermo Heredia, OF Age 26 Height 5’10 Weight 180 Bat/Throw R/L Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 45/50 40/40 30/30 55/55 55/55 55/55 Relevant/Interesting Metrics Recorded 141 career walks, 143 career strikeouts in Serie Nacional. Scouting Report After signing in February for $500K, Heredia’s 2016 included a six-week cup of coffee with the big club (he’s still rookie eligible by about a dozen PAs) followed by some extra work late in the Fall League. He stands out for his abilities at all three outfield spots, where he’s an above average defender, but he also showed a surprisingly polished approach last year for a guy who hadn’t played in games since 2013, walking nearly as much as he struck out in about 480 plate appearances. Heredia has fringey but playable bat speed and keeps things very simple at the plate. He’s unlikely to hit for any kind of power but, with his solid bat-to-ball ability and on-base skills, he could be someone’s low-end regular in center field. In a Seattle outfield loaded with similar glove-first profiles but louder tools, he’s going to be relegated to the bench and his value will be limited. KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.5 WAR 10. Max Povse, RHP Drafted: 3rd Round, 2014 from UNC Greensboro Age 23 Height 6’8 Weight 185 Bat/Throw R/R Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command 45/50 40/45 45/45 55/60 45/50 Relevant/Interesting Metrics Recorded 25% strikeout rate at High-A, just 17% at Double-A. Scouting Report Acquired from Atlanta in the offseason trade headlined by Alex Jackson, Povse is a gargantuan, 6-foot-8 righty with a deceptive overhand delivery that makes it look like the baseball is shooting out of his ear. He sits 89-92 and will touch 93 or 94 on occasion with more downhill plane than horizontal movement, which helps him generate ground balls. He has three average secondary pitches. His vertical curveball and tilty, two-plane slider are both thrown for strikes, but Povse doesn’t consistently get over his front side and has trouble burying them beneath the zone for swings and misses. If Povse is missing bats, it’s usually with his above-average changeup, his best pitch. He projects as an inning-eating ground-ball machine who pitches at the back of a rotation. His strikeout rate dipped significantly after a promotion to Double-A in 2016. KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 3.1 WAR 11. Chris Torres, SS Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic Age 19 Height 5’11 Weight 170 Bat/Throw S/R Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/40 45/50 20/40 50/50 40/50 60/60 Relevant/Interesting Metrics Recorded 10% walk, 23% strikeout rate in AZL. Scouting Report Torres was originally slated to be part of the Yankees’ huge 2014 signing class until this happened and he signed with Seattle for just shy of $400K. He was a monster during extended spring training in 2016 and early on in the AZL. He started swinging and missing more by mid-year, though, and ended the season with a 23% strikeout rate. Torres is an average runner, but his actions and footwork are nimble, his arm is plus, and he fits at shortstop long term. Offensively, Torres hit for very little power last year, but he has above-average bat speed and a chance for average or better raw power. His strikeouts and high rate of ground balls last season weren’t a result of a light bat but of poor bat control, which had Torres swinging through lots of pitches or failing to strike them in a meaningful way. When he connects, the ball jumps off the bat, and I’ve seen Torres double down both baselines and into both gaps. He has power, he’s just technically far away from unlocking it and making any sort of offensive impact. Based on what I’ve seen from Torres so far this spring, he’s lowered where he’s loading his hands which, theoretically, should allow his bat to get on plane with incoming pitches in a way that a creates lift more consistently. He’s a high-risk potential regular for me. KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.1 WAR 12. Brayan Hernandez, CF Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic Age 19 Height 6’2 Weight 175 Bat/Throw S/R Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/50 30/40 20/30 50/50 40/50 60/60 Relevant/Interesting Metrics None. Scouting Report Hernandez signed for $1.8 million in 2014 and hit well in the DSL before making his stateside debut in 2016. Teams sent scouts in to see him ahead of the trade deadline in July and they left with mixed opinions. Hernandez is an average runner (above average underway) but his instincts in center field are good and he could be average there at maturity, but some scouts have him projected in right field (the arm is plus). Offensively, Hernandez tracks pitches well and has a compact, low-maintenance swing that generates solid, pull-oriented contact. He struggled with breaking-ball recognition in my looks at him this spring, but no other scout with whom I spoke noted this and he projects as at least an average hitter. Scouts are mixed on the power and physical projection. Hernandez appears projectable on paper, but his frame is narrow and slight and there are scouts who think he’s always going to be rail thin, maxing out with something like 40 raw. If that’s the case, then Hernandez’s profile is heavily reliant on his ability to stay in center field, as it’s difficult for anyone to profile every day in a corner with that kind of pop. If Hernandez stays in center field, he could hit his way to everyday duty. If he can’t then it’s more of a bench-outfielder profile, and obviously a high risk one at this point as Hernandez is still in extended spring training and ticketed for rookie/short-season ball again in 2017. Also of note, Hernandez is still listed as a switch-hitter in lots of places but had already given it up by last spring. He’s righty-only now. 13. Thyago Vieira, RHP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2010 from Brazil Age 24 Height 6’2 Weight 210 Bat/Throw R/R Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Command 80/80 50/55 35/40 Relevant/Interesting Metrics Posted strikeout and walk rates of 28.0% and 9.5%, respectively, at High-A. Scouting Report Vieira has long been of note for his impressive arm strength, but he had significant strike-throwing issues and missed fewer bats than expected — until 2016, that is, when he broke out in the Cal League. Vieira was sent to Arizona for the fall and had the hardest fastball of the 2016 Fall League, sitting 97-100 and touching 103. His delivery is, predictably, of the high-effort and relief-only variety but has been cleaned up enough for Vieira to throw a passable ratio of strikes. He lacks a bat-missing secondary pitch, though his low-80s power curveball flashes above average and is currently his best bet for one. There are instances when Vieira decelerates his arm when throwing the curveball, which makes it easy for smart hitters to pick it up. At other times, though, it has good bite and shape and Vieira has shown some ability to throw it for strikes. There’s still work to be done on the command and breaking ball but, even as we enter the Golden Age of Velocity, Vieira has elite arm strength. He’s most likely a middle-relief piece of some kind, but if the Mariners can coax a better breaking ball out of him, his upside is much greater than that. 14. Bryson Brigman, 2B Video Drafted: 3rd Round, 2016 from San Diego Age 22 Height 5’11 Weight 170 Bat/Throw R/R Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/60 40/45 20/30 55/55 45/55 45/45 Relevant/Interesting Metrics Slashed .372/.428/.424 as junior at San Diego. Scouting Report Brigman’s amateur resume is impressive. He won championships on three separate Team USA clubs, hit .340 as a freshman at San Diego, then .333 in a limited run on the Cape, then .372 as a draft-eligible sophomore. His bat will probably have to max out if he’s going to have much of a big-league role, as he lacks the arm for shortstop, doesn’t hit for the power typical for second base, and has no physical projection. But Brigman has done nothing but hit since scouts started laying eyes on him, he’s an above-average runner, and should provide some defensive value at one or more up-the-middle positions. With enough bat-to-ball and defensive ability, Brigman could be a regular, but it’s more likely he grows into a utility role. KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 0.8 WAR 15. Joe Rizzo, 3B Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Oakton HS (VA) Age 19 Height 5’9 Weight 194 Bat/Throw L/R Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/60 45/45 20/40 30/30 30/40 50/50 Relevant/Interesting Metrics None. Scouting Report Rizzo was one of the more advanced prep bats available in the 2016 draft, and he used the whole field beautifully in his pro debut in the AZL (he signed for an overslot $1.7 million), often slicing contact down the left-field line for extra bases. He has good hand-eye and feel for the barrel, projecting as a plus hitter at peak. Rizzo is a boxy 5-foot-9 and is unlikely to grow into more than his currently fringey raw power. Barring a change in approach, Rizzo’s game power is likely to max out below average, which is a bit of a problem for scouts who think his defense at third base is fringey or have him projected to first either because of arm strength or lateral range. The maturation of the bat is essential for Rizzo to have any lasting big-league role, but he did nothing but hit as an amateur — both in Virginia and in showcase play against high-level pitching — so there’s reason to believe it will. 16. Braden Bishop, CF Drafted: 3rd Round, 2015 from Washington Age 23 Height 6’1 Weight 190 Bat/Throw R/R Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 40/40 20/30 70/70 50/60 55/55 Relevant/Interesting Metrics Produced just .300 OBP at Cal League in 2016. Scouting Report A plus-plus runner who projects as a plus defender in center field, Bishop is a slash-and-dash ground-ball hitter in the Peter Bourjos mold. Barring an unforeseen development on the offensive end, Bishop projects as a fourth outfielder or glove-only option in center field but he should have a long career in the big leagues as long as he’s swift-footed and sure-handed. KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 0.3 WAR ***** Mahalanobis Comps for 40+ FV Prospects Rank Prospect Most Noteworthy Comp 2 Tyler O’Neill Brian Giles 3 Nick Neidert Joel Pineiro 4 Mitch Haniger Darren Bragg 5 Andrew Moore Todd Redmond 6 Dan Altavilla Gustavo Chacin 7 Dan Vogelbach Todd Helton 8 Ben Gamel Marlon Byrd 9 Guillermo Heredia Marvin Benard 10 Max Povse John Lackey 11 Chris Torres Juan Castro 14 Bryson Brigman Mark DeRosa 16 Braden Bishop Norris Hopper ***** Other Prospects of Note (In Order of Preference) Chase DeJong, RHP, 2.0 KATOH+ WAR – Acquired this spring from Los Angeles (NL), DeJong is a high-volume strike-thrower with a deep repertoire of modest stuff led by a big loopy curveball and relatively new cutter. He sits 88-90 with the fastball and all of the secondaries are fringey, so there’s some doubt about how the stuff will play multiple times through the order, but DeJong throws enough strikes to profile as a competent sixth starter or swing man. Taylor Motter, UTIL, 1.8 KATOH+ – Motter’s comfortably plus arm allows him to play anywhere on the diamond. (That’s why he’s on Seattle’s active roster: they’re carrying 13 pitchers and Nelson Cruz can’t play defense.) Nevertheless, he struggled mightily against big-league pitching last year, and most scouts view Motter as a depth option rather than a big-league mainstay. James Pazos, LHP – Acquired last year from New York (AL), Pazos is a pretty standard lefty relief prospect with a low-90s fastball and above-average slider. Dillon Overton, LHP – Overton’s velocity has never bounced back after Tommy John and he pitches in the upper-80s rather than the low to mid-90s as he did in college. He’s commanded an average changeup and fringe curveball all the way through the minors, but there’s doubt about whether his fastball will play in the big leagues at all. A new cutter gives some hope. Luis Liberato, OF, 1.2 KATOH+ – Liberato’s swing-and-miss issues stem from excessive noise in his hands as he triggers his swing. He has a great idea of the strike zone, though, and his body has started to mature. If he grows into some power but retains the speed to pass in center, he suddenly becomes an interesting prospect, and he’s shown some glimpses of it this spring. Brandon Miller, RHP, 0.5 KATOH+ – Scouts who saw Miller, a 2016 sixth rounder out of Millersville (a DII school in an the athletically underrated PSAC), in pro ball think he has a chance to make it as a back-end starter, largely due to his riding low-90s fastball and potential above-average slider. Emilio Pagan, RHP, 1.9 KATOH+ – A righty reliever who works up in the zone with a fastball at 92-94 and throws an average slider, Pagan is in Triple-A but not on the Mariners 40-man and projects as middle-relief depth. Rob Whalen, RHP, 2.8 KATOH+ – The other pitcher Seattle netted from Atlanta in the Alex Jackson trade, Whalen made his major-league debut in 2016. The Braves acquired him from the Mets the year before in one of history’s many Kelly Johnson trades. (Note: there have been more Kelly Johnson trades than Fast and Furious movies!) The thick-bodied 22-year-old has an upper-80s fastball that exhibits above-average spin rates up around 2400 rpms. He can cut and sink the fastball. He couples the heater, primarily, with an above-average, wiping slider in the low-80s. He can spin an average curveball and has a below-average changeup. Whalen could be a fifth starter or up-and-down arm if his command improves significantly, but his delivery features some effort and he’s a likely reliever or rotation depth arm. Donnie Walton, UTIL, 1.0 KATOH+ – A prototypical grinder utility prospect, Walton does just enough to stay at short, runs well enough that a big-league club would be able to find use for his legs, and makes a little bit of contact. And of course no grinder is complete without sound fundamentals and high-effort play. D.J. Peterson, 1B, 0.6 KATOH+ – Peterson’ long-projected move to first base finally occurred in 2016 but he has not, of yet, been able to recapture the bat-to-ball ability that led to his first-round selection in 2013 and (somewhat Cal League fueled) pro breakout in 2014. Peterson’s strikeout rate has inched up at each subsequent level of the minors and he’s been slowed by injury (most significantly an Achillies injury in 2015 and most recently a fractured finger late last summer). He now projects as a positionless bench bat. Eric Filia, OF, 1.7 KATOH+ – Filia hit .444 in the postseason as a sophomore on UCLA’s National Championship team. He went to the Cape, hurt his shoulder, needed labrum surgery, and missed his junior year. Then he was caught plagiarizing a paper and was ruled ineligible for a second straight year. He returned to the program (he held down a number of odd jobs during his time away from school, including one at the Playboy mansion) before returning to the program. As a fifth-year senior in 2016 he hit well, including squaring up multiple mid-90s fastballs from Alec Hansen in Hansen’s best start of the year. He tore up pro ball after signing as a 20th rounder. Filia lacks a position, but I think there’s a chance he hits enough to be a big leaguer. He turns 25 this year and will need to move quickly. Ian Miller, CF, 2.4 KATOH+ – A plus-running center fielder from Wagner College, Miller is very difficult to strike out and fine in center field but is already 25. He’ll likely wear a big-league uniform at some point. David Greer, 4C – Greer hit .344 as a junior at Arizona State and has great bat-to-ball skills but very little game power. He played mostly third base in college but wasn’t great there and most of his time with Everett last year in the outfield. If he can find a way to pass, even just part time, at third base he could be a four-corners bench bat. Joe DeCarlo, C, 0.1 KATOH+ – DeCarlo has only been catching for a few weeks but has taken naturally to receiving and has promising hands. He’s popping around 2.00-2.05 but there’s room for improvement once his footwork gets polished up. His ground game is, predictably, rough and the most obvious area he’s lacking in right now ,but he’s much farther along in general than I would have guessed. Boog Powell, OF, 4.1 KATOH+ – Powell has tweener/bench-outfielder tools (he runs well but not well enough to be a no-doubt asset in center field, makes some contact but not enough to play in a corner), but his career has been sidetracked by off-field issues, including multiple drug suspensions, trades, and a fist fight in winter ball. Nick Wells, LHP, 0.4 KATOH+ – A projectable lefty with some curveball feel, Wells is already a decent strike thrower for a 6-foot-5, 21-year-old, and could grow into more velocity in his early 20s. Cistulli’s Guy Selected by Carson Cistulli from any player who received less than a 40 FV. Gianfranco Wawoe, 2B/3B, 0.3 KATOH+ On the one hand, Ty Kelly isn’t the ideal ballplayer. He’s a useful, but not excellent, fielder. He has limited offensive ability. On the other hand, he’s a former 13th-rounder who’s managed to produce a positive WAR mark in the majors. By at least one set of criteria, in other words, he’s a rousing success. On the one hand, Gianfranco Wawoe isn’t the ideal ballplayer. He’s a useful, but not excellent, fielder. He has limited offensive ability. On the other, he’s just 22 years old and is already projected by Steamer to record similar numbers to Kelly by certain key measures like strikeout rate and isolated slugging. Consider: Kelly and Wawoe, Steamer 600 Projections Name Age PA K% ISO DEF Ty Kelly 28 600 17.0% .097 2.6 Gianfranco Wawoe 22 600 16.8% .091 6.0 Steamer 600 projections are the typical Steamer projections prorated to 600 major-league PAs. Assigned to High-A Modesto, Wawoe has recorded an equal number of strikeouts and home runs (1) to begin the season. ***** System Overview This system is quite shallow now due to a series of trades executed by the front office over the last 12-15 months. The following players were dealt to other teams and covered on team lists during this series: Juan De Paula, Luiz Gohara, Daniel Missaki, Alex Jackson, Erick Mejia, Jio Orozco, Freddy Peralta, Carlos Vargas, Ryan Yarbrough. Other than Gohara (who was traded in part for non-performance reasons), none of these are elite prospects but all were of interest to scouts. Of course, this was done in effort to improve and compete with the big club this year. If nothing else, the Mariners have one of baseball more fascinating rosters. I like to talk about identifiable player-acquisition trends in this space, but the sun has only just risen on the Jerry Dipoto regime. Also, Tom McNamara is no longer the amateur scouting director. As a result, we have little data on that end. Seattle picks 17th in the upcoming draft — typically an area where teams can scoop up a 45 or 50 FV prospect — so they should add a name toward the top of this list in June.