Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Seattle Mariners. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from our own (both Eric Longenhagen’s and Kiley McDaniel’s) observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.
All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a new feature at the site that offers sortable scouting information for every organization. That can be found here.
Other Prospects of Note
Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.
We’ve never been huge on Rizzo despite his obvious feel for contact because his frame has been maxed out since high school and we weren’t sure where sufficient power was going to come from, especially if he were to ever move off of third base. He’s still just 20 and had respectable peripherals at Hi-A last year, so we’ll continue to keep tabs on him despite our skepticism. Vogelbach and Curletta might each see big league time this year. Vogelbach’s approach prioritizes contact over the type of selectivity he’d need to have to get to all his power. His bat control makes this approach viable, but it may not generate offense that clears the bar at 1B/DH. He may be a good buy low target for an NL team trying to get ahead of the universal DH implementation. Like a lot of Dodgers and ex-Dodgers, Curletta’s batted ball profile has shifted and become flyball heavy over the course of several years. He did have 23 dingers last year, though he was a 24-year-old in Double-A and struck out quite a bit. Those two are both younger than Filia, who has raked for his entire college and pro career amid several off-field issues and a trade that fell through due to a medical red flag. He may fall into a late-career Lenny Harris type role if a team has enough defensive flexibility elsewhere on its roster. McGovern was a high-priority senior sign who remade his physique and had a tool uptick. He’s 23 and will need to move quickly. Sandoval has big power and runs well, but the 33% strikeout rate is ominous.
Delaplane has a 2700 rpm curveball and low-90s sinker, and he hides the ball pretty well and K’d 100 hitters in 60 innings at Low-A last year. Because he’s a cold-weather college arm, it’s a little more acceptable that he performed that way at 23, and we think he’s an interesting sleeper who might get pushed quickly this year. Florido will be 18 all year. He sits 87-89, has modest physical projection, advanced fastball control, and feel for spin. McKay was part of a group of minor league players the Mariners acquired from the Royals for cash early in 2018, presumably for minor league depth reasons. Seattle ‘penned him, and it turns out McKay is actually a decent fastball/slider middle relief prospect. Perez is an 18-year-old pitchability lefty who threw well in the DSL; his stuff is currently a bunch of 45s and 50s and his arm action is good, but the frame limits projection.
These are all relief or depth types in the age 25-27 range. Seattle gave up Juan Then to acquire Rumbelow from the Yankees and he barely pitched last year due to a nerve issue in his neck. When healthy, he’s 92-95, and touches 97, with an above-average changeup and slider. Warren pared his repertoire down and is now a fastball/slider middle relief prospect of somewhat advanced age. Brennan was the team’s Rule 5 pickup; his report is available here.
This list, of course, looks much different than last year’s iteration, which was arguably the saddest list we’ve ever done, the Charlie Brown Christmas tree of prospect lists. Of course, stocking this system with several of the high-profile names now present cost Seattle 2018’s best reliever, a shortstop with a 70 bat, a Dominican icon, an emerging if perhaps unassuming face of the franchise, and Mike Zunino.
Most of the prospects Seattle acquired in return are relatively close to the majors, supporting the front office’s public assertions that this will be a short-term rebuild. Additionally, the two teenagers in the system most likely to be stars (Rodriguez and Kelenic) are quite advanced for their age, and could be on an accelerated developmental path that enables them to overlap for a while in the big leagues with the other 50 FV prospects in the system, even though they are about four or five years older than Kelenic and Rodriguez on average.
There will be prospect entropy — J.P. Crawford, who doesn’t look so great thus far in the spring, is a great example of this. Not all of these guys will end up as good as we and the Mariners currently project them to be, and this system is still pretty thin beyond the names who were brought on this offseason. The structure of the rebuild indicates intelligent design, but chaos and entropy will play their role. Mitch Haniger (who looks like a star), Domingo Santana (who has the talent to be one), and the charismatic Mallex Smith (who may sneakily already be one) will be fun to watch while the kids grow up.
We still don’t know a lot about this org’s player development. The swollen physiques of the Jack Zduriencik era seem to be a thing of the past as the strength and conditioning program has improved, but this group really hasn’t had much talent to mold, let alone enough to draw results-based conclusions about the player dev approach, and the cement is pretty dry on the 50 FV prospects listed above.
How much better is this system now than at the end of the year? It was last by a good bit in Craig’s end-of-season analysis and, while we consider re-working our math, it has currently moved up into the 14-19 range in all of baseball.