MLB Farm System Rankings: #1 Seattle Mariners

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16. Gabriel Guerrero (OF)- Much like his uncle Vladimir Guerrero, Gabriel fits the RF profile very nicely with solid athleticism, a strong throwing arm, and really good raw power. Also like his uncle, it seems that Gabriel doesn’t find too many pitches he doesn’t like. A free swinger, Guerrero is going to have to work on his discipline going forward, because that profile typically doesn’t work as players move up the ladder. The power is intriguing though, and if Gabriel can become even 75% of the player his uncle was, the Mariners will be happy.

17. Tyler Marlette (C)- Marlette is a rather athletic catcher who is still working on becoming a good defensive catcher. Marlette shows a strong arm behind the dish, but is really working on blocking pitches, framing, and handling a staff. Marlette already shows some aptitude in that regard, so there is some hope he can stick behind the plate going forward. His offensive game has a bit of swing and miss, but he shows good bat speed and has potential above average power down the road.

18. Stephen Pryor (RP)- Pryor would likely rank much higher in other systems as well, however, he is relegated to the pen, and should be a set up guy for a long while with his mid 90′s fastball and sharp breaking ball.

19. Timmy Lopes (2B)- Lopes is a solid athlete that played SS in high school, however, because of average at best arm strength, second base is likely his future position. He should be relatively good at the position, showing good range and hands. Offensively, Lopes has a really good approach, one that is advanced for his age, and uses the whole field at the dish. Power is not a strong suit, though because of his line drive stroke, doubles and triples should be a regular occurrence. At just 18 years old, the Mariners gave Lopes 12 at bats in high A ball at the end of last season, where he struck out only once.

20. Anthony Fernandez (SP)- Fernandez is the first starting pitcher on this list that profiles more towards the back of the rotation rather than the top. That isn’t a bad thing at all, as Fernandez, who isn’t loud on stuff, is big on pitchability. He owns four pitches, and although none of them stand out as plus, he isn’t a soft tosser either. His repertoire is solid, and he could have long career from the left hand side in the bigs, possibly making his first appearance in 2013.

21. Joe DeCarlo (3B)- DeCarlo was a SS in high school, but isn’t the kind of athlete that can stay there in pro baseball. Defensively, he has good hands and a strong arm so third base is a natural fit for DeCarlo, who won’t likely win any points with range. He is strong and a bit thick, and that should help him offensively, where power is likely to be his best tool. There is some pitch recognition issues with DeCarlo at this point, so I am not sure he will ever hit for much average, but he is willing to take a walk. Could be a high on base, big power corner infielder.

22. Carson Smith (RP)- Smith is the third relief pitcher to make this list, and in the same vain as the first two, he has back of the bullpen potential. His fastball is a heavy low to mid 90′s offering that generates a good amount of ground balls, and he pairs that with a slider that has wipeout potential.

23. Guillermo Pimentel (OF)- Pimentel was a big time international signing for the Mariners that hasn’t at this point panned out yet. His power is his best tool, and he fits nicely in RF with a strong throwing arm, but his utter lack of plate discipline holds him back. I still have optimism for him, however, simply because he will play 2013 mostly at 20 years old, the Midwest League is a tough environment, and his post All Star break numbers were actually quite solid with an OPS of .721.

24. Jack Marder (C/2B)- I’m not sure if the Mariners organization has decided against Marder catching for good or not, but that would be a shame, because he had some good potential behind the dish. Marder has had some concussion issues though, so they can’t mess around with it. Anyway, Marder played some second base last season. Marder is a good athlete who shows some ability to generate line drives, though his plate discipline could be better, and he doesn’t have anything more than average power.

25. Chris Taylor (SS)- Taylor has a couple of tools that look to be above average in his speed and his throwing arm, but they aren’t loud enough to be called plus. His range and hands at short are good as well, making it likely he can stick there as he moves up the ladder. Taylor’s prospect ceiling is going to be tied to his bat, where he has little to no power, and rarely turns on a baseball. In his first professional experience however, he did show good patience at the dish and a nice line drive stroke.

26. Jordan Shipers (P)- Shipers isn’t a big kid, so he doesn’t have the premium fastball you look for, but it is a solid one that sits high 80′s/low 90′s. His breaking ball is a pitch that can generate swings and misses, and Shipers is known to have a competitive streak that is tough to match. The continued development of his change up is likely to determine whether he ends up in the back of the rotation, or the bullpen.

27. Francisco Martinez (CF)- I’m not sure many haven’t given up on Martinez, though I believe that is premature. Martinez is still just 22 years old, and has always been playing at levels that were probably a bit high for his age. He is quite toolsy, and although there is some trouble with the breaking ball with a bat in his hand, his approach isn’t bad by any stretch. Martinez runs well, and has 2o plus stolen base potential a year, and all reports indicate he has shown an aptitude for center field where he has a strong arm.

28. Leon Landry (OF)- Landry is a good athlete as well, and like Martinez is probably more tooled up than his results would suggest. Defensively, Landry’s reviews are mixed, and if he can’t play center field at an above average clip, his status takes a hit. Landry runs well, but struggles with plate discipline, and doesn’t have the kind of power you would look for out of a left fielder, though he has enough pop to do some damage on occasion. I want to see him out of the Cali league before I believe the performance from last year.

29. Martin Peguero (2B)- I think people let performance at a young age determine things a bit too quickly when it comes to prospects. Peguero is still talented, and still quite young. Peguero clearly isn’t a SS, as he struggled there mightily, but he has the tools to be a good to above average second baseman. Peguero is a solid athlete, and has the kind of frame that could grow into more pop. He takes a contact oriented approach at the dish, and while patience will be needed moving forward, he isn’t a big swing and miss guy.

30. Patrick Kivlehan (3B)- Kevlehan’s raw ability actually warrants a much higher placing on this list. I have a couple issues here though. One, he is 23 years old an hasn’t reached full season ball yet. And two, he is just getting back into baseball, which is also a positive in a way. Kivlehan has tremendous strength, runs well, and in general is a great athlete after playing four years of football at Rutgers. He has a tremendous amount of swing and miss in his game, however, and the Mariners are likely going to have to wait until he is 26 or 27 before he sees the big leagues, if his plate discipline doesn’t stall him first.

Just Missed The List:

Jochi Ogando (P), Daniel Paolini (1B), James Jones (OF), Steven Proscia (1B/3B), Phillips Castillo (OF), Taylor Ard (1B) Carlos Triunfel (SS), Jabari Blash (OF), and Vinnie Catricala (3B)

Ogando is a strong righty with an upper 90′s fastball that is going to have to learn how to pitch to move up this list. Paolini has a good amount of pop in his bat, though he flies under the radar in this deep system. Jones is really tooled up and the Mariners have been waiting for it to come together, we will see if his strong numbers last year were the Cali league inflation in 2013. Proscia is another players that showed ability to drive the ball last year, and is likely to have to make a living at first or third base. Castillo is a big bonus international player that projects for plus power. Ard is a first baseman all the way whose game is built on power. Triunfel still has enough ability to play in the big leagues if he can hit enough. Blash is a big dude with massive power potential, and even though he has a ton of swing and miss, he could be an OPS machine. Catricala can hit, and I’m leaning towards his 2012 being more of a fluke than some exposure of him at the plate.

Sleepers:

Wander Marte (SP) and Charles Kaalekahi (SP)

Marte is a projectable lefty with already swing and miss stuff. Kaalekahi is a projectable righty who has good stuff and pitchability.

Summary:

Obviously the number one ranking tells you what I think of this system. It has at least six or seven high end starting pitchers, and a bunch of guys that have potential with the bat. The Mariners are well balanced throughout their system, both on the mound (starting and relieving), and in the field. The Mariners also have a good amount of players that will see the big leagues in the next year and a half, as well as having some higher end potential in the lower minors. I could have went 40 deep with this system and not blinked an eye as guys like Blake Hauser and Marcus Littlewood have legitimate prospect potential. Another guy to look out for going forward is Nick Valenza, he is a bit undersized, but has good stuff.

*Let’s have some fun and talk either about the Mariners or other systems you would like to discuss.

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  • Oprk

    Good read!

    • John Verburg

      Thanks much.