The Mariners’ farm system currently ranks in the bottom third among all teams no matter what ranking group is looked at. Whether it be Baseball America, MLB.com, ESPN’s Keith Law or Baseball Prospectus, all show a rather negative opinion on the depth and overall talent of Seattle’s system.
But that opinion is somewhat misleading of the talent that Seattle holds in its organization. The Mariners have recently graduated or traded away close to two dozen major-league players. “Recently” referring to a period of three seasons. Beginning with Mike Zunino and Brad Miller, the M’s have seen players like Carson Smith, Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Roenis Elias and Danny Farquhar all secure spots on their 25-man roster. Meanwhile, players such as Stephen Pryor (Kendrys Morales), Carter Capps (Logan Morrison), Dom Leone (Mark Trumbo, Vidal Nuno), Brandon Maurer (Seth Smith), Abraham Almonte and Stephen Kohlscheen (Chris Denorfia) have been traded to acquire better major-league pieces.
Those promotions and subsequent deals have left a dearth of high-valued talent in the upper echelons of the Mainers’ system. But, with the completion of two drafts in the last 13 months and an international signing period, talent has been added to the coffers. Most of it remains in the lower levels, but it is there. And there are some players with elite potential.
Ahh, the word “potential.” It perplexes as much as it enthralls. No one has a crystal ball to see what these players with “potential” will one day become, but let’s pretend for a moment that I secured one. Here is my projection on what the Mariners top 15 prospect list looks like come April 2016. [Ages are based on that future date. Level is where player is currently.]
1. OF Alex Jackson, 20, Class A Everett
2. RHP Edwin Diaz, 22, Class AA Jackson
3. OF Brayan Hernandez 18, DSL (rookie)
4. SS Griefer Andrade, 18, DSL (rookie)
5. SS Ketel Marte, 22, Class AAA Tacoma
6. LHP Luis Gohara, 19, Class A Everett
7. RHP Nick Neidert, 19, AZL (rookie)
8. 1B/3B D.J. Peterson, 24, Class AA Jackson
9. RHP Mayckol Guaipe, 25, Class AAA Tacoma
10. RHP Andrew Moore, 23, Class A Everett
11. 1B/OF Jabari Blash, 26, Class AA Jackson
12. OF Gareth Morgan, 19, AZL (rookie)
13. SS Erick Mejia, 21, AZL (rookie)
14. SS Rayder Ascanio, 20, Class A Bakersfield
15. RHP Trey Cochran-Gill, 23, Class AA Jackson