Seattle Mariners 2014 Top 15 Prospects

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March 7, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners relief pitcher James Paxton (65) throws in the fifth inning during a spring training game against the Oakland Athletics at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Mariners farm system isn’t one of the best in the league and once Taijuan Walker becomes a major league mainstay next April, they won’t have a single top 100 prospect. Prior to the season, Walker was just one of three elite pitchers in Seattle’s prospect ranks, but Danny Hultzen‘s injury and James Paxton‘s struggles were huge hits to the organization. Also eating at the farm system has been the recent graduations of top hitting prospects Mike Zunino, Kyle Seager, and Nick Franklin. But there is still some talent in this system, as highlighted by these fifteen players:

Special thanks to Dan Hughes of the Mariners blog site Sodo Mojo for his invaluable assistance in the completion of this list.

The Mariners Minor League Teams are as follows:

Triple-A: Tacoma Rainers (PCL)
Double-A: Jackson Generals (SOU)
High-A: High Desert Mavericks (CAL)
Class-A: Clinton LumberKings (MID)
Short-Season A: Everett AquaSox (NOR)
Advanced Rookie: Pulsaki Mariners (APP)
Complex-Rookie: AZL Mariners (AZL), DSL Mariners (DSL), VSL Mariners (VSL)

#15

Xavier Avery – OF
Date of Birth: January 1, 1990
Height/Weight: 6’0′, 190 lbs
Acquired: Trade, Baltimore Orioles

2013 Stats

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
2013 23 3 Teams 3 Lgs AA-AAA BAL,SEA 123 533 467 75 124 23 4 4 38 30 8 55 118 .266 .345 .358 .703 167 5 3 6 2 0
2013 23 Bowie EL AA BAL 39 186 160 34 48 10 2 1 12 12 3 23 44 .300 .391 .406 .798 65 0 1 2 0 0
2013 23 Norfolk IL AAA BAL 81 333 295 36 70 12 2 2 23 17 5 31 73 .237 .312 .312 .624 92 5 2 3 2 0
2013 23 Tacoma PCL AAA SEA 3 14 12 5 6 1 0 1 3 1 0 1 1 .500 .538 .833 1.372 10 0 0 1 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/25/2013.


Analysis: 
Since the day he was drafted by the Orioles in 2008, Avery has been the player with all the tools, but who lacked the ability to channel them onto the diamond. In six minor league seasons, not once has he posted an OPS above .725. Still, as a potential leadoff hitter, his .345 OBP last season was a positive sign, and most of his value will come in the field or on the basepaths anyway. A plus runner, Avery has excellent range in center and has stolen over 30 bases four times in the minors. He’s a backup outfielder at least, but he could be more if the bat ever comes along.  

2014 Prognosis: Avery will probably start next season in Triple-A Tacoma, but he’ll be one of the first players on call if a Mariners outfielder goes down with injury.

#14

Patrick Kivlehan – 3B
Date of Birth: December 22, 1989
Height/Weight: 6’2′, 210  lbs
Acquired: 4th round, 2012 draft

2013 Stats:

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
2013 23 2 Teams 2 Lgs A+-A SEA 128 549 489 74 148 25 3 16 90 15 6 43 107 .303 .366 .464 .830 227 9 10 0 7 1
2013 23 Clinton MIDW A SEA 60 247 223 26 63 12 1 3 31 5 3 17 42 .283 .344 .386 .730 86 4 5 0 2 1
2013 23 High Desert CALL A+ SEA 68 302 266 48 85 13 2 13 59 10 3 26 65 .320 .384 .530 .914 141 5 5 0 5 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/25/2013.


Analysis:
After a somewhat disappointing start to the year in Class-A, Kivlehan was promoted to High-A and proceeded to ravage the high-dessert league, hitting .320 with a .384 OBP, and 13 home runs in just 68 games. He’s this low on this list, however, because at 23, he was slightly old for A ball and the High-Dessert ballpark, where Kivlehan played the second half of his season, is the best hitters park in all of full-season minor league baseball, according to a report published by Matt Eddy of Baseball America. Kivlehan has the potential to be an everyday major league third baseman, but having not played any baseball between his senior year of high school and his senior of college, he will probably need more time and seasoning in the minors than most other 24 year olds. 

2014 Prognosis: Kivlehan proved himself in High-Desert and should play all of next season in Double-A Jackson

#13

Edwin Diaz – RHP
Date of Birth: March 22, 1994
Height/Weight: 6’2′, 165  lbs
Acquired: 3rd round, 2012 draft

2013 Stats:

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2013 19 Pulaski APPY Rk SEA 5 2 .714 1.43 13 13 0 0 0 0 69.0 45 14 11 5 18 0 79 4 0 2 260 0.913 5.9 0.7 2.3 10.3 4.39
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/25/2013.


Analysis: 
The slender righthander was incredibly raw when Seattle drafted him in 2012, but he is coming along nicely, as indicated by his 1.43 ERA and 4.39 K:BB ratio in rookie ball last year. His 2.3 BB/9 is particularly noteworthy, as Diaz had been rather wild after the draft two seasons ago, walking just under a batter per inning over the course of nineteen innings.His potential is largely an outgrowth of a solid repertoire that includes a mid-90′s fastball, and a developing change up and curve. 

2014 Prognosis: After a successful rookie league season, Diaz will get his shot with full season Class-A Clinton.

#12

Carson Smith – RHP
Date of Birth: October 19, 1989
Height/Weight: 6’6′, 215  lbs
Acquired: 8th round, 2011 draft

2013 Stats:

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2013 23 Jackson SOUL AA SEA 1 3 .250 1.80 44 0 37 0 0 15 50.0 33 12 10 1 17 3 71 5 0 7 203 1.000 5.9 0.2 3.1 12.8 4.18
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/25/2013.


Analysis: 
Few relievers ever make top prospect list, but Smith’s potential as a closer or elite set up man merits him a spot. His minor league numbers speak for themselves, particularly the 12.8 SO/9, and are the result of power-reliever type stuff. Smith primarily works off of a mid-90′s sinker, adding in a hard slider and even the occasional change. His strange side-arm delivery adds deception to his swing-and-miss stuff, but, as MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo notes, it can also make him more erratic.

2014 Prognosis: He should start next season in Triple-A, but could be called up to the big league bullpen any time.

#11

Tyler Marlette – C
Date of Birth: January 23, 1993
Height/Weight: 5’11′, 195  lbs
Acquired: 5th round, 2011 draft

2013 Stats:

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
2013 20 Clinton MIDW A SEA 75 297 270 36 82 17 2 6 37 10 4 24 53 .304 .367 .448 .815 121 10 3 0 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/25/2013.


Analysis: 
Marlette was paid well over-slot by Seattle in 2011 and has done nothing but hit since. His .304 average and .367 OBP last year were impressive, but he has always been known for his power, even if it has yet to really show up in games. He still has some work to do defensively behind the plate, but he has the arm to play the position well and he should profile as an able catcher long term

2014 Prognosis: Whether or not the Mariners push Marlette to High-A High Desert to start next season, he should be there before long. Once he’s promoted, the hitting environment that the desert air produces should lead to a great season for the young catcher.

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Tags: Featured Popular Seattle Mariners Taijuan Walker

  • Weighed Wade

    At this stage, what pick would we likely get in ’14 draft? And if someone like the Astros buy Kendrys Morales, what happens with qualifying offers?

  • Jason Mast

    Thanks Wade,
    Here’s the short answer: The Mariners will have the sixth overall pick in next year’s draft. That will be their only first round pick regardless of where Morales signs.

    Explanation:
    Because of the new CBA and the restructuring of the draft and free agent compensation its a bit tricky, but here’s how it works:
    Since the Mariners finished with the sixth worst record in baseball, they will receive the sixth overall pick in the draft. Because the top 10 picks in the draft are protected and can’t be lost in free agent compensation, the Mariners will not have to give up their sixth overall pick for signing Robinson Cano. Instead, they will have to give up their next best pick. This means that they will forfeit the compensation pick they would receive when Kendry Morales signs elsewhere.