Baseball America’s Top M’s Prospects Released

Baseball America is the king of the prospect ranking game – they’ve been doing it the longest, and have been copied by many outlets.

Today they web-published their Mariners Top 10 Prospects package. Most of it requires a free online registration, but they do release the list and an overview article without registration. Here is their ranking:

  1. Alex Jackson, OF
  2. D.J. Peterson – 3B
  3. Ketel Marte – SS
  4. Patrick Kivlehan – 3B/1B
  5. Austin Wilson – OF
  6. Edwin Diaz – RHP
  7. Gabriel Guerrero – OF
  8. Luiz Gohara – LHP
  9. Ryan Yarbrough – LHP
  10. Carson Smith – RHP

And this is the link to their free system overview. If you have registered, the rest of the Top Ten will appear with scouting reports and you will also have access to a Mariners-only prospect chat.

A few thoughts on the list:

  • The top five are all position players. When was the last time that happened in the Mariners system?
  • They are quite high on Ketel Marte, who looked impressive in his first taste of Triple-A baseball at the end of last season.
  • Carson Smith is down the list because Baseball America values starting pitching prospects over relievers. I wouldn’t be surprised if Smith spends the entire 2015 season in Seattle – although he could ride the Tacoma-to-Seattle shuttle.
  • Marte, Patrick Kivlehan, and possibly Smith should be Rainiers on opening day. I think D.J. Peterson opens the season in Double-A but I’ve been wrong a hundred times before, so…
  • Baseball America is still quite high on Luiz Gohara, an 18-year-old lefty from Brazil who is built like CC Sabathia. Gohara really struggled in Everett last year but he was much younger than the hitters he was facing. We’re talking three-to-five years younger in most match-ups.
  • I find it interesting that they have Austin Wilson ahead of Gabriel Guerrero. Wilson is a year-and-a-half older than Guerrero and a level behind him in the system. They must think that Wilson has the proverbial “higher ceiling.”

This is the first of the “big three” Mariners prospect rankings. Baseball Prospectus and John Sickels will have their rankings later in the off-season.

Surely you’ve heard by now that on Wednesday afternoon the Mariners officially announced the Nelson Cruz signing, and also announced that they traded outfielder Michael Saunders to the Toronto Blue Jays for left-handed starting pitcher J.A. Happ.

The Saunders trade was imminent – it’s been clear since the end of the season that there was some sort of disconnect there, and the only question was a matter of where to and for who.

Getting Happ helps the starting pitching depth, which was a weakness. They currently have six starting pitchers, which is good because it (almost) never fails that there will be injuries in spring training.

It’s sad to see Saunders go, as he is truly a classy guy to have on the team. We watched him grow since he first showed up in Tacoma in 2008. Including rehabilitation assignments, he wore a Rainiers uniform for at least three games in seven of the last eight years!

I’ve heard that Saunders is pleased with this trade – he couldn’t control the destination, of course, so it was surprisingly cool for a Canadian to join a Toronto team that is making moves to try to win the AL East

Hopefully this trade will work out for both teams.

The Winter Meetings start on Sunday and will go on most of next week. The meetings are in San Diego this year – a huge improvement from the recent locations.

The Rainiers will have a contingent of five or six people who will participate in league meetings, canvass the Baseball Trade Show, meet with Mariners officials, and perhaps hire a staffer or two.

I will not be there, but I’ll be following the MLB player news/rumors from my North End Office. I’ll pass along the Mariners and Rainiers-related tidbits here on the blog.

Links:

Winter Meetings week coming – it’s like Christmas for those of us who like to follow the off-season rumors!

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