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Seattle Mariners Top 10 Prospects for 2014

Written By on 31st January, 2014


The M’s system is down from a year ago, but that’s to be excpected since they graduated Mike Zunino, Brad Miller and Nick Franklin and lost Danny Hultzen to shoulder surgery. A solid draft helped, but the system will likely take another couple hits in 2014 as Taijuan Walker and James Paxton should both see enough major league time to graduate. The next wave of M’s talent isn’t clear yet, but there are plenty of interesting young arms to lead the way. With the team expected to return to contention it appears 2014 will go down as a turning point in the history of the franchise – whether they make the playoffs or not.  - AS

Seattle Mariners Top 10 Prospects for 2014

1Taijuan WalkerRHPArguably the league's top pitching prospect, Walker has a lethal arsenal, solid command, and no fear. That last part helped him in his major league debut last season, as he faced top-level hitters without a hint of nerves. He's a potential ace in the making, and the excitement over him the last few years is well warranted. Watching Walker develop from an interesting but exceedingly raw teenage draft pick in to this batter-eating monster that he is today has been a treat, and watching him get a longer run in the majors this season is going to be fun. - CD VIDEO
2DJ Peterson3BI'm not sure where he's going to wind up on the diamond, but Peterson can hit, hit, and then hit some more just for fun. He has a well-balanced approach and swing, and his mechanics and upper-body strength generate a whole lot of power. In fact, his bat projects well enough that he'd fit anywhere on the field, which is good since I'm really not sure he can stick at third base. His range is already a little limited (though he charges bunts very, very well), and will only get moreso as he finishes filling out and ages. Like I mentioned, though, his bat fits anywhere, including at first base, so for him that's not near as big a concern as with other hitting prospects. - CD VIDEO
3James PaxtonLHPPaxton has taken a circuitous route to the big league club. It's easy to see the appeal here - he's a big strong southpaw with a great curve. Yet Paxton has never been able to make the leap in terms of his delivery, command and finding a consistent offspeed offering (cutter or change). He probably still fits as a mid to back of the rotation starter. - AS VIDEO
4Edwin DiazRHPEdwin Diaz was perhaps the most dominant pitcher in the Appalachian League this past summer. He has an electric arm that produces mid 90s heat, a hard spinning breaking ball, and the makings of a change. Mechanical adjustments have helped eradicate the control inconsistencies that plagued him as an amateur. Diaz's slender frame remains a point of concern which could ultimately force him into a less stressful role should he fail to add strength to his frame. - JR
5Tyler PikeLHPPike is a quality left-handed arm but the stuff isn't electric. He'll need to improve his command and secondary pitches to project as a rotation piece. - As
6Victor SanchezRHPSanchez is a fun pitcher to watch. He doesn't have intimidating velocity, but he does have above average stuff across the board and has an awesome curve and change. His ability to locate any of his pitches is a big plus for him as well. While he lacks top of the rotation upside, Sanchez projects very well as a #3 anchor type, who gives you a lot of innings with a reliably good output. It'll be interesting to see where the Mariners put him next year, as the "natural" next step up the ladder is the pitcher's graveyard of the Cal League. They've been aggressive with young pitchers in the past as far as moving them to AA Jackson, and we could easily see that this year with Sanchez. - CD VIDEO
7Danny HultzenLHPHow do you properly rank Danny Hultzen? Do you emphasize the pitcher with a deep arsenal and pitchability to be a #2 starter? Or do you look at the injury history and see the shoulder surgery as a potential death blow? Given the history of pitchers who have undergone the procedure, it's easy to favor the latter course. Injuries are always the most difficult thing to accurately weigh. This ranking is some mid point between running away and believing that he'll return to the pitcher that he was. - JR VIDEO
8Luiz GoharaLHPThe first wave of Brazilian top prospects filtering into the major leagues has begun. Gohara has the talent to easily go down as the best of them. The potential arm, velo, strength, secondaries and feel for the game all flash well enough here for Gohara to become a frontline arm. As a physically mature teenager the long developmental path tempers enthusiasm quite a bit. - AS
9Chris TaylorSSTaylor is a darling in some prospect circles, as his high effort, high intensity style is one that evaluators love to see. The best part? He can actually hit a little, and is a solid defender at short. In the long run, he probably projects as a Willy Bloomquist-esque utility man, but in the meantime it's fun to dream on the extremely hopeful "poor man's Dustin Pedroia" tags that some more optimistic Mariners fans have placed on him. - CD VIDEO
10Patrick Kivlehan3BKivlehan is a popular prospect, but one that comes with a lot of question marks. He dominated the Northwest League two years ago before ripping apart pitchers in the Cal League in the second half of last year, but he also had a very mediocre stint in the Midwest League sandwiched in between. There's definitely potential there in the bat, but his swing has a lot of moving parts that would be easy to "lose" for long stretches, and that would also be easy for good pitchers to take advantage of. He's also not a good enough defender to stick at third long term, and while he could maybe work out in a corner outfield spot, his bat doesn't project so well that he'd have much value at first. To me, at least, he feels like a prospect that will rapidly fade away once he starts facing higher-level pitching. - CD

Other Mariners Prospects of Note

Austin WilsonOFAustin Wilson's physical tools leap out and grab you by the throat. With his massive frame, physical strength, and athleticism, he is an imposing presence on the field. His ceiling is an impact level right fielder with an arm that base runners will fear and the speed to cover significant ground. To unlock it, Wilson will need to make significant strides offensively. Somewhat raw coming out of high school, 3 years at Stanford did his swing no favors - his power is suppressed but will still shine through at times. His approach can get a bit passive and pitch recognition could stand to improve as well. So, Austin Wilson is a project, but a project that could pay off in a huge way. - JR

Seattle Martiners Notable 2013 Draft Picks

112D.J. Peterson3BNew Mexico
249Austin WilsonOFStanford
385Tyler O'NeillOFGaribaldi SS (B.C.)
4117Ryan HorstmanLHPSt. John's
5147Jack ReinheimerSSEast Carolina
6177Corey SimpsonOFSweeny HS (TX)
11327Zack LittellRHPEastern Alamance HS (NC)
13387Lachlan Fontaine3BSutherland SS (B.C.)
15447Ed CampbellLHPVirginia Tech
16477Lonnie KauppilaSSStanford

Draft Recap: In DJ Peterson, the Mariners landed one of the most polished hitters in the draft class; you have to appreciate the contrast of following it up with one of the biggest projects. Wilson has top of the first round tools, but injuries and middling results caused his stock to fall as a Junior. The third round pick — the athletic Canadian, Tyler O’Neill — is another with a substantial offensive ceiling. Corey Simpson has massive raw right-handed power but may have to move to first base eventually. On the other end of the spectrum, Jack Reineheimer was a standout collegiate short stop who has good enough tools and instincts to stick at the position in pro ball. Lonnie Kauppila doesn’t have quite the same defensive tools, but he always impressed me with his ability to get the most out of them at Stanford — that’s a selection I really like that deep in the draft. The first pitcher selected was the rare draft eligible Freshman, Ryan Horstman; he’s an athletic LHP out of St. John’s. The Mariners would later add seven more lefties, including Ed Campbell who teases with a live arm, two swing and miss pitches, and terrible control issues. Overall the Mariners amassed a very solid draft class. – JR

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One Comment on "Seattle Mariners Top 10 Prospects for 2014"

  1. Profile Photo
    Fanthed February 1, 2014 at 4:22 pm -

    Great stuff. Thanks. Keep em coming!