The new Future Forty is up and there are some fairly significant changes from the July edition. When I updated the list last month, I didn’t have much in the way of strong reports that I trusted from the Northwest League and absolutely nothing from Arizona, so Casey Craig was the only player on the list not playing in full-season ball. Despite knowing that some of the players in Everett and Peoria were more talented than others on the list, I just didn’t feel comfortable placing them in the Future Forty without scouting reports from people I trusted who have been doing this for 20+ years. Since I’m not in a position to see these guys myself, I rely pretty heavily on the reports I get from scouts who watch them play and are nice enough to give me the rundown. Nearly all of these scouts work for clubs other than the Mariners and aren’t giving me too much spin; what I get from them is mostly what they really believe.
In the past month, though, I’ve gotten quite a few reports from the NWL and AZL and feel confident enough in their consensus to add 4 short-season league players to the list. Give a hearty welcome for the debuts of Aquasox shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, second baseman Yung-Chi Chen, and starting pitcher Shawn Nottingham, as well as a Peoria shortstop you may have heard of, Matt Tuiasosopo. The reports on Cabrera are glowing; comparisons to Barry Larkin, Edgar Renteria, and Michael Young. His defense is universally praises and his bat is more impressive than most expected. One of the scouts also saw Jose Lopez in Everett and claims there is no comparison; Cabrera is leaps and bounds ahead of Lopez at the same age. Lopez is obviously a better prospect, but that’s a pretty big compliment from a scout who thinks I’m totally off base on Lopez (I’m a pretty well known skeptic of his realistic performance).
The praise for Chen, Nottingham, and Tuiasosopo was more muted, but still pretty resounding. There is a lot of interest in seeing if Chen will play regularly in the Olympics, and most feel he is too good for the Northwest League. Nottingham got high marks for his command and competitiveness, but his maturity was called into question by everyone who saw him. I didn’t hear the popular Travis Blackley comparison, but “Bobby Livingston with a better fastball” suits me just fine. Tui is hitting the tar out of the ball in Arizona, though his swing is still inconsistent and his defense is getting mixed reviews. No one outside of the Mariners organization thinks he’s a shortstop long term, but everyone agrees that his bat has the potential to play just about anywhere.
A lot has been made recently about the Mariners depth of shortstops, and indeed 5 players have SS listed next to their name on the Future Forty. The aforementioned Lopez, Cabrera, and Tuiasasopo are joined by Michael Morse and Adam Jones, giving the M’s apparent depth at the position. However, Cabrera is the only one who doesn’t have a pretty significant amount of detractors when discussing their defensive abilities. Morse’s move from shortstop is a foregone conclusion. Lopez is most likely a 3rd baseman or 2nd baseman long term, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the M’s shuffled him around much like they did Carlos Guillen in his early years. Tuiasosopo is a rightfielder in most minds, and despite a recent power surge, questions remain about Adam Jones’ offensive potential and whether his 95 MPH arm will eventually be the key that gets him to the majors.
Anyways, that’s a pretty brief rundown, but for all the information, click the big link on the left and enjoy.
Eddie Guardado has been placed on the 15 day DL with a dead arm; Walk Machine Matt Thornton has been recalled from Tacoma to take his place.
Lots of emails asking our opinion on the deals over the weekend, especially the Dodgers deal. I’ll try to make that post tonight. Brand spanking new Future Forty coming tonight as well. And, since I’m mentioning prospects, Chris Snelling is alive! He made his season debut in Peoria last night and should rejoin Tacoma at some point this month.
Quick note: the massive size of the front page (because we post long, and frequently) meant that
large readership * massive page = huge bandwith bills for Derek
so I’m working to chop it down from a full week to a couple of days, after which they get archived. I’m doing some stuff on layout and posts to make things more accessible, but that’s still a little ways off.