Updated Future Forty

Dave · August 8, 2005 at 8:27 am · Filed Under Mariners 

A few days later than I had hoped for, but we have a new Future Forty. A ton of changes on this one, for obvious reasons, as the M’s acquired four new players, moved several around, and I’ve adjusted the risk and reward ratings for players who have changed my mind recently. Among the activity:

  • We welcome Yorman Bazardo, Jesse Foppert, Mike Flannery, and Natanael Mateo to the system. All four find a place on the Future Forty, though at varying levels. Bazardo is the best prospect of the bunch, mostly because he has the best shot of actually making the major leagues as a starting pitcher. Foppert could start or relieve, but with his injury history and lack of a true offspeed pitch, a lot of people expect him to end up coming out of the bullpen. Flannery and Mateo are both power arms who are strictly relievers.
  • We waive goodbye to Daniel Santin, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Cha Baek, and Brandon Moorhead. Santin’s being classified as a DH, and no one thinks he’s going to hit enough to make it to the big leagues without playing the field. Smith and Baek have taken steps backward and could be with other organizations next year, while Moorhead, who is still somewhat interesting, is 25 and hasn’t yet cracked Double-A, so he got squeezed by the new pickups.
  • Among those who have seen their stock go up are Yuniesky Betancourt, who got to Seattle faster than anyone expected, and Doyle, who finally gets a shot at to play regularly at the big league level. Adam Jones also continues to impress in Double-A and has moved himself to the top of the Jones/Tui/Cabrera trio that had been lumped together on the FF for the past few months. Jones, while still almost certainly moving to CF next year, has established himself as a very nice prospect, one of the better young players in the game.
  • Shin-Soo Choo leads those on the way down, as his total inability to hit lefties and his lack of power have ticketed him for a return trip to Tacoma next year. He’s not adjusting well to better pitching, and right now, if he ends up as a solid fourth outfielder in the majors, it will be a pleasant surprise. Wladimir Balentien and Yung-Chi Chen have also seen their stock slip a bit.
  • There are a few guys in the system who I still think could be nice pieces for the team down the line, even if not as everyday players, who aren’t getting a ton of press. Sabastian Boucher, Oswaldo Navarro, and T.J. Bohn head up my list of guys who are flying a bit under the radar (though, to be fair, Boucher is hitting the crap out of the ball, and is getting some love from within the system).
  • As always, use this thread as a catch-all for any minor league questions you may have. I’ll try to answer as many as humanly possible. If I miss something, feel free to email it to us.


    159 Responses to “Updated Future Forty”

    1. eponymous coward on August 9th, 2005 11:49 am

      He’s done pretty well in Tacoma with more regular use.

      He hasn’t, really. That’s the problem. The numbers that Dave is using for Dobbs’ “prime” aren’t THAT far from what Willie B. is hitting right now (.278/.317/.349)- and the Ignitor is a serviceable infield and outfield backup, and has speed to boot that more than counters the extra power you’d get from Dobbs. My guess is Willie would probably be posting .290-.310 with a SLG in the low to mid 4’s in Tacoma, and a OPS around .750-800, like other similar players have at similar ages in AAA (Rich Amaral comes to mind- he didn’t get a job until 29). Someone like Dobbs isn’t useful unless they can play critical defensive positions.

      That being said, I can see DMZ’s “organizational soldier” argument. The problem is getting scouts to look past the personal qualities, sweet swing and the singles to the rest of the package- but yeah, Greg Dobbs as the new Dave Brundage kind of makes sense.

    2. vj on August 9th, 2005 1:05 pm

      Dave, in the future fourty, you seem to have Sherril’s year of birth wrong. According to the player page on yahoo sports, he was born in 1977, not 1982. Seems like a signifikant difference.

    3. Steve Thornton on August 9th, 2005 1:21 pm

      123-126-129: you’re right. Baseball Cube is wrong. Again. Their data entry is appalling; nearly every player has errors. Thanks for the Forecaster link.

    4. RickL on August 9th, 2005 2:11 pm

      Dave, if you want to see the reason the M’s pitchers hurt their arms, look at the following”


    5. Ralph Malph on August 9th, 2005 2:49 pm

      So why did Bob Stoddard hurt his arm?

    6. JH on August 9th, 2005 4:15 pm


      Aside from future 40 references, I’ve never heard you say much about Luis Valbuena. I don’t know much about him other than that he hit really well in the VSL last year. Is the fact that you list his reward a notch below Cabrera/Tui’s based on inferior tools, or is it because he doesn’t have as much of a track record in the states?

    7. Dave on August 9th, 2005 4:19 pm

      Valbuena’s a thick kid who isn’t very impressive defensively right now. He’s got some pop in his bat, but I don’t know where he’s going to play if his defense at second doesn’t get better. He’s going to have to work on his glove pretty hard. If he busts his tail and becomes an adequate defender, he could be a nice little prospect. If his glovework remains poor, though, he probably doesn’t make the majors.

    8. JH on August 9th, 2005 4:58 pm

      Thanks a lot, Dave.

      One more question: One thing that I’ve noticed from Jones and Cabrera both of them have suffered noticeable declines in their walk rates since moving up a level. Jones’ decline isn’t so steep, going from 1 BB/9.3 AB in the Cali League to 1/12 in San Antonio, but Cabrera’s plate discipline has all but disappeared: 1/6.4 ABs in Wisconsin, 1/17.3 ABs at Inland Empire.

      Is plate discipline a skill that often declines sharply at more advanced levels? Does Cabrera’s decline indicate something wrong with his approach, or is it nothing to worry about?

      Again, thanks for all your great work. Ms fans are spoiled to have USSM as a free resource.

    9. Dave on August 9th, 2005 6:02 pm

      Walk rates are actually one of the least consistent indicators of performance, especially at the lower levels. Bret Boone, for instance, was a minor league walk machine. Asdrubal Cabrera has never had great plate discipline. His walk rates at Wisconsin were more a factor of poor pitching than good hitting. That said, he’s still young enough where you wouldn’t expect him to have tremendous grasp of the strike zone, and its not a huge concern.