Postseason Future Forty

Dave · September 20, 2005 at 9:35 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Now that the minor league seasons have come to an end, I’ve updated the Future Forty. As we head into the offseason, we’ll cease the monthly update and go into “as needed” mode, meaning I’ll probably update it once, maybe twice, more before spring training rolls around. Also, the team assignment has now been changed to refelect a projection of where I believe they’ll begin the 2006 season.

The final regular season update sees us say goodbye to four players – Bucky Jacobsen, Justin Leone, Casey Craig, and Mike Flannery. Jacobsen, as we discussed yesterday, has been released and will not be back. Leone is expected to sign elsewhere as a minor league free agent. Craig’s stock has slipped badly this year, thanks in large part to a pretty serious attitude problem, and Flannery didn’t impress in his short stint after coming over in the Ron Villone deal.

Replacing the four departed are newcomers Stephen Kahn, Robert Rohrbaugh, and Justin Thomas, while returning to the list is Hunter Brown. Kahn, Rohrbaugh, and Thomas were considered the best of the pitching bunch that saw time in Everett this year. Kahn showed the kind of power arm that the team lacks, though his command needs work. Rohrbaugh is a polished college arm who throws strikes with underwhelming stuff (stop me if you’ve heard that before), and Thomas, while a reach where the M’s tabbed him, has an interesting repertoire including a change-up that can be highly effective. All three are different types of pitchers and have a ways to go, but each has something interesting to offer. Brown is the new Leone, a player that lacks physical skills but is versatile in the field and has hit his way through the system. His upside is as a cheap reserve off the bench, but in this organization, that passes for a prospect.

Jeff Heaverlo and Bryan LaHair were 41 and 42 respectively, by the way. You could easily make a case for either one getting on the list, but neither has tremendous upside, so it’s basically splitting hairs.

It will be interesting to see how Baseball America puts together the M’s top ten list after the season, considering that nearly every interesting young player in the system no longer has rookie status. Adam Jones and Jeff Clement will fight for the top spot, though I’d give a slight edge to Clement at this point, but then what? Bobby Livingston, who profiles as John Halama if everything goes well? Chris Snelling, who we love but just can’t stay healthy? The M’s have two solid prospects that both need some more development in Clement and Jones, and then a lot of maybes. Adding Felix, Reed, Betancourt, Lopez, and Sherill to the major league club made this a very successful season for the farm system. The M’s shouldn’t look forward to anything near that kind of help coming from the farm in 2006, however.

As always, this is the thread to use for any minor league question you may have. I’ll do my best to answer as many as humanly possible.


121 Responses to “Postseason Future Forty”

  1. troy on September 20th, 2005 6:29 pm

    Dang it msb (91). When you said BP likes Atchison I thought you were linking to some analysis on him in Baseball Prospectus. *Sigh*

  2. Jeff on September 20th, 2005 8:17 pm

    I saw you thought Eddie’s option would be picked up. What’s your take on him? I love the guy but……….I thought he needed surgery at the end of last season and has been living on borrowed time. Seems he is wearing down here late in the year, is he worth the 6 million they would have to pay?

    What are the chances of using the Boone/Moyer money & actually landing a Burnett and or Millwood? what kind of money do you see them commanding?

  3. francis on September 20th, 2005 8:58 pm

    I think Adam Jones would probably be my pick right now. He oozes athleticism, which is often overrated, and he’s converting to a position where we have a 23-year-old rookie. Jones could probably fetch a pretty nifty player in return, and the M’s could live without him.

    i dont think it would be all that wise for a team with a depleated farm system, one it has publicly made a priority to improve, to trade (arguably anyway) its best position prospect for someone that projects as a “pretty nifty player”? that doesnt seem like a good idea.

  4. Mr. Egaas on September 20th, 2005 9:57 pm

    Do you see the M’s going after any free-agent starting pitchers? If so, which ones?

    Also, how much of this years rotation will cary over into next year? What is Moyer’s status? Is Hernandez the only name on the list in ink?

  5. shortbus on September 20th, 2005 10:30 pm

    Any chance the M’s could snatch Mark Mulder away from the Cards? I imagine he’ll be “the one…” the FA that all the big boys go after this season since there isn’t a lot else in the ace pitcher department.

  6. Shoeless Jose on September 20th, 2005 11:09 pm

    This isn’t the “offseason plan for next year” thread or the free agent thread. Those will come later, so save those questions for them. As Dave said at the top, this is the thread for minor league questions.

    And Mulder isn’t a FA, btw: there’s a club option for 2006. I would expect the cards to offer an extension beyond that (and if they don’t they must know something, so do you really want him?) That’s why everybody keeps talking about Burnett and Millwood.

  7. Adam S on September 20th, 2005 11:26 pm

    I doubt the Mariners will pick up Eddie’s option, but he has an option as well that he’ll likely exercise thus filling a spot in the bullpen.

  8. Robert Ruble on September 21st, 2005 6:01 am

    I am a Hunter Brown fan, Last year at San Antonio, Roy Acuff said that Brown was the best glove he’s seen in 25 years of calling baseball, also last year, Brown stole 20 bases. Your comment last year was that Brown wouldn’t be able to catch up to Triple A pitching (slow bat). Well, let’s see, he ended at .291 and hit 30 triples and that’s after a shaky start. The article in the Tacoma News Tribune said that he hit over .300 for the rest of the season after starting 4/34. Rohn feels that he would be a good 25th man with any organization. My question is: What is it you don’t like about him and why wouldn’t he be a better fit than Willie Bloomquist.

  9. Steve on September 21st, 2005 7:41 am

    #108: Rohn feels that he would be a good 25th man with any organization.

    Dan Rohn also said last year that Mike Morse was the best shortstop in the PCL.

    Rohn continually overpraises his players. It’s probably part of his general management style. But any comparisons he makes – such as the above – need to be considered very skeptically.

  10. Adam S on September 21st, 2005 7:48 am

    Clarification: Brown hit 30 doubles.

    I don’t know anything about Brown other than his stats, and from that it looks like Dave answered the question already. Brown is a better hitter, but over the 75-100 or so at bats for a 25th man, you’re talking about maybe two hits, one of which is a double. Bloomquist is a better fielder and more versatile, serving as a passable CF and SS. Bloomquist has show a real ability to steal bases as a pinch runner. To me, Brown’s 20 steals look fluky — his other season are 8-10 — and his success rate is about 2/3.

    In short, for the specific skills you want for a 25th man, Bloomquist is better.

    A related, more general question to Dave. If a rating of 1 represents a future 25th man, and if Brown (and others like Morse) aren’t good enough to be a 25th man (or are just above it), what does it mean that they’re rated 3-5. Based on the player comments that go with the ratings, it seems like “4” is a future 25th man and 1-3 are differing degrees of unlikely to see the majors to cup of coffee in September or if there are a series of injuries.


  11. Pete Livengood on September 21st, 2005 9:22 am

    The point that Bloomquist can play all infield positions reasonably well is well taken. I have a Rainiers flex plan, and from what I’ve seen of Hunter Brown, I would feel comfortable with him at the infield corners, but not up the middle. You can play Bloomquist anywhere (not that I’m advocating that), and Dave’s point that Bloomquist’s most valuable skill (baserunning) is one that Hunter Brown doesn’t offer is again worth noting.

  12. Pete Livengood on September 21st, 2005 9:38 am

    107, Adam:

    If the M’s decline to pick up Eddie’s option (@$6M), and Eddie decided he wanted to stay and exercised his player option, he makes $4.5M. The question is whether he believes he could get more than $4.5M on the open market. At the break, it looked like he might (and it looked like what he is selling might cost the M’s $6M+ to replace — unless they went with someone internal to close — and therefore the reporting was that they were likely to pick up his option; there has also been some reporting that Eddie “expects” them to pick it up because they didn’t last year and he did, giving them a “bargain” closer this year at $4.5M and they “owe” it to him to pick it up this year); now, not so much.

    It wouldn’t surprise me either way if either party exercised their option, or didn’t. I think it is a close call. I’d sure want our docs scrutinizing that shoulder, though.

  13. Shoeless Jose on September 21st, 2005 10:19 am

    Given “our docs” history with other shoulders, you might want to let other teams examine him and then only pick up his option if they want to make him an offer.

  14. ray on September 21st, 2005 9:08 pm

    I think the M’s scouting has been bad for awhile except for the independs and int’l. I think the M’s need to focus there more because they can’t seem to pick’em any whereelse.

  15. ray on September 21st, 2005 9:28 pm

    So after reading these comments, questions, and replies, it looks like Blommie will be back at a higher cost… sigh!

  16. jgrusz on September 21st, 2005 10:56 pm

    I like Marshall Hubbard, but I’ll take Mike Wilson over him any day

  17. mark from Oly. wa. on September 22nd, 2005 3:44 pm


    this is amazing! I feel like I know more about my home baseball team then I ever have before.

    This site’s info, stat’s and opinions has made being a fan a much more enjoyable experiance.

    Thank You, to all the folks at USS Mariner!


  18. Jake on September 22nd, 2005 8:04 pm

    Brother Dave,

    Casey Craig started the season off by being held in extended spring training. Spent time with two teams before being assigned to Everett where he ripped the league’s pitching to shreds before COOLING OFF MIGHTILY!!!.. It was rumered that he had an attitude problem and then I read that you had dropped him from your top 40 list primarily because of his attitude. Where do you think he will land next season? Next level??? Out of baseball???

  19. JasonAChurchill on September 24th, 2005 12:56 am

    After asking the player development heads about Craig, I got a heavy impression that the attitude problem wasn’t much of one and was more of a misunderstanding about an isolated immature reaction by Casey toward a superior.

    Casey had a great attitude toward re-earning the respect and trust of the organization, even though he didn’t understand why it was blown up, in his opinion.

    If he doesn’t impress early in 06, he’s probably going to permanently fall out of any favor he might be abe to play himself back into.

  20. JasonAChurchill on September 24th, 2005 1:00 am

    Re: Bloomquist v. Hunter Brown

    Another thing ya have to think about is the close to 1 mil price tag Bloom comes with being arby eligible after this season… and next… and the one after that.

    Not that Brown is the ideal replacement for this club, but the dough is starting to become an issue.

  21. RickL on September 24th, 2005 6:41 am

    Why do you rate Rivera so low? He has the best batting stats on the team, albeit in limited action.