BA on M’s Top Ten Prospects

Dave · February 10, 2006 at 7:30 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Baseball America finished up their Top 10 prospects series on the website with a look at the Mariners. The introductory column, which includes the list and some miscellaneous rankings, is free to all. The analysis of each player, which can also be found in their Prospect Handbook (which includes a Top 30 for each organization), is subscriber only. But you should subscribe. BA rocks.

Anyways, here’s the list for those too lazy to follow a hyperlink.

1. Jeff Clement, c
2. Adam Jones, of/ss
3. Kenji Johjima, c
4. Chris Snelling, of
5. Matt Tuiasosopo, ss
6. Asdrubal Cabrera, ss/2b
7. Shin-Soo Choo, of
8. Emiliano Fruto, rhp
9. Clint Nageotte, rhp
10. Rob Johnson, c

Nothing significantly different from the Future Forty besides the Emiliano Fruto ranking. I know his stuff took a step up this year, and he’ll be included in the presason FF update, but I wouldn’t put him in the top ten. Even in his “breakthrough” season, he wasn’t missing enough bats and his control was abysmal when they promoted him to Tacoma. He’s almost certainly older than listed (old rumors had him as 5+ years older), his stuff is consistent, he doesn’t have good command, and there are questions about his work ethic and maturity. There’s a chance he turns into something, but its a longshot.

But, other than that, Jim Callis basically nails the system. It’s a good read, and Callis is about as good as it gets when it comes to prospect analysis, so value what he has to say.


38 Responses to “BA on M’s Top Ten Prospects”

  1. vj on February 10th, 2006 7:37 am

    I realize that Johjima is technically a rookie but to me, he looks out of place on the list.

  2. gwo on February 10th, 2006 8:10 am

    Emiliano Fruto should be in the Top Ten for his name alone.

  3. Sphexi on February 10th, 2006 8:50 am

    After last year, it’s difficult to believe 3 catchers could be on a Mariners 10 top ten list — for anything.

  4. plivengood on February 10th, 2006 8:51 am

    Three catchers, three shortstops, two RHP and a couple of OF (one of whom has been appearing on these lists for what, a generation?). Where are all those soft-tossing LHP Frank Mattox was so fond of drafting? 🙂

  5. Churchill on February 10th, 2006 9:05 am

    I, too, was surprised by the Fruto ranking, especially after finding out that the M’s are NOT planning on moving him back to the starting rotation this year, which may have vaulted his value.

    I also disagree that his curve ball and change are better than that of Kahn and Livingston/Jimenez.

    He was very inconsistent in Tacoma with his breaking ball and his heater was 90-92, rarely hitting any higher.

    I couldn’t even fit him into my top 20, though he was extremely close.

  6. CCW on February 10th, 2006 9:12 am

    On the surface, this looks pretty bad. The #1 prospect won’t be ready for a couple years, and he’s a catcher, so it could be *several* years. #2 just converted to a new position. #3 is more of a free agent signing than a prospect. And #4… well, I don’t even like to think about what he’s been through.

    In reality, it’s not that bad of a situation, considering the Ms #1 starting pitcher and the entire team up the middle are all good young players.

    Still, that last last line hurts a little: “A third-straight last-place finish looms as a distinct possibility.”

  7. little joey on February 10th, 2006 9:16 am

    It was interesting to see that Ryan Anderson played last year for the Brewers- over on the right hand side of the BA page. I used the player finder to see that he threw about 16 (albeit impressive) innings. I’m amazed that he hasn’t just left the game with his bonus money. The guy clearly wants to pitch, and he might see his arm fall off if he keeps trying.

  8. Evan on February 10th, 2006 9:18 am

    At some point, Doyle with either have a healthy, productive stretch, or he’ll et fed up with the injuries and quit baseball.

    That he’s still around means he hasn’t quit baseball, so I’m still hopeful we’ll see that productive stretch.

    And why do I keep spelling stretch with an A?

  9. Adam S on February 10th, 2006 9:24 am

    I’m fairly (relatively?) optimistic about the Mariners in 2006. But they finished 10 games behind Texas, which is the most improved team in the division. The Mariners could win 80 games and finish last.

    Based on your description, Fruto seems to be one of those prospects that ranks well based on inherent “talent” without much regard to how that talent converts or projects into major league production. Choo seems to be another one of those players — he’s been a top prospect for what seems like four or five years, but every time his name comes up Dave explains while he’ll be a 4th OF at best.

  10. JAS on February 10th, 2006 9:28 am

    I’m not sure why anyone would think Clement is any further away than the September callups? Clement isn’t a 19-year old in low-A ball. He is a college player shooting up through the system. For those that cite defensive development….well, the M’s obviously are looking to find a spot for Clement’s bat, rather than his glove. Johjima is the Gold Glove backstop for the next 2-3 years, minimum, and Clement will play part time catcher, part time DH, and part time 1B, LF, whatever.

    Also, anyone heard anything about Tui’s pending position switch? LF, maybe? If he stays in the IF, he is trade bait.

  11. Dave on February 10th, 2006 9:37 am

    It’s exceedingly rare for players to go from college to the majors in 12 months. Look through the history of the draft. Mark Teixeira, Stephen Drew, Rickie Weeks, Aaron Hill, Khalil Greene, Nick Swisher, Chris Burke, Gabe Gross, and Chase Utley are cream of the college hitting crop in the drafts since 2000. None of them made the majors in a year.

    And the M’s clearly aren’t “looking to find a spot for Clement’s bat”. I’m not sure why you believe that, but it’s just not true.

    And Tui’s staying at short for now. He’ll probably move to third at some point, but for now, they’ve decided to leave him at SS. I still think he ends up in right field.

  12. plivengood on February 10th, 2006 9:56 am

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Clement got a September call-up, but it *would* surprise me if he wasn’t back in Tacoma in April, 2007.

  13. Mr. Egaas on February 10th, 2006 10:24 am

    It wouldn’t surprise me if we don’t see Clement til late 2007 now. Speculation on draft day is that he would be ready to man the position full time next year, but it’s not a fitting need now that Johjima is here.

    It would be interesting to see if we pull the Clement/Johnjima catcher and DH platoon sometime next year. If they are both hitting why not.

    That being said, I really like the organization’s last 3 top draft picks, after a lot of horrible ones years before. We’re on the right track….

  14. Dave on February 10th, 2006 10:47 am

    It would be interesting to see if we pull the Clement/Johnjima catcher and DH platoon sometime next year. If they are both hitting why not.

    Because if your backup catcher starts at DH, and your starting catcher gets hurt, your pitcher has to bat the rest of the game. It might not seem like a big deal, but there are only a few managers who are willing to take the risk.

  15. Mr. Egaas on February 10th, 2006 10:54 am

    I’m aware of putting the DH in the field and sacrificing the duty for the rest of the game.

    However, would it be unfeasable to carry Johjima, Clement, and Rivera on the same team? If you have a 4th outfielder, and Willie Ballgame will be around for next year as well, there’s another guy who can play the OF in a pinch (or more than a pinch, thanks Grover). Clement could just be seen as a DH type which would relieve catching strain from Johjima while still keeping his bat in the lineup.

  16. Dave on February 10th, 2006 10:57 am

    Then you’re wasting Clement’s development time if he’s just strictly DH’ing and catching once a week.

  17. adamt on February 10th, 2006 11:08 am

    Re: #14

    Gil Meche had a .250 average last season. That’s better than most of the catchers we went through. 😉

    I also have mixed feelings about our prospects list. Especially, with ‘Doyle’s Law’ injured and Johjima a lock to make the club and one of the oldest prospects I’ve seen before.

    That said, we do have a lot of young talent on the club already. And, there is obviously some let down on that top 10 since our 19-year old flame thrower has surpassed the ‘prospect’ tag.

  18. PFK on February 10th, 2006 11:47 am

    I’d like to see us reserve the DH spot for Doyle (and drop Everett when he fails to perform/creates a scene). Clement probably can use the additional time behind the plate. I’d think as long as Johjima performs well, we could afford to give Clement 2006 and 2007 developing his skillsin the minors (and presumably we’d then defer by a year the time when Clement is available for free agency). I know Doyle is regarded better defensively than Raul, but Doyle’s unique talents are at the plate. Perhaps it’s dreaming, but Doyle seems to have almost Edgar-like development potential — good on-base, excellent contact, with some pop that is likely to develop into more HR power with age. Perhaps we need to think about protecting Doyle’s health the way we protected Edgar (and so what if DHs can never get into the Hall).

  19. mln on February 10th, 2006 1:04 pm

    The Mariners’ farm system … it’s Craptastic!

  20. mike on February 10th, 2006 1:10 pm

    Why would you burn a Clement option year with a Sept 2006 call-up for a last-place team? Then you have to option him to AAA in 2007. As it stands now you don’t have to protect him until 2009. Granted, we hope he’s a MLB hitter and never gets sent down, but still… it just seems dumb.

  21. Choska on February 10th, 2006 1:22 pm

    Here is hoping that Clement gets to spend a great year beating the crap out of AAA pitching in Tacoma. If we see him in Seattle this year is means that something went dramatically wrong with Johjima and Rivera.

    If the guy puts up Babe Ruth caliber numbers in Tacoma and forces his way up to DH in July, well that is just a great problem to have, isn’t it. But anything less than Babe Ruth style numbers, and the Ms being in contention, probably means he should take a year to perfect his craft in AAA.

  22. DMZ on February 10th, 2006 1:27 pm

    You don’t burn an option year with a September call-up.

  23. eponymous coward on February 10th, 2006 1:31 pm

    I’m guessing Clement ends up in San Antonio for most of 2006. Maybe he gets into Tacoma if he dominates the Texas League, but college ball to AA is a pretty big step in a year- and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start in Inland Empire before he goes upwards.

    Wallis makes an error, though:

    Since taking Alex Rodriguez with the No. 1 overall pick in 1993, the Mariners have drafted and signed exactly two players who performed well in the majors in 2005. Those two, Jason Varitek (first round, 1994) and Brian Fuentes (25th round, 1995), were traded before they were big league-ready and didn’t blossom until after they left Seattle.

    I’d argue Jose Cruz Jr. (first round, 1995) counts… but the point overall is valid, and it’s a damning indictment of the Mariners.

  24. Dave on February 10th, 2006 1:37 pm

    To be a Sept. callup, he’d have to be added to the 40 man. And then, he’d have to be optioned back to the minors to begin the ’07 season.

    So, if you don’t think he’s going to join the big club at any point during 2007, yes, calling him up in September would burn an option year. But that’s a fairly slight consideration considering he’s a college kid, and, odds are, he’ll probably see the show at some point in ’07 anyways.

  25. Evan on February 10th, 2006 1:38 pm

    Boston played both their catchers at C and DH against lefties last year. I think this extreme risk-aversion is poor managing.

    The thing about Edgar is that he didn’t become immobile until his mid-thirties. Doyle’s 24.

    He seems to get injured primarily running the bases. I’m hoping he learns to dial it back a bit when the game isn’t on the line (sort of a baserunning version of Livan Hernandez).

  26. Churchill on February 10th, 2006 2:02 pm

    If you remove “signed” from the equation, which changes the idea entirely of course…

    The M’s originally drafted both JC Romero and Morgan Ensberg in 94, Juan Pierre in 95 and 96, and Zito in 96… and Rich Harden in 99.

    Just haven’t been able to sign these guys. Money was an issue then.

    The 97 draft may be the worst of all time, however. If that isn’t, it might be 98… or 99… but probably 2000… or 2002.

    Putz had a solid 2005, however, and he was a 99 draftee.

  27. Trev on February 11th, 2006 2:01 am

    The college baseball season has barely started, but are there any rumblings about who the M’s are interested as their very high first round draft pick?

  28. Churchill on February 11th, 2006 2:56 am

    Way too much will change, but the top five or so seem to be a consensus, almost no matter who you ask.

    Andrew Miller, the southpaw from UNC is the probable top pick, and the next group could go in any order.

    Daniel Bard, RHP – UNC
    Ian Kennedy, RHP – USC
    Max Scherzer, RHP Missouri
    Drew Stubbs, OF – Texas

    One of those four will be available to the M’s.

    Things could change and we could see Evan Longoria, the Long Beach State shortstop have a great year and jump up into the top six somewhere, but I doubt it.

    There could be a prep kid like Maretto or Johnson sneak into the top 10, but it’d be hard to see them skating past the first five.

    But there are four months to go – lots will happen.

    The M’s will take the best player available, without much regard to the position he plays.

    Sure looks like it’ll be a pitcher.

  29. Jerry on February 11th, 2006 9:46 am

    There are some other players that could sneak into the top 5. Really, I think that this could be one of the most fluid drafts in years. There really are no absolutely dominant players. Even Andrew Miller needs to have a big year to stay at #1. He went 8-4, 2.98 with 104/52 K/BB in 97 IP last year. That is good, but he has to work on his control to maintain his status as the best player available.

    Max Scherzer had a lot better numbers last year, and he hit 99MPH last season. He could jump past Miller with a really big year. So could Brandon Morrow, who struggled a lot last season but has some of the best pure stuff in the draft. He had an incredible first start to the season, and could move up into the top few picks with a big year. Drew Stubbs could also make a bid for the #1 pick, especially if he improves his plate discipline and power. I could see him drawing more walks as a Junior, as people might start pitching around him. This is what happened with Clement last season.

    The situation with the prep pitchers is even more unsettled. There is no real consensus on who is the best among Jordan Walden, Matt Latos, Dellin Betances, Kyle Drabek, Bryan Anderson, Jeremy Jeffress, and Chris Tillman. Walden, Latos, Betances, and Jeffress are all big guys who throw hard, are very projectable, and could all climb quickly up draft boards with a big year. Drabek is a guy to keep an eye on as well, as he combines really good stuff with much more polish than the typical prep pitcher.

    Then there is also the signability factor. I know that Scott Boras is representing Scherzer and Kennedy. I am sure that he will be representing other top players in the draft as well. The M’s are the first big-market team to pick in this draft, so somebody like Scherzer could fall to them. I am sure that Boras will be representing a few of the top prep players as well. Since there is not as much of a talent difference between the top few players as there has been in the past two drafts, signability could be more of an issue.

    Most of the early first-round projections have the M’s picking Dan Bard. Bard is a pretty good prospect, and the M’s could do a lot worse. However, a lot will change in the next few months. I wouldn’t mind seeing them pick a guy like Drabek or Betances. After Miller and Scherzer, the really high-ceiling guys are going to be high-school kids. So many teams are focusing on college players that it could make sense to go for someone like Drabek, who is pretty safe as far as high-school players go.

    We’ll see.

    The other thing that is interesting about this draft is the overall picture of the talent available. A lot of scouts are saying that this draft lacks a lot of truly elite talent. There just aren’t guys like Justin Upton or Delmon Young available this year. However, there is a lot of depth in this draft, espeically in pitching. Thus, the M’s picked a really good year to not cough up their second and third rounders. If they play their card right, they could get two or three really good players. In particular, there could be some excellent highschool players still on the board for the M’s second, third or even fourth picks. This could be a good opportunity to make up for so many bad drafts in the past.

  30. Jerry on February 11th, 2006 9:53 am

    One more note on the draft.

    I am really hoping that Missouri RHP Max Scherzer is still on the board when the M’s pick. The guy throws gas, hitting 99 last year. He also has a very good slider and a developing change. Scott Boras will be his agent, so he could slide.

    But the best thing about him is that he has some strange genetic defect, and has one pale blue eye and one dark brown eye. It makes him look completely creepy. If the M’s have to pick between several really good pitchers like Bard, Scherzer, and Drabek, and all else is equal, I hope that they go for the crazy eye factor and select Scherzer.

  31. dan@jackson on February 11th, 2006 2:41 pm

    I thought I heard that Bavasi and Boras have a good relationship,so I’m not sure the M’s would take a pass on one his clients.

  32. James T on February 11th, 2006 7:14 pm

    #19. You must be wrong. After all, Nageotte is as good as Jon Lester or Jonathan Papelbon of the Red Sox and the M’s have EIGHT prospects better than him. That’s a terrific farm system, unless . .

  33. Dave on February 11th, 2006 8:18 pm

    Way to totally miss the point of that comparison, James, and then take my words completely out of context later. That’s a nice double dip.

    By the way, have you checked out Papelbon’s PECOTA card? It hates him. His projected WARP by season? 2.0, 1.7, 1.5, 1.6, 1.1, never posting an ERA below 4.53 to go along with massive attrition rates. His comparables are guys like Art Mahaffey, Gil Meche, Kelvim Escobar, Barry Latman, and Paul Rigdon.

    Needless to say, I’ll continue to say that Papelbon is a B pitching prospect, the kind of guy that almost every organization has.

  34. G-Man on February 11th, 2006 8:59 pm

    Base on the presence of Johjima, the typical development time required to be a major league catcher, and the optimism that I usually see in prospect projections, I expect this:

    Jeff Clement will spend all of 2006 in the minors, with an outside shot at a September callup, and probably the same for 2007.

    He’ll then be traded along with Emiliano Fruto for Keith Foulke, whose arm will fall off warnming up for his Mariners debut.

    One more hing – the traffic in McCall was very light all day today, but the parking lot at Paul’s Market was better than half full at 4 p.m.

  35. David J. Corcoran on February 12th, 2006 9:07 am

    Haha. I didn’t actually go into town until last night, so I’m glad someone could keep this updated.

    But if traffic is bad going up to Brundage today, I’ll be back here whining.

  36. David J. Corcoran on February 12th, 2006 3:44 pm

    My Gosh! G-Man is right! There was hardly anybody in town today! Good stuff!

  37. G-Man on February 12th, 2006 5:03 pm

    Corco, I can’t provide any more McCall data, but I’ll bet it wasbn’t too heavy today, either. I am staying in Donnelly, and it was pretty light over this way. going back to Puget Sound neighborhood tomorrow a.m., so your on your own.

  38. David J. Corcoran on February 12th, 2006 5:57 pm

    It’s rarely heavy in Donnelly, except during the huckleberry festival or whatver it is that deal them hicks down there do.

    Ah, down there at Tamarack for the Winter Games I take it?

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