Updated Future Forty
Long overdue, but finally here, we have a new Future Forty. A bunch of changes since the pre-season update, as some guys go away and new guys join the club.
This was probably the hardest I’ve had to look to find 40 guys in the system that I felt were worthy of being listed. I finally relented and put the struggling Michael Saunders on the list just based on talent, because honestly, there wasn’t anyone else who deserved the spot. He’s not hitting, but he has some talent (even if it was overstated during the past offseason by folks who got a wee bit too excited), so he ends up on the list due to what he might become.
The system is a bit better than it was, mainly due to two things – the addition of Brandon Morrow and the current health of Doyle. Adding two upper tier prospects will help any system look better, and the M’s are no exception. They’re still a league average farm system, at best, but there are some players to like on the way.
One of the problems is we’ve yet to see any significant breakthrough performances this season. Last year, Adam Jones took a big step forward, but no one has had an eye-opening season that changes the way we view their future. Matt Tuiasasopo was a good preseason candidate, but while he’s hitting for average, he’s not doing anything else. The arms who are pitching well are mostly relievers, which just isn’t that exciting.
Guys who have improved their stock include guys like Francisco Cruceta, who still profiles as a back-end starter/swing man until his command improves, and Mark Lowe, who is showing some potential as a multi-inning setup man. Justin Thomas, who many of us shook our heads at last year when the M’s popped him in the second round, is also blowing expectations away.
There have been some disappointments as well. Jesse Foppert’s still not anywhere close to what he was pre-surgery, and Yorman Bazardo’s arm looks to be in bad shape. Shin-Soo Choo still can’t hit lefties and lacks the requisite skills to be a major league starting outfielder, and Clint Nageotte’s velocity just doesn’t look like it’s coming back. Unfortunately, the decreased velocity hasn’t brought improved command.
The prospects at Tacoma have been mostly disappointing, but there’s been some signs of life in the lower levels. As such, you’ll see a huge clumping of players in the “prospects – several years away” category. There’s not a rush of young talent banging down the door to Safeco, but there could be in a year or so.
And no, Michael Garciaparra’s not on the list. I’m not jumping on the bandwagon. Guys who can’t buy an extra base hit in the minors don’t make good major leaguers.
As always, feel free to use this thread for all your prospecty questions.