Baseball America On The M’s
BA released their Top 10 prospects for the Mariners organization today. If you like minor league information, you should be a BA subscriber – they do the best work of anyone out there. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with them, though, and in this case, I think the list is… it could be better.
They have Halman #1. This is just really hard to justify, honestly, and I say this as a guy who has consistently been one of Halman’s biggest boosters. There’s no doubt that he’s got some serious power, and his raw physical skills are terrific. He’s also improved by leaps and bounds in the past year, and holding his own in Double-A at age 20 is impressive.
But the characterization of his pitch recognition as “below average” is in the running for the greatest understatement of all time. The list of good major league hitters who have succeeded with the approach Halman employs at the plate is Alfonso Soriano. There’s no doubt the two have similarities, but Soriano is the success story out of guys with this skillset. Without a pretty significant step forward in his approach at the plate, Juan Encarnacion is a much more likely development path, and it’s not like we can ignore the Reggie Abercrombie-type busts either.
Halman has star potential, but the risk is enormous, and the odds he fulfills it are very long. Making Halman the #1 prospect seems to be focusing too much on upside.
Triunfel is #4. I’m the world’s biggest Triunfel fan, so obviously I think that’s about three spots too low. In an interesting flip, there’s not much emphasis placed on his upside, and a lot more talk about his flaws. I’d argue that while he and Halman have similar ceilings, Triunfel is a lot more likely to be a quality major league player.
At #6 and #7, they go young with Mario Martinez and Jhardmidy DeJesus. Both good talents, both a very long way from the majors. I don’t see a scenario where you can justify putting either ahead of Tui right now, and I’ve never been a big Tui fan. But he’s 90% of the upside and a step away from the majors. There’s a lot less projection to do with Tui, and the difference in potential isn’t big enough to put the two kids ahead of him, I don’t think.
Raben at #9, Valbuena not in the top ten. I don’t know how you make that case, honestly. Similar upside in total value (obviously, they’re very different players), but Valbuena’s pretty close to major league ready, and Raben is at least a year away.
Overall, the information is interesting, and I certainly suggest that you subscribe to Baseball America if you have any interest in prospects or minor league news in general. But, we’ll just agree to disagree on this list.