BP’s top 101 Prospects
Kevin Goldstein, Baseball Prospectus’s prospect guru, just released his personal top 101 prospect list. The ranking of the Mariners’ usual suspects is pretty much in line with what everyone else has been saying. Dustin Ackley’s on at #12 and Michael Saunders comes in at #62. He likes Saunders less than BA does, but the difference between #30 and #62 really isn’t that huge.
At the back end, though, is a pretty big shocker. Bucking industry consensus, Goldstein ranked SS Gabriel Noriega as the #94 prospect in baseball. This ranking is…aggressive, to say the least. Noriega is a great defensive shortstop with a level swing who produced only modest power last year while striking out in nearly 30% of his at-bats for Pulaski. Baseball America was nowhere near as impressed with him, ranking him towards the back end of the Mariners’ top-30 list.
Clearly Goldstein is hearing something about Noriega that other talent evaluators are not. I generally respect Goldstein’s opinion, but I don’t really get this one.Â I hate to be a downer, but Noriega is one of the rawest talents in a system that also features Gregory Halman and Denny Almonte. As nice as it is to see a national prospect analyst so high on one of our players, we should all temper our expectations quite a bit. There’s upside here, but if Noriega is able to hold his own in the Midwest League this year I will be pleasantly surprised.