BA Locates Names of Ten Mariners Prospects

Jay Yencich · January 19, 2018 at 7:07 am · Filed Under Mariners, Minor Leagues 

Just before the holidays, fans of prospecting in general were gifted a tweet by Baseball America’s JJ Cooper which said what many had been thinking for a while:

Reading the back of the Mariners Top 30 for the Prospect Handbook. The back of this list is…..fascinating in a “Wow, we’re ranking this guy, and this guy and this guy and this guy.”

The Mariners have been in a precarious position for a while now, having traded off substantial amounts of lower minors prospects for near-ready depth with modest ceilings. Coupled with this, our draft strategy has been primarily to target competent and competitive replacements, and perhaps where we’ve had our greatest success is in selecting arms that we feel we can slot into bullpen work in short order. As such, the DiPoto era has almost excused itself from the trickier tasks of long-term development, as anything promising is quickly jettisoned and we’re left with an organization filled with organizational players. I said at the beginning of last draft that we were reaching a tipping point, beyond which was dangerous, in which we needed to focus on higher ceilings rather than replacement players. For a couple rounds, that was where our aims were, and then thereafter, not so much, which is part of why it’s not all that surprising to see a BA top ten list that has the first three names, the fifth and sixth, and then something of a free-for-all:

1. OF Kyle Lewis
2. 1B Evan White
3. RHP Sam Carlson
4. OF Julio Rodriguez
5. CF Braden Bishop
6. RHP Max Povse
7. RHP Matt Festa
8. RHP Art Warren
9. 3B Joe Rizzo
10. SS Juan Querecuto

Trending: DOWN Trades of eight players who ranked in the Top 30 Prospects a year ago have depleted the ranks.

I’m sparing you the next line which identifies as the non-coveted “worst farm system in baseball.”

If there’s anything promising that’s come out of listening into offseason conversations, it’s that DiPoto on the Wheelhouse podcast specifically stated that he thinks that we have finally arrived at the “tread water” point for our upper minors depth and can now comfortably focus on players that might take a little longer to bring along. He’s not wrong either in terms of how our depth is configured. Haniger, Gamel, Heredia, and Dee Gordon means that we can afford not to pressure Kyle Lewis or Braden Bishop. Ryon Healy, Vogelbach, and MAYBE Mike Ford mean that Evan White isn’t going to be counted on to be the first player of his draft class to hit the majors. For whatever else you think of Miranda, Erasmo Ramirez, and Mike Leake, they’ve at least got us fairly stable in the short term. One could also say that the fact that Jean Segura is locked into a long term contract makes it okay that we have traded away nearly every capable shortstop prospect we’ve had in recent memory.

In the longer run, sending away a lot of stuff leaves us with questions of resource allocation and whether it was worthwhile to, as some have characterized, make twenty moves only to still hover around .500. Hindsight makes such questions easier to answer, but in terms of prospecting, would you rather have Enyel de los Santos or what we got from Joaquin Benoit? Freddy Peralta or the Adam Lind experiment? Erick Mejia or Joe Wieland? Mike Montgomery and a quad-A starter or Daniels Valencia and Vogelbach? Zach Lee for Chris Taylor and the package that got us Smyly / Simmons were unexpected blow-ups, and had things worked out in the expected way, they would likely have been worthwhile. But the slow, untreated bleedout can ruin you just as easily as the bigger blow. Right now, I don’t feel confident in our ability to develop or to correctly evaluate more long-term assets.

It’s a bleak take on things, but then this is probably the thinnest, most top-heavy system I’ve seen in my sixteen+ years of following. There are positives to be taken away, such as the team continues to recruit Driveline guys as minor league free agents, has brought in Dr. Lorena Martin to help standardize conditioning practices, and has coaches that are increasingly savvy to how pitching and hitting mechanics are modeled. These are all great things to have to help you develop the talent that you have. We need more talent though. We need it badly.


10 Responses to “BA Locates Names of Ten Mariners Prospects”

  1. Westside guy on January 19th, 2018 2:33 pm


  2. JMB on January 19th, 2018 8:06 pm

    I knew it was bad, but I definitely cringed upong reading the “worst system in baseball” line…

  3. LongDistance on January 20th, 2018 4:56 am

    Interesting, coming out of January, with nothing but the unvarnished truth to stare at. This is not your father’s Mariner’s off-season, full of hopeful optimism, crossed fingers, badly smudged rose-colored glasses, and pure dread.

  4. Jay Yencich on January 20th, 2018 10:45 am

    It is if we had come to an end of the imagination, inanimate in an inert savoir.

  5. Longgeorge1 on January 21st, 2018 10:11 am

    Really sucking is not what keeps GM’s employed. Sometimes it is necessary to sacrifice the future to eventually succeed in the long term. The problem is that not every period of sucking is followed by a Houston Astro ending. So what we have here is sacrificing the future for an immediate return which turns out to be I am led to understand to be the longest non-playoff drought in any major professional sport. While we seem to have a respectable daily line-up the pitching seems to almost insure another season of disappointment. However I will not be disappointed this season. I have already abandoned all hope. Another year of Rick Rizzs extolling the virtues of the ’95 or ’01 M’s. Another year of “The Bone” telling tales of “The Glory Days”

  6. Jay Yencich on January 21st, 2018 10:42 am

    Usually in the dry seasons, I hold on to the hope of there being an interesting prospect that gets called up. There’s probably not even that anymore, unless I decide to get really excited about relievers, which is harder to do with an uneven rotation.

  7. Westside guy on January 21st, 2018 3:14 pm

    The main bit of hope I hold onto is this – basically, to my eye, it seems like this is the last possible year of contention with the old core. Cruz is a free agent after this season, and any path to contention for the M’s requires a good, completely healthy year from Felix (among other things, obviously).

    If, despite all the team’s talk about modern health and conditioning management, Felix has another mediocre year because his body can’t handle the 162-game grind… it should be obvious to the owners that they basically need to start fresh and build towards contention a few years out.

    Yes, they’ve still got to pay Cano through 2199, and yes, they have another year of Felix… but three down years in a row would put Felix firmly into “sunk cost” territory (as sad as saying that makes me).

  8. LongDistance on January 22nd, 2018 2:54 am

    Difficult, indeed, to choose the adjective.

  9. stevemotivateir on January 22nd, 2018 9:55 am

    Just to nitpick, it’s “Dipoto”, not “DiPoto”.

    And for what it’s worth, most of the players on the active roster are under considerable control.

  10. LongDistance on January 24th, 2018 1:31 am

    It’s not just a feeling. This: “This MLB Offseason Has Been Eerily Quiet”, over at

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