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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (9) | 2011 (18) | 2010 (12) | 2009 (24) | 2008 (12)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [75-87] AL West
AAA: [63-81] Pacific Coast League – Tacoma
AA: [79-61] Southern League – Jackson
A+: [83-57] California League – High Desert
A: [71-67] Midwest League – Clinton
A(ss):  [46-30] Northwest League — Everett

Graduated Prospects
Kyle Seager (SS); Jesus Montero (C); Alex Liddi (3B/1B/OF); Hisashi Iwakuma (RHP); Erasmo Ramirez (RHP)

The Run Down
The Mariners might be a few more years away from contending in the AL West, but you only have to look at the quality depth in the upper levels of their farm system to know that this club is trending upward.  With the exception of Victor Sanchez, every guy on this top ten could conceivably reach Safeco Field this season.  That’s an amazing concentration of talent, and while all of it isn’t necessarily elite, there’s fantasy upside across the board here.  If you were going to choose just one system to get familiar with in 2013 for fantasy purposes, I’d probably go with St. Louis, but Seattle is not far behind.  And that’s a major compliment.

Top Ten Prospects
1.  Taijuan Walker, RHP:  Walker came in at #49 in my Top 50 Fantasy Baseball Prospects for 2013, but he would’ve ranked much higher if I thought he’d reach Safeco this year.  Fact is, the M’s have no reason to rush him — he’s just 20-years-old, and his repertoire could use further refinement in the minors.  So, unless Seattle somehow finds themselves in contention out West, don’t expect to see Walker in the bigs ’til next year. ETA:  2014

2.  Danny Hultzen, LHP:  #33 on my Top Prospects for 2013 list, Hultzen was destroying Double-A hitters throughout the first half of 2012, and the fantasy buzz was that he’d skip Triple-A and jump right to the bigs mid-season.  That was not the case.  No, Hultzen stepped up to Triple-A instead, where his ERA ballooned from 1.19 to 5.92, and his WHIP went from 0.93 to 1.89.  It’s quite clear that Hultzen, the #2 overall pick in 2011, ran out of gas in his first professional season.  I wouldn’t let the poor performance down the stretch discourage you from drafting him in keepers or very deep formats, though.  I expect the 23-year-old to rediscover his groove at Triple-A and arrive in Seattle before mid-season.  ETA:  2013

3.  Mike Zunino, C:  Zunino ranked #44 in my Top 50 Fantasy Prospects post.  Here’s me quoting me:  “Zunino will likely surface in Seattle at some point in 2013, but his fantasy value, once up, is tough to gauge.  His tools profile suggests he’ll eventually develop into a very nice big league catcher, and one you’ll want in fantasy leagues.  But most people around baseball don’t see the Travis D’Arnaud/Jesus Montero/Devin Mesoraco-type ceiling with Zunino.  Then again, he’s surpassed expectations at every stop thus far, and it’s within reason to think he could continue to do so at the highest level.”  ETA:  2013

4.  James Paxton, LHP:  His 3.05 ERA and 9.3 K/9 were encouraging figures from Double-A last year, but scouts have some serious concerns about mechanics and command.  Premium stuff has allowed him to overcome such weaknesses thus far, but he’ll be exposed against big league hitters if those troubles continue.  Pitching shorter stints out of the bullpen might be his ultimate destination, but Paxton will rack up plenty of K’s in any role.  ETA:  2014

5.  Brad Miller, SS:  Questions about where he fits in defensively have damaged his prospect stock, badly — many folks around baseball don’t see him as anything more than a utility player because of limitations in the field.  Miller can hit, though.  Since debuting as a pro in 2011, the 23-year-old has hit .341/.414/.513 across Low-, High-, and Double-A.  Folks spewed the same doubts about Allen Craig a few years back, but the bat always finds a way, my friends.  Miller’s bat will play in the bigs.  ETA:  2013

6.  Nick Franklin, SS:  Not long ago, folks were projecting Franklin to post 20-20 seasons in the bigs.  When he reached Tacoma midway through last season, however, those projections began to change.  In 296 Triple-A PA, Franklin posted an ugly line:  .233/.310/.416, 7 HR, 3 SB.  The soon-to-be 22-year-old will return to Tacoma this spring to work on his approach versus lefties, among other items.  He still has his youth and he’s knocking on the door, so there is some upside, but his projection has dropped considerably for fantasy purposes over the past year.  ETA:  Late 2013

7.  Stefen Romero, 2B/OF:  Romero posted a .991 OPS in 514 PA between High- and Double-A in 2012, collecting 23 homers in the process.  He played all of his games at 2B in 2012, and if he can stick there, he could be a monster bat-first MI for fantasy purposes.  Unfortunately, Romero seems like a better fit for the outfield, where his tools at the plate are far less exciting for fantasy.  He’ll move up to Triple-A in 2013, but he could be used by the M’s in a utility role at some point this year.  ETA:  Late 2013

8.  Victor Sanchez, RHP:  Sanchez is barely 18-years-old, but he’ll move up to Low-A Clinton in 2013, where he’ll be among the youngest players in the full-season Midwest League.  There’s a long way to go with this one, but he already features a plus fastball.  If his secondary offerings progress as hoped, Sanchez will blossom into one helluva prospect.  ETA:  2016

9.  Brandon Maurer, RHP:  Maurer features a big frame, a power sinker, and two good breaking balls.  He looks like your typical back-end innings eater, and he should be ready this year.  I mentioned that Taijuan Walker probably won’t reach Seattle this season, and a big factor in that prediction is the collection of arms the Mariners possess at the upper levels of their farm system.  Hultzen, Paxton, and Maurer could all be summoned to the bigs in favor of keeping Walker’s service time at zero.  ETA:  2013

10.  Carter Capps, RHP:  Capps features a 6-5 frame and a high-90s heater, both of which contribute to a very intimidating mound presence.  He’s destined for the late innings, it seems, and he should come in handy this year.  ETA:  2013

From Around The Web

  1. Beau says:
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    Are the dollar values in the war room document similar to projected auction draft values? Im trying to determine what players to keep in my auction draft. I am keeping Trout, Harper, Ellsbury, Moore, and Montero and can choose between guys like Butler, Rivera, Parker, Middlebrooks, or go young with guys like Profar, Tavera, Bundy, Myers, etc. for cheaper.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      They are, but they’re only specific to 2013. In a keeper format such as yours, you need to consider long-term upside… I like Profar/Taveras/Myers over the other guys you’re considering, especially if they come cheaper.

      • Beau says:
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        @Scott Evans: Thanks, each of the young guys would be $1 in ’13 and $6 in ’14. Otherwise Butler is $11, Parker and Middlebrooks would also be $1/$6.

        I was thinking about keeping the youngsters but I kind of feel like I could just draft a couple of them cheap anyways and then sign them to 1-2 year extensions. No what I’m saying? Whats your take on that?

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
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          I hear ya. Ultimately comes down to how prospect-happy the rest of your league is. In a keeper like this, Profar/Taveras/Myers could go earlier than you think… I still might consider keeping Taveras/Myers. Profar doesn’t have the same opportunity as those two unless there’s an injury.

          • Beau says:
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            @Scott Evans: What about Bundy? What are your thoughts on Middlebrooks?

            • Scott Evans

              Scott Evans says:
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              How many can you keep here? I like Middlebrooks… not as much as the Myers/Taveras, but he’s relatively high-impact & his opportunity is guaranteed. Bundy is in the same boat as Profar… I don’t see either making an impact this year. And pitchers are always a little riskier — also longer to reach their peak too.

  2. Beastman says:
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    Hey all, I just created a new Razzball league. $50 buy in, e-mail me for the password.
    joshua_eastman@yahoo.com

  3. Robert says:
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    I posted on another thread, but don’t think anyone is going back to that one.

    I’m playing an 8X8 league 10 teams mixed H2H.

    Stats are:
    Avg, obp, HR, XBH, Runs, RBI, Steals, Hits
    K, W, L, WHIP, ERA, QS, K/9, Saves

    Keepers so far:
    Pujols, Stanton, Cargonz, Tulo, Bruce, Zobrist

    Thinking I should pass on pitching because all I have are:
    Halladay, Morrow, Kuroda, Kendrick

    Other hitters to choose from are:
    Sal Perez, Carlos Santana, Bourn, Austin Jackson

    Am I good with the keepers I chose? I’m thinking I can get Goldschmidt in the first (read seventh) round because no one values him, and I always stream pitchers so I’ll start looking for them eventually but not right away, because streaming usually can get me half the pitching stats, but a stacked lineup will get me 5-6 hitting stats and keep me winning each week consistently. I killed everynoe regular season winning by 15-20 games, but the playoffs is a crapshoot. Just trying to get there again for the fourth year in a row, but because I’ve lost every year in the finals, I’ve changed my team name to the Buffalo Bills. Please help Thurman get his ring…

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Ha! Yeah, I like your keeps. My home league is a similar keeper format, 10 team H2H points & I always do my best to keep all hitters. In weekly formats, you should place more emphasis on streaming 2-start guys instead of rolling with 2 or 3 high profile starters. I always like to keep my offense stacked & consistent, and my pitching very flexible. I like Bourn a lot, so you could always go with him over Zob, but I can’t really argue against the way you have it.

      • Robert says:
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        @Scott Evans: Thanks Bourn was a great 7th round pickup for me last year (keepers take up the first 6 obviuosly) but I’m always reluctant to keep a guy like him after a career year for power and average last year, and especially with him changing over to the Indians.

        Zobrist doesn’t give as much speed, but is balanced and gives me the desired 2b/SS/OF combo which just makes him super useful for me. with the 13 hitting slots and only 9 pitching slots. Also… SAGNOF right?

        I’ll definitely look at getting quality streaming although we are limited to 7 moves per week, so I can’t stream 2 at a time. I usually average 6 per week with one spot reserved if I need to pick up a hitter up until sunday and then I’ll stream another pitcher if need be. I’m hoping to get good ratio pitchers early since they aren’t valued as high on ESPN like Samardzija etc. Maybe I can get some bargain pitchers that make up the core of my staff, but the late round guys can be streamed with no problem.

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
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          I like your plan. Hope you grab the title this year!

          • Robert says:
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            @Scott Evans: I hope so, I’m technically the assistant commish, in the sense that I put out the money for the big bad*ss trophy we have, and it’s frustrating because my name is not yet on that bad boy. Unfortunately the Keeper leagues are a pain in the first year because the first 6 rounds you pick the same spot in ESPN (at least you did 4 years ago) so the first overall pick got that for 6 rounds, and being the 8th out of 10 it was tough sledding, but since I do more research I was able to do well even in that first year. Luckily each subsequent year which starts at round 7 is truly snake style unlike that first year.

            • Robert says:
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              @Robert: BTW, does ESPN still do that on keeper leagues? DO they set not have it snake style for the first however many rounds depending on keepers? I’d like to get in anther keeper H2H league but don’t want that draft nightmare again. I may have to hit up Yahoo instead.

              • Scott Evans

                Scott Evans says:
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                No clue, man. I know Y! leagues accommodate for various keeper settings very well. I’ve successfully avoided playing in ESPN leagues up until this year, actually. We’ll see how it goes…

  4. TobiasFunkeAnalRapist says:
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    Hey Scott, nice article. What are your realistic expectations for Hultzen this year? Also, why is nobody talking about Pineda? Do you like Pineda as a possible sleeper? (I know he’s on the Yankees, I was just curious)

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Hultzen projection: 3.50 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 89 SO, 100 IP.

      Re: Pineda, he’s out ’til mid-season with that labrum tear. That injury is the toughest to come back from for pitchers, so I’m not confident in him as a sleeper. Still think you’ll see owners stash him in a DL spot for the first half, though.

      • TobiasFunkeAnalRapist says:
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        @Scott Evans:
        Thanks, I had surgery for the same thing about a year ago, it sucks to come back from.

  5. Doc Milo says:
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    Curious about thought on Stefen Romero, Seattle. They guy is a legit 30 homer bat. How does that not work as a corner OF bat? The kid hit two homers before straining an oblique in Phoenix. Both of those shots were over 450 feet. Sure it’s spring training, but 450 feet is 450 feet. This kid is going to be a star.

Comments are closed.