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Seattle Mariners 2010 Minor League Review
Overall farm ranking via Baseball America:
2010 (11) | 2009 (24) | 2008 (11) | 2007 (24) | 2006 (27) | 2005 (11) | 2004 (12)

Records of Major and Minor League Teams
MLB: [61 – 101] AL West
AAA: [74 – 69] Pacific Coast League – Tacoma
AA: [73 – 66] Southern League – West Tennessee
A+: [75 – 65] California League – High Desert
A: [74 – 65] Midwest League – Clinton
A(ss): [48 – 27] Northwest – Everett
R: [37 – 28] Appalachian League – Pulaski

The Run Down
GM Jack Zduriencik’s genius might have been overplayed entering the 2010 season. After a poor major league season, he has a lot of questions to answer in 2011. His minor league development has been average. He got value for his Cliff Lee trade (Justin Smoak) but has traded major league talent for big question marks in return. The Mariners still have a glut of talent in their minor league outfield – all whom struggle with strikeouts but possess tremendous power (Halman, Peguero, Chavez). Dustin Ackley leads their minors as their 2010 and 2011 number ranked prospect, according to Baseball America. Michael Pineda rose faster than anyone anticipated and Nick Franklin (SS at Low-A) won the Midwest League’s home run crown. There is some hope in the minors but beyond the names mentioned above, there aren’t many impact players ready to shine in 2011.

Graduating Prospects
#2 (TEX/1B) Justin Smoak; #2 (RF) Michael Saunders; #3 (C) Adam Moore; #19 (3B) Matt Tuiasosopo;

Arizona Fall League Players – Peoria Javelinas
Pitchers: (RHP) Maikel Clato; #16 (RHP) Josh Fields; (RHP) Josh Lueke; (RPH) Thomas Wilhelmsen
Hitters: #1 (2B/CF) Dustin Ackley; (3B) Matt Mangini; (OF) Nate Tenbrink

Players of Interest
Hitters
#1 Dustin Ackley | 2B | D.o.B: 2-26-88 | Stats (AA/AAA): .267/.368/.407 | 501 AB | 48 XBH | 7 Hr | .140 ISO | 10/3 SB/CS | 79:75 K:BB | .308 BABIP
Patient hitter, solid bat, average power, and plus speed could mean Ackley is the next fantasy MI stud. Ranked number 7 in my Top 50 Fantasy Prospects. Read his Scouting the Unknown for further details. Expect a late May or June 1st call up.

#5 Alex Liddi | 3B | D.o.B: 8-14-88 | Stats (AA): .281/.353/.476 | 502 AB | 60 XBH | 15 Hr | .195 ISO | 5/7 SB/CS | 145:50 K:BB | .366 BABIP
Has good power to all fields but has a long swing. Defense is still a work in progress. Scouts believe Liddi could be a hitter that slugs 20 home runs with a .275 average. The strikeouts are a concern, yet the scouting reports believe time will improve his plate discipline with experience. Needs a solid 400 at-bats in Triple-A this year before expected ETA.

Carlos Peguero | OF | D.o.B: 2-22-87 | Stats (AA): .254/.340/.463 | 488 AB | 51 XBH | 23 Hr | .209 ISO | 7/9 SB/CS | 178:56 K:BB | .351 BABIP
Ranked 25th in the newest Baseball America Handbook, Peguero had a tale of two seasons. His early season home run binge led me to give him a Scouting the Unknown. That was the perfect time to write the article. After April his slash line according to Baseball America (2011) was just .227/.317/.399 along with leading Double-A with 178 strikeouts. Struggles hitting lefties, poor strikeout-to-walk ratio, long swings, chases pitches and doesn’t recognize breaking balls. The power is legit and his main asset. He could be best served as a platoon player in the mold of a Jacques Jones.

#10 Greg Halman | OF | D.o.B: 8-26-87 | Stats (AAA): .243/.310/.545 | 424 AB | 58 XBH | 33 Hr | .302 ISO | 15/4 SB/CS | 169:37 K:BB | .315 BABIP
Physically compared to Andre Dawson and Alfonso Soriano and projected to perform more like Preston Wilson. Halman is a gifted athlete with average speed and possesses tremendous raw power. He plays solid defense with a strong arm in centerfield. Struggles with contact, drawing walks and a consistent approach in the batters box. John Sickels 2011 handbook has this revealing line, “If you stuck him in a major league lineup and gave him 500 at-bats, he could hit 25 homers and steal 15 bases for you, while hitting .195.” So Carlos Pena’s 2010 with steals. Even after six minor league seasons, Halman is still only 23 entering the 2011 season. His 2010 major league call up in September was far from spectacular, resulting in 11 strikeouts in 29 at-bats. Although his 2010 season saw him draw a career high in walks (37), Halman has to develop a more consistent game plan otherwise we have another Chris Davis on our hands.

#6 Carlos Triunfel | SS/3B | D.o.B: 2-27-90 | Stats (AA): .257/.286/.332 | 470 AB | 20 XBH | 7 Hr | .075 ISO | 2/8 SB/CS | 54:13 K:BB | .279 BABIP
Finally had a healthy year. Still leaves a lot to be desired. His hype keeps him on this list alone. Still very young (21 entering the 2011 season), but doesn’t have a swing that will generate many extra base hits and defensively there isn’t anything to praise. He may have the tools such as a good swing with “exceptional hand-eye coordination.” He’s a slap hitter with an injury history rivaling Ricky Weeks. I fully expect him to play at Double-A again to open the 2011 season.

#23 Mike Carp | 1B | D.o.B: 6-30-86 | Stats (AAA): .257/.328/.516 | 409 AB | 47 XBH | 29 Hr | .259 ISO | 1/2 SB/CS | 93:41 K:BB | .259 BABIP
Not ranked in Baseball America 2011 handbook. With Justin Smoak expected to man first base for the next 10 years, Carp is nothing more than a filler (read: bench role). Moderate power in the majors, sufficient plate-discipline and average defense, Carp is the perfect backup.

Matt Mangini | 3B | D.o.B: 12-21-85 | Stats (AAA): .313/.352/.521 | 447 AB | 53 XBH | 18 Hr | .208 ISO | 3/0 SB/CS | 96:26 K:BB | .320 BABIP
Ranked number 18 in Baseball America’s 2011 handbook, Mangini doesn’t profile to be a full-time player. Mangini appears to be a role player with solid average and moderate power. BA’s comparison is Greg Dobbs. Nothing wrong with that. Defensively, he’s average. At the plate, he has a “professional approach with average,” power. Should see time as DH while Alex Liddi is manning third.

Pitchers
#7 Michael Pineda | RHP | D.o.B: 1-18-89 | Stats (AA/AAA): 9.9 K/9 | 2.2 BB/9 | 139 1/3 IP | 3.36 ERA | 2.16 FIP (AA); 3.60 FIP (AAA) | 1.11 WHIP | .6 Hr/9 | 7.8 H/9 | .306 BABIP (AA); .290 BABIP (AAA)
Minor League Numbers:
77 innings at Double-A; 9.1 K/9 | 2.0 BB/9 | 1.09 WHIP | 2.22 ERA
62 1/3 inning at Triple-A; 11.0 K/9 | 2.5 BB/9 | 1.14 WHIP | 4.76 ERA
One of Keith Law’s favorite pitchers during the course of the 2010 season. Pineda surprised many scouts. He did allow more runs to cross the plate in Triple-A but his strikeouts were slightly better while seeing an increase in walks. I ranked him number 15 in my Top 50 Fantasy Prospects due to the assumption that he wouldn’t pitch until June in the majors. You can read the full scouting report in the Scouting the Unknown article. Some more details on Pineda. He throws a 93 to 97 MPH fastball and can top out at 101 MPH. Slider was tighter in 2010 and his improved change-up. Mechanically he has a lot of motions and a “high-effort delivery.” With stellar control and a great strikeout rate, he should slot nicely in right behind Felix Hernandez as a number two starter.

#11 Dan Cortes | RHP | D.o.B: 3-4-87 | Stats (AA/AAA): 9.2 K/9 | 5.3 BB/9 | 96 1/3 IP | 5.23 ERA | 3.83 FIP (AA); 3.59 FIP (AAA) | 1.53 WHIP | .5 Hr/9 | 8.4 H/9 | .308 BABIP (AA); .353 BABIP (AAA)
He threw five innings at MLB level during September and appears to be a high-risk, high-reward late innings reliever. Throws a 96 to 98 MPH fastball, a “hammer 12-to-6 curve” and a sharp slider with work in progress changeup. With command issues, a switch to the bullpen could occur. Beyond the control and command issues, Cortes has a lot of upside.

#17 (TEX) Blake Beavan | RHP | D.o.B: 1-17-89 | Stats (AA/AAA): 5.4 K/9 | 1.1 BB/9 | 168 1/3 IP | 3.90 ERA | 3.03 FIP (AA); 4.79 FIP (AAA) | 1.16 WHIP | .7 Hr/9 | 9.3 H/9 | .272 BABIP (AA); .352 BABIP (AAA)
Received in the Cliff Lee trade. Beavan is like vanilla ice cream, always solid, but never spectacular. He throws a 90 to 92 MPH fastball with heavy sink, a slider with good tilt, and an average-at-best changeup. Beavan projects as a number four or five starter.

Josh Lueke | RHP | D.o.B: 12-5-84 | Stats (A/AA/AAA): 13.4 K/9 | 2.1 BB/9 | 63 IP | 1.86 ERA | 1.00 WHIP | .3 Hr/9 | 6.9 H/9
Another member of the Cliff Lee Trade. Lueke has a serious legal past. The charges were reduced/pleaded down to false imprisonment with violence. Strictly speaking baseball, Lueke throws a 94 to 98 MPH fastball, a splitter that “falls off the table,” and a plus slider. He’s going to pitch in the bullpen long term. With career rates of 11.4 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 177 2/3 innings, Lueke could be a worth-owning-in-fantasy middle reliever.

#13 Mauricio Robles | LHP | D.o.B: 3-5-89 | Stats (AA/AAA): 9.8 K/9 | 4.5 BB/9 | 142 IP | 3.99 ERA | 3.74 FIP (AA); 3.84 FIP (AAA) | 1.35 WHIP | .8 Hr/9 | 7.7 H/9 | .305 BABIP (AA); .258 BABIP (AAA)
Part of the Jarrod Washburn trade in 2009, Robles throws a 91 to 95 MPH fastball along with the best changeup in the Mariners farm system. His curveball has improved but still inconsistent. Struggles with control. Ceiling is a solid number three starter. With 28 innings at Triple-A in 2010, I expect Robles to return to Triple-A and see a mid-season call up.

Honorable Mentions
Hitters
#9 Nick Franklin | SS/2B | D.o.B: 3-2-91 | Stats (A): .281/.351/.485 | 513 AB | 52 XBH | 23 Hr | .204 ISO | 25/10 SB/CS | 123:50 K:BB | .328 BABIP
Defense at short is average at best and projects long-term at second due to fringe-average arm. Above-average bat speed, swings with good leverage. Swings hard and this leads to a long swing at times. Is a switch hitter, but hits better from the right side. Has average speed.

#21 (TOR) Joherymn Chavez | RF | D.o.B: 1-26-89 | Stats (A+): .315/.387/.577 | 534 AB | 69 XBH | 32 Hr | .262 ISO | 6/9 SB/CS | 131:52 K:BB | .364 BABIP
Received in the Brandon Morrow trade. His numbers are inflated due to an extreme hitters home ballpark (23 of 32 home runs were hit at home – High Desert). Has power to all fields; overall has above average power. Concerns over strikeouts, but in comparison to other prospects mentioned previously, his strikeouts are more under control. Plays decent defense but is a below-average runner with a strong arm. Mentally, scouts praise his ability to handle the ups-and-downs of the season. He made a change to his swing to eliminate a loop and tendency to chop down on the ball which allowed him to turn on inside pitches and tap into his above-average raw power according to Baseball America (2011). His future rests on his performance in 2011 at Double-A.

#28 Rick Poythress | 1B/3B | D.o.B: 8-11-87 | Stats (A+): .315/.381/.580 | 476 AB | 64 XBH | 31 Hr | .265 ISO | 3/2 SB/CS | 100:52 K:BB | .334 BABIP
Swing is built for line-drives and moderate power. With a focus on pulling, scouts believe Poythress could be a “masher.” Has solid at-bats, a fine strikeout-to-walk ratio and plays decent defense at third but projects as a first baseman. Although he played in the same environment as Joherymn Chavez, Poythress slashed .291/.346/.581 on the road compared to .339/.413/.579 at home. He is old for the level of play, but could rise fast if he plays well at Double-A in 2011.

Vincent Catricala | 1B/3B | D.o.B: 10-31-88 | Stats (A): .302/.386/.488 | 496 AB | 58 XBH | 17 Hr | .186 ISO | 7/3 SB/CS | 112:56 K:BB | .356 BABIP
John Sickels claim he is a worthy of a sleeper alert. His age would lead one to believe otherwise. Catricala looks to start the 2011 season at High-A High Desert were numbers are inflated. If he has a strong showing next year, he’ll start to raise a few eyebrows like Joherymn Chavez did this year.

  1. PepeSilvia says:
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    I heard Cortes is a real mimbo.

  2. Postmodern Pelagians says:
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    Nice run down Stephen. Thanks for all the hard work you do in writing these minor league reviews; they keep me both excited and aware of the things to come relevant to fantasy baseball.

  3. Tom Thumb says:
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    Nice review, Stephen. What are your thoughts on Cortes? MR this year with the loser of the League/Aardsma battle or what? I love his stuff, but as you mentioned, control is a huge issue. He isn’t much for inducing GB either but in that park, it’s not as huge of a concern.

  4. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    @Pepe Silvia: Then don’t let Josh Lueke and Cortes in a focus group.

    @Postmodern Pelagians: You’re welcome and thank you for the compliment.

    @Tom Thumb: If they want Cortes in the rotation, they will try to stretch him out in Triple-A. However, I see him more as a MR like Carlos Marmol in 2007 without the insane K/9 rate.

  5. Jo says:
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    I’m in the first offseason of a 10 team, mixed league keeper league and I get to keep 5 guys…. and I’m extremely lost. I’m keeping votto @ $11, heyward @ $5 and I cant decide on the next three out of:

    David Wright @ $26, Teix @ $18, Lester @ $17, Gallardo @ $17, Anderson @ $5, Marcum @ $5, Latos @ $5.

    My initial thought is to take Teix, Lester, and Marcum as they all seem under the money. On the other hand Wright is going to be very hard to replace in the auction… I could really use some help here guys!

  6. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    @Jo: I’d take that question to Grey. I personally would take Wright, Teix and Lester.

  7. Jo says:
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    @Stephen: Ok, in these types of leagues, do you consider the money you’re paying for your keeper? Or is it more of pay what you have to in order to keep teh best players on your roster? Cuz I could also get fielder, but he’s $27 and I think Teix is a much better value so I can save my money for another guy. That’s also why I don’t know if I should keep Wright… he’s not much of a discount from his value compared to Lester Anderson and Marcum (I just don’t like Lato’s that much)

  8. Stephen says:
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    @Jo: I go for best player for value. After hearing the Fielder comparison, Wright still holds good value, but sounds like you want to hold aother pitcher. Grey does more of the straight fantasy advice with my area of knowledge being the minors. Personally I want known value, even if I pay the right/market price.

  9. Jo says:
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    @Stephen: thanks steven… that makes good sense too. And I have a feeling if I keep both marum and anderson, one of them is going to plummet.

    I’m seeing the giants in spring training in 2 weeks vs the angels, dodger, royals, and a’s… Any big name youngsters I should be excited to see?

  10. Postmodern Pelagians says:
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    @Jo

    Considering this is the first year your league is in the re-auction phase, it may be best to play a more conservative approach and make adjustments from there in years to come. By conservative I mean keep your top and proven talents regardless of costs. While 3B in a 10 team league might have options, those options are not in his class and I think your best bet is to hold him. Wright, Texeria, and Lester look priced just right, and the money you gain from dumping them isn’t guaranteed to swing back to the same level of production. With Votto and Heyward at those dollar amounts, you’re still going to be competitive in filling a few of your team’s holes. Pitching is very deep this year, and it looks like your offense only needs a pair of base stealing outfielders that can be purchased at low cost as well.

  11. mr baseball says:
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    who are your top prospects this year that can make a impact

  12. Jo says:
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    For sure, I’ll see what grey says… but that sounds like sound advice… I’ll have 3 potential 1st round type guys if i do this plus Heyward and Lester (potential studs) and I like the sound of that. What do you think about droping Lester and getting fielder as my util… then I’ll own the 1b market…?

  13. jmonte says:
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    Any chances Ackley or Pineda make it to the Majors this year?

  14. jmonte says:
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    @Jo- You have great value on so many of those guys so its a hard choice, but heres my two pesos

    Vott@ $11 (Saving around $30)
    Heyward@ $5 (Saving around $20)
    Tex@ $18 (Saving around $20)
    Lester@ $17 (Saving around $10)

    Those are no brainers imho…

    You can make a case for either Yovanni/Wright/Marcum

    Even though value is still a tad bit below what he may wind up as I would take Wright so you lock up 3B.

  15. Charlie Says says:
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    @jmonte:
    As an avid Mariners fan, it looks highly probable that Ackley starts in AAA before getting called up mid-season. Team has enough middle infielders to choose from that they can wait. Pineda could go either way. If Bedard is healthy and another starter shows something, then he starts the season in AAA.
    @Tom Thumb:
    Lueke is the most likely reliever to make any kind of fantasy contribution. Cortes is interesting, but I’d take a wait and see approach with him.
    Also, FWIW, Mike Carp is bit of a sleeper. Started hitting for power last year, finishing second to Halman with 29 home runs.

  16. Moonlight's Grahams says:
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    Fun Fact: Vinny Catricala and Red Sox’s Lars Anderson were high school teammates.

  17. Yep, I said it.... says:
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    @Stephen. Could you please share your thoughts about two Mariners’ prospects: Esteilon Peguero and Joshua Fields? Thanks!

  18. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    @mr baseball: See Top 50 Fantasy Baseball Prospects

    @jmonte: I think both Pineda and Ackley play in the majors by August. Ackley could get 350 at-bats like Pedro Alvarez got in 2010. Pineda getting about 100 to 120 IP in the majors.

    @Charlie Says: re:Carp: I think you’re correct. However, that would entail Justin Smoak struggling as Carp doesn’t have the athleticism to play the outfield, even left field.

    @Moonlight’s Grahams: That is interesting. Thanks for the fact.

    @Yet, I Said it ….: re:Fields: Much like Cortes statistically. Throws a 92 to 95 mph fastball and a 12-to-6 curve. Delivery is rough and messy with a ton of moving parts. Doesn’t have strong stamina and thus projects to be a reliever long term. Has injury history. (All information from Baseball America 2011)

    re: Peguero, E. :Bat is supposedly his best tool; with “advanced bat speed, good pitch recognition for age.” Has hitch in swings (late load up) causing some troubles with fastballs. Currently posses gap power. May spend all of 2011 in the Dominican Summer League before making U.S. debut in 2012. This is all according to Baseball America 2011.

  19. mr baseball says:
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    Bryce Harper is missing

  20. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    @mr baseball: Bryce Harper wont play in the majors this year. At least according to all reports.

  21. mr baseball says:
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    you are just keeping him to yourself

  22. bb4ever says:
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    the Franklin assessment is way off! fringy arm? what did you cut and paste that from the basement? at spring training this year, the infielders were playing outfield practice and franklin threw a laser from the corner wall of rf to home at the catcher’s knees.

    Also, i watched him this past year break records more than once. Oh, and btw – his strong side is the left side, not the right like you wrote. he batted over .300 on the left side with all but two of his crown winning hr’s. just setting the record straight.

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