Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (25) | 2013 (2) | 2012 (9) | 2011 (18) | 2010 (12)
2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [87-75] AL West
AAA: [74-70] Pacific Coast League – Tacoma
AA: [63-76] Southern League – Jackson
A+: [66-74] California League – High Desert (2015: Bakersfield)
A: [61-77] Midwest League – Clinton
A(ss): [28-48] Northwest League – Everett
The Mariners just missed the playoffs in 2014 and graduated several quality prospects along the way. Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma will be joined by Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, and Roenis Elias. Elias had a solid rookie season and will look to keep that going, while Walker aims to show why he was the organization’s top pitching prospect. The Mariners took one of the most exciting players in this year’s draft when they selected Alex Jackson sixth overall. The farm is stocked with enough pieces to make moves at the trade deadline if they go into buy mode either in the offseason or in July. On a side note, Seattle moved out of the launching pad of High Desert and now calls Bakersfield their High-A home after this year’s affiliation shuffle.
Top Ten Fantasy Prospects
1. Alex Jackson, OF | Age: 18 | ETA: 2017
Baseball America ranked Jackson as the best pure hitter in this year’s draft class after the Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber. The Mariners selected him sixth overall and he brings a plus hit tool and plus raw power. He has the makings of a fantasy stud if everything breaks right. Even though he started out as a catcher, the 18-year-old will likely end up in right field thanks to his above average arm. He lost time this year with a facial fracture after losing a ball in the lights and he’ll have to refine his approach at the plate as he progresses, but he’s got the most fantasy upside in the system.
2. D.J. Peterson, 3B | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016
Listed at third base, Peterson may move across the diamond to get his bat in the major league lineup faster. Not only is he blocked by Kyle Seager, but he doesn’t have the defensive chops for third according to most reports. Like Jackson, Peterson possesses a plus hit tool and plus raw power. Thirteen of his 31 home runs this season came after his promotion to Double-A, where he slashed .261/.335/.473 in 58 games. His strikeout and walk rates actually improved with his promotion. He’s going to be a middle-of-the-order hitter for the Mariners soon enough and could get his feet wet in late 2015.
3. Gabriel Guerrero, OF | Age: 20 | ETA: 2016
Vlad’s nephew, Guerrero is another plus hit/plus power prospect that profiles as a right-fielder in the Mariners’ system. Reports on him mention his tendency to expand the strike zone like his uncle but as long as he’s making contact it shouldn’t be an issue. He showed good speed with 18 steals in 24 attempts. Guerrero should spend most of the 2015 season in Double-A and his performance there will be telling after spending most of the 2014 season in hitter-friendly High Desert (although he did hit half of his homers on the road). Between the tools and his baseball pedigree it’s hard to bet against him.
4. Gareth Morgan, OF | Age: 18 | ETA: 2018
The Mariners took Morgan 74th overall in this year’s draft. He has plus raw power and while farther away, gives the Mariners another strong option in right field down the line. He’s not as good a hitter as Jackson however, so it will take time for him to develop and allow that big power to shine through in games. He’s a big man at 6’4″ and looks like a guy who can hit 40 bombs. The adjustments he makes to his approach as he progresses through the system will determine whether he reaches that full potential or becomes more of a 20-25 homer guy…or flames out completely. Fun.
5. Austin Wilson, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016
Yet another outfield prospect the Mariners have developing, Wilson is a strong right field type with good power and on base skills. He’s older than both Jackson and Guerrero, but was limited to only 75 games in 2014 due to injury. It’s not the first time he’s been injured – he missed half a season at Stanford in 2013 with an elbow injury – so Seattle might take it slow with Wilson. His .222 ISO in the Midwest League is a testament to his power and he’s a well-rounded athlete whose tools grade out at average or better in all five categories. He’s still raw though and will have to make up for some lost time, with High-A his likely destination to start 2015.
6. Ketel Marte, SS | Age: 21 | ETA: 2016
Marte hits for contact and speed is his best tool. There are questions about the switch-hitter’s ability to stick at shortstop, with second base or even center field as options down the line. He doesn’t have much power, so his fantasy value will come from his ability to get on base and use his legs. He doesn’t strike out much, but he doesn’t walk much either. The Mariners have promoted him aggressively, already logging 19 games in Triple-A thanks to his hitting ability. He profiles as a top-of-the-order hitter in the majors if it all comes together.
7. Edwin Diaz, RHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2017
Diaz was named Seattle’s minor league pitcher of the year in 2014. He has a plus fastball in the mid-90s along with a plus slider and a developing change-up. He’s the type of high-ceiling arm that we like in fantasy, and only gets bumped down this list due to some quality bats ahead of him. He pitched all 25 games in the Midwest League, and fared particularly well in his last ten outings of the season. In those final 45 innings he posted a 2.5 BB/9 and a 9.4 K/9. At just 20 years old and with a stacked rotation in the majors, Diaz will have plenty of time to continue to develop his stuff in the minors.
8. Ryan Yarbrough, LHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016
Yarbrough was selected in the fourth round of this year’s draft and made Baseball America’s top 20 prospects list for the Northwest League with a strong debut. The southpaw added a few ticks to his fastball velocity, touching 95. He showed good control as well with a miniscule walk rate in 42.2 innings pitched this year. With all of the uncertainty surrounding Danny Hultzen’s injury, Yarbrough leapfrogs him as the best lefty in the Mariners’ system despite being younger and farther away.
9. Patrick Kivlehan, 3B/1B | Age: 24 | ETA: 2015
Kivlehan showed good power across two levels this year. He is an “older” prospect since he spent most of college on a football field instead of a baseball diamond. Nonetheless, he’s capable of being a corner infielder in the majors. Given the Mariners’ needs for right-handed bats, he could see time in Seattle as soon as this year. In 104 games with Double-A Jackson, Kivlehan walked 10.2% of the time, while only striking out at an 18.1% clip. He’s athletic and contributes a little more speed than some other corner infield prospects – swiping 10 bags in 14 attempts.
10. Brayan Hernandez, OF | Age: 17 | ETA: 2018
Here’s a lottery ticket among lottery tickets. Hernandez was ranked a top international prospect (BA #3) when the Mariners signed him this past July. Reports on him say there is the potential for 15-20 homers in his bat to go along with above average speed. The 17-year-old from Venezuela is already a good contact hitter so it’s a matter of continuing to develop the approach and the power. He’s the type of far away prospect you can get for a decent price and let cook on a fantasy farm roster.