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

Graduated Prospects
Taijuan Walker, RHP | James Paxton, LHP | Roenis Elias, RHP | Stefen Romero, OF | James Jones, OF | Dominic Leone, RHP

The Gist
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

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
94 11 23 6 2 2 16 9.6% 25.5% 0 1 .280 .344 .476

Baseball America ranked Jackson as the best pure hitter in this year’s draft class after the CubsKyle 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

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
547 83 147 31 1 31 111 8.2% 21.2% 7 1 .297 .360 .552

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

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
580 97 165 28 2 18 96 5.9% 22.5% 18 6 .307 .347 .467

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

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
178 15 23 8 1 2 12 9.0% 41.0% 4 1 .148 .244 .252

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

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
308 41 81 18 4 13 55 8.8% 21.8% 2 1 .301 .384 .543

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

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
562 79 159 32 6 4 55 4.8% 13.9% 29 10 .304 .335 .411

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

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB/9 K/9 AVG
6 8 3.33 24 24 0 116.1 96 50 43 5 3.2 8.6 .237

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

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB/9 K/9 AVG
0 1 1.27 14 10 0 42.2 26 7 6 1 1.1 12.2 .170

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

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
588 84 153 32 9 20 103 9.5% 18.7% 11 4 .295 .363 .507

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

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG

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.

Mariners Previews: 2014 | 2013

AL Top 10 Prospects Index

  1. Fabio says:
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    Christian Walker or Dan Vogelbach as an insurance policy in a deep dynasty?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Walker’s a little closer, Vogelbach a little more raw power. I’d lean Walker.

  2. Fabio says:
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    thanks Mike. Since we are here.. what do you know about Jakson Reetz? I read some good reviews about his potential..

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      anytime man. Nats are up next, actually. Early stuff on Reetz says he’s got the defensive skills to stick behind the plate and could put up average power numbers in the majors. BA ranked him in their Top 20 for the Gulf Coast League…still obviously a ways away at just 18, especially since catchers seem to take longer to cook.

  3. Swfcdan says:
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    Peterson a top 80 prospect?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Yes. In fact I think you could argue he’s T50 now.

      • Swfcdan says:
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        @Mike: Does look like a good hitting prospect, I’ve got him in one of my keepers. How do you approach good hitting prospects like him in poor offensive environments (poor park, poorish lineup) on your teams. Can see what affect playing there had on Cano’s numbers. Do you actively try and shop these guys to get prospects in better environments, or just wait and see as they may get real-world traded anyway? I like the look of him just can’t get too excited about him hitting in Safeco.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          IMHO it’s talent above all else, including position and home ballpark in the majors. So many things can happen along the way in terms of trades and such that it’s not worth stressing about.

          • Swfcdan says:
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            @Mike: I’ll hold until he makes it to the show. Still think then I’ll shop him around, just think all these Cubs prospects are more likely to max their potential playing at Wrigley for example.

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              I feel ya

              • Swfcdan says:
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                @Mike: Think Bryant could be the next super-slugger? Don’t know as much about him as most, mainly because I have him on zero teams (doh) lol. Could he start the season in Wrigley?

                Must be one of the most exciting power prospects for a while.

                • Mike

                  Mike says:
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                  Yup, he’s pretty exciting. Not sure about starting the year in the bigs. I believe they could eke out another year before FA if they let him cook until June.

                  • Mike

                    Mike says:
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                    from an article at Chicago Sun Times on this…

                    ““We’ll see how the roster comes together during the course of the offseason,” Hoyer said of Bryant, who’s not on the 40-man roster and isn’t required to be in order to remain protected in the offseason. “Obviously, just like in September, the roster status will be a factor. Sometimes you preserve depth in the beginning of the season at the end of the spring.”

                    The unspoken reality is Bryant’s service-time clock as it relates to club control. The Cubs aren’t concerned so much with the expense of Bryant gaining arbitration a year early (they would have to keep him in the minors well into June to avoid that).

                    But maintaining club control before free agency, through 2021 instead of 2020, is a matter of 20 days, which would mean postponing a debut roughly to May.”

  4. Swfcdan says:
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    Like the piece on baby-Vlad and his tendancy to expand the strike zone. Like Uncle, like nephew.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      haha, yeah it’s interesting. They kind of look alike too!

  5. Baezaworldseries says:
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    Only 1 pitcher in the top ten Mariners prospects? Times they are a changing in Seattle. Looks like for the better.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Yeah crazy, right? Gohara is solid too, but I bumped him for more bats.

  6. MattTruss

    MattTruss223 says:
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    Hey Mike, where would you slot Tyrell Jenkins into the Brave’s top minor leaguers? Things I’ve read mentioned he was more than just a throw in. What do you think of the kid? Thanks man.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Off the top of my head maybe in the back half of the top ten? He came back from injury and still has the mid 90s fastball, but doesn’t seem to get as many strikeouts as you’d expect with his stuff. Upside for sure though. Agree with you that he’s more than just a throw-in.

      • MattTruss

        MattTruss223 says:
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        @Mike: That’s cool, figured he had to crack the top 10 given the system’s deficiencies. But yea, 1.31 WHIP in high A and only 5 K/9 is kinda “meh”. He should be in AA this coming season though, that’ll be a good test to see where he’s at. Thanks for the time.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Anytime Matt. Looks like he cracked the T100 at one point but had a shoulder injury. Maybe needs to get some confidence back after the injury and like you said he’ll show us more in 2015.

  7. Ryan says:
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    Thanks for the list, Mike. I have a couple questions for you.

    1. It’s interesting that you chose Yarbrough and Hernandez over other options like Victor Sanchez, Tyler O’Neil, Tyler Marlette. Could you give us some information as to why? ONeil and Marlette look to be progressing pretty well, and Sanchez pitched admirably for his age in AA.

    2. Baseball America ranks this group as a bottom six collection of talent. As a Mariners fan I may be biased, but this looks like a stout list of players with potential stars and starting lineup quality guys and plenty of upside. It’s not a group of wild starting pitchers and international teenagers with tools like many systems are. I’m pretty sure I could find 10 or more systems that are worse or much less predicable. Your thoughts?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      1. Everything I read about Yarbrough is positive and I see more talk of upside in the reports on Yarbrough than Sanchez (who seems like more of a back-of-rotation type). In fantasy I want the guys with the bigger ceilings. As far as Marlette, I prefer toolsy middle infielder with speed and the chance for some pop over the catcher. I realize I ranked Bethancourt pretty high on the Braves’ list but that had more to do with his proximity to being the everyday catcher for Atlanta.

      2. The rankings are based on 2014’s preseason organizational rankings, so the system could very well be ranked much higher going into this year. I agree it doesn’t look like a bottom 5 system now. I haven’t seen that 2015 list yet, though.

      • ryan says:
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        @Mike:

        Awesome. Thanks!

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          anytime man

  8. Pope says:
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    As an M’s fan, I liked this article slightly more than the others.

    Thanks Mike!

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Haha nice! Thanks for reading!

  9. Kenneth says:
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    How close was Jordy Lara?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Super close. He had a great year and I almost put him in the ten spot. Honestly, he’s right there with those guys and the back end of these rankings can be splitting hairs/preferences.

      • Kenneth says:
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        @Mike: Cool. Yeah he seems like Julio Morban in that he is very talented if often injured. Interesting to note that he shared player of the year with Peterson. Of course Diaz shared the pitcher of the year with Jordan Pries who could be a decent back end option though not much fantasy value. Kivlehan continues to impress and I could easily see him being their first call up on the position player side. A good spring might even be enough to crack the opening day roster.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Absolutely. Some of these guys who signed when they were 17 seem like they’ve been around forever and they’re still just 22/23 year olds. My hesitation with Lara had to do with being on the older side in High-A and a lot of the power (14 of 22 HR) coming in High Desert’s park. Not wanting to poo-poo on his performance this year, it’s just where my thinking was at on him not making the 10 cut. Now if he gets it going again in AA Jackson to start the year it’s going to be a different story. Good points on Pries and Kivlehan.

  10. Yescheese says:
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    How would you rank the top 5 fantasy bats from the 2014 draft?

    Alex Jax has to be near the top right?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Yeah I’d put him first. Probably go with Jackson, Gordon, Schwarber, Zimmer, and Conforto.

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