This is the post no one has been waiting for. The system I dread writing about more than any other. It’s the wasteland of Dipotopia. Desolate and destitute, dark most days, and it always smells like fresh cat urine. To put it mildly the Seattle Mariners system is putrid. We’re talking a handful of interesting players, and then several waves of system depth types. Two of the more exciting, and not to mention major league ready prospects, were shipped away over the last year and a half in Luiz Gohara and Tyler O’Neill, netting humbling returns. While the most recent draft yielded an uninspiring class for the most part. It did have it’s bright spots, consisting of a pair of talents in Evan White and Sam Carlson. They also netted a couple of intriguing arms in Seth Elledge and Wyatt Mills. The Mariners did make a serious run at Shohei Ohtani, but fell short in the end. Their International period was hardly a failure however, landing one of the top power bats in the class in the Dominican Republic’s Julio Rodriguez. There’s also been a cloud of bad luck following a once promising 2016 draft class, primarily Kyle Lewis, and the saga of his knee injury and subsequent recovery attempts. There’s also the feel-good story of the Arizona Fall League in Eric Filia, that morphed into the reality check of the winter following a drug of abuse suspension. So that’s what we’re working with today. Allow me to get through this misery so I can begin the next Minor league Update. It’s the Seattle Mariners Top Prospects! (puke emoji)

 

1.Kyle Lewis, OF | Age: 22 | Level: A+ | 2017 Stats: .257/.329/.412, 7 HR, 31 RBI, 3 SB

There’s no player who hurts my heart more to write about. Kyle Lewis is like a walking, talking heartbreaking Disney sports movie. After falling to the Mariners at 11 in the 2016 draft, many, myself included, considered Lewis the top hitting talent in the class. After his first month of professional ball those beliefs looked justified, as he slashed .299/.385/.530. The 30th game of that season proved to be a turning point for the outfielder’s career. An ugly home plate collision resulted in a nasty knee injury. One that Lewis still has not fully recovered from. He returned last June only to crash into a wall with his surgically repaired knee in his first game back. He hit the DL once again, returning in July and finishing the season strong with High-A Modesto. He was assigned to the Arizona Fall League, but was shutdown after just two games with knee discomfort. He had a scope procedure done on his knee in the offseason, and returned to action on May 12th. To date he has hit poorly in 2018, sporting a .217 average, and .598 OPS through 6 games. Certainly no reason to panic, and it’s encouraging that he’s played on back to back days throughout his first week. He’s yet to play three consecutive days, but it’s important for Lewis to take it slow, and get his legs, literally, under him. The talent itself is evident from watching Lewis in his amateur days. He combines power, contact, and speed, all at a plus level, with on base ability, and serious feel to hit. At the time of his draft I expected him to be in the majors by this summer the latest. If Lewis can stay healthy and find his pre-injury skills, he could once again ascend to the top 50 or so prospects in the game. ETA: 2019

2. Evan White, 1B | Age: 22 | Level: A+ | 2017 Stats: .277/.345/.532, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 1 SB

A tough player to evaluate for fantasy, and here’s why. There’s two very real possible outcomes, one is the more positive; the power he flashed his junior year at Kentucky, and in his early pro debut are real, and will continue to flourish. Or the other more pessimistic view; he’s a contact, on base guy with middling power, and above average defense, and athleticism at first base. So far in 2018 it’s looking like the latter. I’ve flip-flopped on White, over the last year, he’s certainly shown flashes of promise with power, and his baseline hit tool makes it an exciting combo. Other times, he looks like that boring line drive hitter. His swing is clean and graceful from the right side, he takes good at bats, and spits on breaking balls. He also runs very well for a first baseman, with the ability to steal bases. At the end of the day the best way to summarize White is like this, if his power comes, he could be a beast. ETA: 2019

3. Julio Rodriguez, OF | Age: 17 | Level: N/A | 2017 Stats: Did Not Play

This is a reflection of this system’s poor talent level. As good as Rodriguez might be, no 17 year old should be a legit third ranked prospect in a major league system. For fantasy no less, but I digress. Signed for $1.75 million in the 2017 International Period, the righthanded hitting Rodriguez’s easy power, and feel to hit made him one of the more desirable players for deep dynasty league owners this off-season. We haven’t seen much of him yet, and it’s going to be a few years until he really gets going, but he has the pedigree, and prototypical skillset we should follow as dynasty managers. ETA: 2022

4. Sam Carlson, RHP | Age: 19 | Level: RK | 2017 Stats: 0-0, 3 IP, 3.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 3 Ks, 0 Bb

A 2nd round pick out of the Minnesota High School ranks, Carlson gets the cold-weather-untapped-potential tag, as many do. From a pure scouting perspective he’s a really easy talent to buy into. He brings an arsenal led by a fastball that sits 91-95, touching 96 on occasion with late action and sink. His secondaries both flash above average to plus, with his changeup getting the more consistent 60 grades in scouting reports. His slider is no slouch however, it’s tilt, and late action make it a potential swing and miss pitch to pair with his change. Carlson is a talent worth stashing in dynasty leagues with 150+ prospects, or those with extra emphasis on pitching. ETA: 2021

5. Braden Bishop, OF | Age: 24 | Level: AA | 2017 Stats: .306/.393/.413, 3 HR, 43 RBI, 22 SB

This is where the Seattle system falls off a table, Bishop is a nice player, a potential fourth outfielder, or borderline second division regular. His game consists of getting on base, stealing bases, and gap power. The speed, and on base ability give him some additional value in fantasy as there are so few speed threats remaining. Could see some MLB time late this season if he hits at AA, and there are some injuries in the Seattle outfield. The other side of the argument is the competition could catch up to him in the upper minors, dropping his average, and essentially making him another good defensive outfielder. Super deep league depth guy, and sneaky speed play. ETA: 2019

6. Dan Vogelbach, 1B | Age: 25 | Level: AAA | 2017 Stats: .290/.388/.455, 17 HR, 83 RBI, 3 SB

The Jelly Donut of Swat is getting stale on the rack, and he’s just about to be thrown into the dumpster. The dreams of an on base machine with power, and a punchline body are dwindling. His 43 MLB games haven’t gone great, though he did hit a couple of homers in his brief callup this season. He continues to put up huge numbers in AAA, and hints at the potential to be a lovable sloppy-DH-only power guy. If he finally gets everyday at bats and adjusts to major league pitching, Vogelbach could carve out a niche as decent utility power only type. ETA: 2018 

7. Joe Rizzo, 3B | Age: 20 | Level: A+ | 2017 Stats: .251/.349/.344, 7 HR, 51 RBI, 3 SB

A teenage draft choice with feel to hit and what some saw as projectable power. Where that power is? I can’t tell whether it be games or batting practice, Rizzo looks the part of an all fields gap hitter. The numbers bear this out as well, he’s sported a higher or equal oppo% each of his three seasons. His fielding is sub-par, but his strong arm is keeping him at the hot corner for now. His lack of size (he’s 5’9) makes him a tough sell at first, and his limited speed makes him hard to convert to an outfielder. ETA: 2021

8. Matt Festa, RHP | Age: 25 | Level: AA | 2017 Stats: 4-2, 6 SVs, 70 IP, 3.23 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 99 Ks, 19 BB

A 7th round pick out of Division 2 East Stroudsburg, Festa was one of the more dominant relievers in the California League in 2017. He mixes a mid 90’s fastball with sink, run, and deceptive movement that make it particularly hard on lefthanded batters. He mixes in a plus Slider, and high 80’s cut fastball that flashes plus. Just for S’s & G’s he mixes in the occasional changeup and curveball, but neither are much more than change of pace offerings. In AA to start 2018, but looks very ready to help at the MLB level within a few months. ETA: 2019

9. Max Povse, RHP | Age: 24 | Level: AAA | 2017 Stats: 4-6, 70.2 IP, 5.22 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 61 Ks, 26 BB

I honestly think many people have a fascination with Povse because he’s tall. All 6’8 of Povse is nothing more than rotation depth at best in my humble opinion. His fastball has some nice velo, sitting 93-95, touching 97 on occasion. His two secondaries consist of an average curveball, with poor control, and a fringe-average changeup. So far AAA hitters have teed off on Povse, with an 8.02 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, .286 BAA, and a 12.8% BB% in 13 starts at the level. That’s 67 really bad innings, he is however striking out batters at a 23%+ clip. Perhaps it’s time to consider a move to the pen for Povse? ETA: 2018

10. Juan Querecuto, SS | Age: 17 | Level: N/A | 2017 Stats: Did Not Play

An across the board solid player, with a bucket of 50s across his scouting grades. He comes from a baseball family, and was considered one of the top middle infielders in the 2017 class. He has shown some feel to hit, baserunning ability, and good strike zone awareness according to scouting reports. Another long off prospect, though unlike Julio Rodriguez, he lacks real upside. ETA: 2022

Other Names: Eric Filia, Wyatt Mills, Luis Liberato, Ronald Rosario, Art Warren, Tommy Romero, Nick Rumbelow

BTW: Get your Prospect Jesus and Grey Albright Tout Wars Champ shirts here!

Find all of the 30 Minor League Previews, and Offseason Rankings on the Minor League Index
On Twitter as @ProspectJesus

  1. your mom says:
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    Hi ralph. 20 team (keep 8) h2h league

    Would you trade hosmer and a 2nd round pick for gleyber? How bout for buxton?

    Thanks

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @your mom: Yeah I’d do the Hosmer deal.

  2. David says:
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    Here’s one for you Ralph. Which side would you prefer in dynasty, Ohtani (the pitcher), Freeman and Vlad or Scherzer, Acuna and Tatis? Thanks Ralph.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @David: Ohtani, Freeman, Vlad

  3. Captain James T Kirk says:
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    Juan Soto getting called up today?!?! This is pure desparation by Washington and probably not the smartest move. None the less, I am excited to see if the kid is as ready as Acuna was….

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Hans Soto says:
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      @Captain James T Kirk: I’m not too worried. Hell, I’m excited, this guy has honestly never struggled. It’s not that crazy when you consider what he’s done in his 121 professional games.

      They also have no one at this point. They’ve lost over four outfielders between Eaton, Robles, Kendrick, and Bautista. Soto might not be overmatched by the Level. Age aside he’s shown no reason to doubt he can hit MLB pitching.

      • Captain Jame T Kirk says:
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        @Hans Soto:

        I am excited and worried at the same time. The kid seems to have very few, if any holes in his game thus far. But once MLB scouts get to see him for a few weeks, they will come up with a game plan to beat him. The kid is getting thrown into the fire head first…..

        I am just one that believes prospects need to have time at every level. Not necessarily a full season….or even half a season….but enough time to make sure he is ready to be promoted. Soto does not even have a full seasons worth of stats in his entire minor league career!

        I am excited….but my expectation level is VERY low.

        • Captain James T Kirk says:
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          @Captain Jame T Kirk:

          Interesting…..he will not start today because they are facing a lefty? Maybe it is just because the lefty is a good one in Alex Wood? Otherwise, they face three lefties next week….no chance they are as stupid as the Rockies were in their handling of Ryan McMahon….

          • Ralph Lifshitz

            Ralph Lifshitz says:
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            @Captain James T Kirk: He actually hits significantly better against lefties. I don’t know when the kid got in etc. The lefty excuse is bullshizz. He’s hitting 432/.490/.818 vs LHP in 2018 (49 PAs).

            These guys are special.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Captain Jame T Kirk: I strongly disagree with all this.

          MLB scouts aren’t magical wizards, they’re scouts just like minor league scouts. Stop thinking people in the minors aren’t good or capable. It’s literally the biggest issue in baseball! The top talent is often held in the minors. I can’t say this enough, AAA is a waiting room, not a level.

          • Trevor says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz:

            I don’t know. I do tend to agree that the scouting reports and pitchers are far more advanced at the major league level. It seems like most guys come out of the gate like a bat out of hell (Acuna) and then seem to struggle after a few weeks or more. Acuna over his last 15 games is slashing .161/.254/..286. I think a lot of that has to do with more advanced scouting reports along with smarter pitchers.

  4. Racehorse says:
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    “The system I dread writing about more than any other. It’s the wasteland of Dipotopia. Desolate and destitute, dark most days, and it always smells like fresh cat urine.”

    Hahaha, nice — too me you just described bad craft beer.

    16 team h2h with 13 player minor league rosters …

    I picked up Garrett Hampson on my big league roster in a preemptive strike …

    I want to stash him … who do I drop from my minor league roster in order to make room for the speedy Hampson with the plus glove (which I think translates to a higher chance of consistent playing time in the show) …

    Ryan Vilad or Yasel Antuna …

    Or, do I look elsewhere?

    Thanks !

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Juan Solo says:
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      @Racehorse: Yes, all bad brews do taste like Urine.

      • Racehorse says:
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        @Juan Solo: is Vilade or Antuna worth keeping over Hampson?

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Racehorse: Not right now.

  5. Miketron says:
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    Surprised Filia didn’t make the top 10 in this craptastic system. He was suspended for a drug of abuse and not PEDs. Was getting some buzz before the suspension.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Miketron: Thanks Mike, I fixed the intro. I’m just not that into a guy with issues that’s going to be 26 in July. Good on base and contact, not a ton of power or steals. I also need to see him do it above A ball. I’m writing him off a bit.

  6. Another Dan says:
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    Good stuff Ralph,

    A system worse than the Giants, can’t be too many of those.

    Dennis Santana getting some hype in different places. Just been promoted to AAA. First start 6IP, 11K, 0ER. Any further thoughts? Getting a taste of the bigs this year ? Will he feature in top 100 lists? Like that he Is with LAD and they are good at developing pitchers. But they do have a plethora? of Pitchers at the MLB level.

    Just traded My Haniger for his Merrifield in a 12 team 5×5. Have plenty of OF Acuna, Benintendi, Rosario, Hoskins or Bellinger. Needed some help at 2B, currently rostering Peraza. Good trade ? Also picked up Soto, just in case he hits the ground running.

    Best wishes,

    Another Dan

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Another Dan: Oh it’s worse for sure!

      I love Santana, he’s got the K upside, and three pitches he can throw for strikes. Worth grabbing IMO if you can.

      Not a bad trade, and the Soto snag will seem sage.

  7. Cable says:
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    H/H points league need to stash only one…..Z Britton,Vald jr or A Reyes

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Cable: Points I would go Reyes.

  8. jose says:
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    Alex Reyes and Paddack (he needs be moved to AA, needs a challenge), have me drooling !!!!
    Buehler and Soroka (DL) are looking sharp at MLB.

    Don’t really need him, but I have being keeping my eyes on Dennis Santana. He is my type of pitcher, low ERA, low WHIP, lots of Ks and few BB and they try to pitch deep into games.

    thoughts ??

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @jose: Yeah I like all those guys. Santana is a good add, but who are you dropping?

      • jose says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz:
        I don’t have to drop anybody.
        Now I am just following him and keeping a close eye on him. I may think about it after or late in the June draft.

  9. Lance

    Lance says:
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    The combination of Alex Reyes and Soto mentions in this comment section equals mentions of the Mariners lololololol

    Dammit Dipoto!!!!!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Lance: Dipotopia!

  10. Worm Hole says:
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    Hey Ralph. You still in on Kingery? Buy low or temper expectations? Thanks

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Worm Hole: Buy low in dynasty. Yeah, I’m not sweating it a ton. He’ll adjust.

  11. Prince George says:
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    Hey Ralph, keep up the great work! Really appreciate your insights. And thoughts on Hunter Harvey in a deeper dynasty, keep all league with 20 minor spots. How does he rank against Paddack and Dennis Santana long term? Thanks.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Prince George: He’s begins both those guys by a tier or two. I actually think he ends up a multi inning relief guy.

  12. jose says:
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    Ralph,

    What is your opinion of the Mets 2B Jeff McNeil (26)?
    In following Alonso I have seen him on FUEGO !!! of late. He just passed Alonso with 12 HRs.

    I know you have been following Vlade Jr., so you must have noticed him, with afew clutch hits in that series.
    The thing that stands out is that he is 26. He hits for average, for power and has OBP over 400.

    What say you?

  13. Tom Jones says:
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    Thoughts on Ian Happ? Even as he strikes out 40% of the time he is slashing something like .250/.350/.525! He looks more confidant latetly.

    If he can cut down on the k’s and get that number closer to 25%… he could be the stud we thought he was!

  14. Oddball Herrera says:
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    I have one spot and two prospect crushes: Soto and O’Neill. Who do you take? Soto is more highly regarded and O’Neill has a lot of competitors for ABs, but O’Neill does have the best single tool between them

    I have gone Soto for now.

  15. Slimcompoop says:
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    Hey Ralph…we argued last year about the Marco Gonzales/Tyler O’Neill swap. Looks like you may have analyzed that one correctly with O’Neill’s hot start, although Gonzales has done fairly well this year.

    Anythehoo…it’s going to be a free-for-all waiver wire tonight in my 12-team keeper league (i.e., you only get to keep six).

    I don’t mind gambling on a young guy. Who do you think has the biggest impact the rest of the year? O’Neill, Meadows, or Soto.

    Appreciate your columns.

    P.S. As a life-long M’s fan, I got super depressed after reading you’re write up:(

    • Slimcompoop says:
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      @Lance:@Slimcompoop: Also, after ranking those three, do you mind telling me your thoughts on whether any of them are currently better than Franchy or Teoscar? Thank you.

  16. Jimmy Jack James says:
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    Ralph, thanks for all the content. I asked Grey the following but would love to get your comments as well.

    I’m in the basement of my 15 roto team keeper league and have been offered Walker Buehler for Chapman. I would have Buehler at a 23rd round ref for up to the next five years. Any reason not to pull the trigger? Would love to hear your thoughts on Walker either way.

    Thank you!

Comments are closed.