It’s probably safe to say that there won’t be many more offseason trades going down. It’s also safe to say that I’ve destroyed the SEO filter with that title. About this time, I need to go back and write up the prospects that got traded to teams that have already had their minor league previews published. This way, no prospect falls through the cracks into the abyss of nothingness, also known as the pit of noblurbaboutmeness. There usually aren’t a ton of these guys, and I try to limit it to the ones that aren’t totally obscure. That said, I’m sure I’ll miss a couple, so hit me up in the comments for a quick take on anybody I don’t mention below. This year it’s all about the Mariners, who’ve added four top ten prospects since their preview was released.
Jarred Kelenic, OF | Top 100 Rank: 34 | Seattle Rank: 1
Traded from the Mets for Diaz, Kelenic was drafted 6th overall in 2018 and possesses a plus hit tool with above average power and speed. He’s only 19, so fantasy owners will need to exert some patience as he works his way through the minors. In his first taste of pro ball, Kelenic hit .286 with six homers and 15 steals. He also walked at a 10% clip. It’s a really nice get for the Mariners.
Yusei Kikuchi, LHP | Top 100 Rank: 45 | Seattle Rank: 2
Unlike Kelenic, Kikuchi is ready to go from day one. His best pitch is his curve, and at nearly 28 he has a bunch of pro experience already under his belt in Japan. There, he averaged about 8 K/9 and 3 BB/9. That should equate to a useful 3/4 starter. My only concern heading into 2019 would be how the Mariners decide to limit his innings. There will most likely be an adjustment to the more frequent pitching schedule here in the States and it sounds like the M’s will shorten every fifth start for the southpaw. Steamer is predicting about 140 strikeouts in 143 innings of work (24 starts).
Justus Sheffield, LHP | Top 100 Rank: 50 | Seattle Rank: 3
Sheffield’s 2019 might not be too far off Kikuchi’s, although I’d plan for less innings and a higher walk rate. He’s good to go for 2019, and long term I think his ceiling is higher than the Japanese import’s – I’m thinking 2/3 starter with a strikeout per inning (maybe higher). Steamer is giving him 130 innings in 2019 with 115 strikeouts and a mid-4 ERA in 23 starts. I’d take the over on the strikeouts and the under on the ERA.
Shed Long, 2B | Top 100 Rank: NR | Seattle Rank: 7
Shed isn’t the Top 100/Grade A material of the other three, but he was still a solid get and I’d give him a sturdy B grade. The second base prospect is 23 years old, and spent all of 2018 in Double-A, where he hit .261 with 12 homers and 19 steals. He has a good approach – walking in 11% of his plate appearances in each of the last two seasons. The Mariners are set for 2019 in the middle infield, so I’d expect Long to spend most or all of 2019 in Triple-A barring an injury.
Obviously, it’s a very different Seattle system after their active offseason.