1. Yusei Kikuchi, LHP
Age: 27 (6/17/91)
Level: Pitched in NPB
Simply by way of being an MLB-ready asset that’s found success in the NPB in the last few years, Kikuchi is the easy choice to top this list. The lefty is a FB/SL/CB pitcher with heavy emphasis on his first two pitches. He had a 12 SwStr% last season which placed him third among his peers that qualified, and a lot of that came on the heels of his wipeout slider that’s effective against lefties and righties. Kikuchi, not unlike many NPB pitchers that come over, has shown a propensity to limit the walks and has remained under a 2.5 BB/9 each of the last two seasons as well as generated 50 percent ground balls in the last three years. The margin of error for a pitcher who can induce grounders, keep his walks in check and has at least one plus pitch is pretty wide.
Of course, he doesn’t come without a few warning signs. He used his fastball-slider combo 82 percent of the time, with his curveball being just above a show-me pitch. He’ll need to flash his curveball more (and develop his sparingly used changeup) in order to turn over a lineup more than twice. Of greater concern is his injury history. Dating back to 2013 he’s dealt with nagging injuries, multiple of which involved his throwing shoulder. As such, the last two seasons were the first time he crossed 150 innings and he’s yet to hit the 200 inning threshold. The Mariners have committed to being cautious, toying with the idea of having him be an opener once every five starts to limit his innings.
To read an in-depth piece on Kikuchi, as well as his placement in a dynasty context, and a more detailed look at his arsenal, click here. ETA: 2019
2. Jarred Kelenic, OF
Age: 19 (7/16/99)
.286/.371/.468, 6 HR, .182 ISO, 125 wRC+, 19.9% K%, 10.4% Bb%, 15 SB
It’s been a whirlwind year for Kelenic as he’s gone from possible 1.1 candidate, to eventual top 10 pick, to major piece in Brodie Van Wagenen’s first trade. Lost in all of the talk of one organization's strengths, or perceived lack there of in the case of the Mariners, is the supreme talent that Kelenic possesses. An across the board five tool talent that showed extremely well across two levels of Rookie Ball fresh out of the draft. It’s not often a prep hitter looks as seasoned as Kelenic looked during his time in the Appy League. The Wisconsin product tore up the GCL in 12 games before producing a 107 wRC+ across 44 games in the Appy.
The aforementioned complete player, Kelenic brings to the table a variety of skills including a projectable plus hit, above average plate approach, above average raw power, and a plus throwing arm. He spent all of his time in centerfield during his debut season, but he’d fit well in right field as well due to his howitzer. His clean lefty swing has few moving parts, engaging his lower half with a slight leg kick. His quick hands and strong forearms point to untapped power still to come, and with his style of swing it’s not likely to be at the expense of his approach. Overall I view Kelenic as the highest ceiling player in the Mariners system. ETA: 2022
3. Justin Dunn, RHP
Age: 23 (9/22/95)
135.1 IP, 3.59 ERA, 3.25 FIP, 10.37 K/9, 3.46 BB/9, .248 AVG
Dunn, a former first round pick in 2016 is an athletic righty that made great strides in his development from 2017 to 2018. Dunn’s change-up improved from a below-average offering to flashing above-average and plus at times. He developed confidence in the pitch, using it to generate swing-and-miss and early count weak contact. The pitch flashes good depth and extends the plate against left-handers. Dunn’s bread and butter though is a plus slider that features two-plane tilt. Both pitches play off a 95 m.p.h. fastball that shows late arm side run. Dunn showed marked improvement in command compared to 2017. The ability to get ahead in the count is the biggest improvement. The graph below highlights Dunn’s ability to throw strikes. The results were a substantial increase in K/9 from 7.08 to 10.37 while reducing his BB/9 by 1.25. Overall, I like Dunn to continue to develop his command and sequencing. His ability to repeat his delivery, athleticism, and possible 2-3 plus pitches gives us confidence he reaches his ceiling of SP3.
4. Justus Sheffield, LHP
Age: 22 (5/13/96)
116 IP, 2.48 ERA, 2.98 FIP, 9.54 K/9, 3.38 BB/9, .193 AVG - AA/AAA
2.2 IP, 10.13 ERA, 8.39 xFIP, 0.00 K/9, 10.13 BB/9, .364 AVG - MLB
Sheffield is the easy headliner in the package. Here ‘s what Yankees system expert Jason Woodell wrote when he ranked him number one in our Top 30 post a little over a month ago.
Sheffield commands four pitches. His fastball touches 96 and under the tutelage of C.C. Sabathia has seen improvement on his cutter. The slider flashes plus with the changeup lagging a bit behind. The emergence of the cutter adds a fourth pitch to the mix which makes him a viable starting pitcher. Sheffield profiles as a low ceiling, high floor mid-rotation starter. ETA: 2019
In 116 innings last year (88 in Triple-A), he had a 2.48 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 123 strikeouts. Though it’s worth pointing out that in Scranton he struck out 8.6 K/9 (23 K%). He finished the year in the Yankees bullpen where he pitched a forgettable 2.2 innings. Sheffield is immediately thrust into redraft league relevancy as he might legitimately crack the weak Seattle rotation. I doubt Roenis Elias, Casey Lawrence or Max Povse will threaten him. The new park is enticing but temper your expectations for now. Sheffield will likely be a good streaming option off your bench in mixed leagues. ETA: 2019
5. Julio Rodriguez, OF
Age: 18 (12/29/2000)
.315/.404/.525, 5 HR, .210 ISO, 161 wRC+, 15.7% K%, 11.8% Bb%, 10 SB
Rodriguez was the prize of the Mariners 2017 J2 class signing for $1.25 million. He flashed his loud tools off in his DSL stint in 2018. He has potential plus hit and plus-plus power tools, and that’s a mouth-watering fantasy skill set. He might have finished the season stateside, but he had a foot injury that ended his 2018 early. He was able to participate in instructs though, so it shouldn’t hinder him going forward. He’s an average but intelligent runner, and has a 70-grade arm and should make a fine right fielder if he has to move off of center. I love Rodriguez and he has the skill set to advance quickly. ETA: 2023.
6. Logan Gilbert, RHP
Age: 21 (5/5/97)
Level: Did not play professionally in 2018, mononucleosis
Gilbert ascended 2018 draft boards after a fantastic run of success. During his sophomore year at Stetson, he posted a 2.02 ERA across 89 innings with a strikeout-to-walk ratio above 4:1. He traveled to the Cape Cod League that summer and became the ace of the Orleans Firebirds with a sub-2.00 ERA and right around 9 K/9. When he returned to Stetson for his junior season, he flipped on a switch and carved through the Atlantic Sun Conference. Across 112 innings, the big righty upped his strikeout-to-walk ratio to over 6.5:1 and held a WHIP of .85. This earned him the 14th-overall selection in the 2018 First-Year Player Draft by the Mariners. After being assigned to Low-A Everett in July, the Mariners sidelined him for the rest of 2018 with mononucleosis.
He features a live fastball in the mid 90s with substantial tail and sink. The pitch grades out as plus with a chance for more and is his best offering. His primary breaking ball is a mid- to high-70s curveball with depth and bite. The pitch can be inconsistent at times, but projects to be an above average pitch and a two-strike weapon for deep in counts when his fastball command and power can’t put a hitter away. His reliever risk is primarily tied to the lack of an average changeup at present. The pitch has substantial velocity difference between his fastball and flashes decent depth at times but remains inconsistent.
Gilbert’s mechanics possess some funk and display his athleticism and coordination from a large frame. He leads with his hips well off the rubber, incorporating a good amount of drive off his back leg that ups his perceived velocity. He separates very well, with his hips coming completely through his delivery before peak rotation of his upper body. There’s fantastic scap load with his arm that aides in the velocity he is able to achieve. If there’s any critique, it might be that he delays the firing of his upper body too much, which creates a little bit of pull and effort and he completes his delivery. The result is a noticeable head knock after delivering a pitch that could be cleaned up and his front leg almost hyper extends inward as his trunk vaults forward with his torso’s launch towards the plate. The result is dynamic and a general looseness that allows Gilbert to achieve positions few others can with his size.
Gilbert is currently a 45 future value starting pitcher with substantial upside and risk given the lack of professional performance. His frame is built for a starting pitcher and the Mariners contention window sets up well for him to stay on the development track of a starting pitcher. Keep an eye on how he progresses in 2018 through the Mariners system. ETA: 2021
7. Shed Long, 2B
Age: 23 (8/22/95)
Highest Level: AA
.261/.353/.412, 12 HR, .150 ISO, 120 wRC+, 23.6% K%, 10.9% Bb%, 19 SB
There’s 80-grade names and then there’s Shed Long. The Mariners second baseman has one of the more interesting prospect backgrounds, a former catcher, Long moved to the middle infield in 2015 and never looked back. Now a full-time second baseman, he brings a varied skill set that features on-base ability, power, some speed, and an above-average fielding profile. With a full season at Double-A in 2018, and a stint in the Arizona Fall League, Long looks primed for a shot in Seattle at some point in 2019. Though it’s likely toward the end of the season. I believe Long is one of the more underrated prospects in baseball, and it’s due to a variety of factors, paramount among them… I LOVE the swing.
Long starts from a slightly open setup, feet set about shoulder width apart, lots of movement with the bat head pre-swing, as he drops his hands and quickly gets his bat on plane and in the zone. He uses an exaggerated leg kick in his transfer as he engages his lower half, and gives way to the most important component of Long’s swing: his hips. Long’s hip rotation is great, as he easily transfers his weight and drives pitches with authority. His overall setup lends itself to even more projection in the hit tool and power, and a 55 hit with 50 power isn’t out of the question. His instincts on the bases should allow him to continue stealing bases at the major league level even if his running is only average. Long was dealt from the Reds to the Yankees for SP Sonny Gray, and then he was flipped to Seattle for OF Josh Stowers. The early word post-trade is the Mariners have designs of trying Long all over the infield, with some focus at getting him reps at third base. ETA: 2020
8. Evan White, 1B
Age: 22 (4/26/96)
.300/.371/.453, 11 HR, .154 ISO, 124 wRC+, 19.4% K%, 9.4% Bb%, 4 SB
The Mariners took White with the 17th overall pick in the 2017 draft. White was highly touted out of the University of Kentucky due to his athleticism and Gold Glove caliber defense over at first base. He’s a hit over power first baseman with good strength that hits the ball hard often, but his near 50% groundball rate significantly hinders the power potential here. His eleven homers were a disappointing number for a first baseman in the CAL League, but he did have 27 doubles and seven triples. What he doesn’t provide in the power department he can make up for some of that fantasy value as a first baseman that can run, and I also think he’s athletic enough to add outfield to his portfolio. He should chip in 10-15 steals to pair with 15 homers and plus plate skills. He could explode with a launch angle change, but those are much easier said than done. ETA: 2020.
9. Kyle Lewis, OF
Age: 23 (7/13/95)
.244/.306/.405, 9 HR, .162 ISO, 91 wRC+, 24% K%, 7.7% Bb%, 1 SB
It seems like eons ago that Lewis was a hot commodity coming out of Mercer. The hit tool and power combo had many, myself included, drooling. Following the 2016 draft Lewis looked like the player we dreamed on, but for a very short period in time, as a major knee injury derailed his debut, and likely his career. Since that fateful day Lewis has failed to stay healthy and produce simultaneously. A quick glance at his spray charts on Minor Graphs will show you all you need to know about the raw power that still lurks beneath. Lots of 430+ shots, it’s just not happening with the consistency it seemed like it would at the time of the draft, and immediately proceeding.
The biggest issue with Lewis is his bat needs to carry his profile and so far it has not. His game is not devoid of value outside of his offense however. He’s an average fielder, due to good instincts in the field more than actual foot speed. While an above average arm, makes him a fine fit for a corner spot. At the plate, Lewis shows flashes of the ability to hit for both power and contact. It was hard to judge Lewis coming into last year, as he was hurt for nearly two years following the initial knee injury, and later a re-aggravation following an incident with an outfield wall. He then spent much of the next six+ months rehabbing to return late in the spring this year.
Bluntly Lewis didn’t have a clean bill of health until May of 2018. With a full healthy off-season in 2019 can Kyle Lewis re-emerge? ETA: 2020
10. Noelvi Marte, SS
Level: 2018 International Signing ($1.55 million Dominican Republic)
Has Not Played Professionally
The top target for the Mariners on the J2 market, Marte is considered one of the top overall bats in the class. Prodigious power that plays to all fields is his calling card. Noted backspin, and strong quick hands are mentioned in various scouting reports. At the moment Marte’s footwork and arm are up to snuff for the shortstop position, but there are some concerns he fills out and slides over to third. Marte is a long way off but an exciting player to see debut stateside likely in 2020. ETA: 2023
11. Jake Fraley, OF
Age: 23 (5/25/95)
.347/.415/.547, 4 HR, .200 ISO, 172 wRC+, 10% BB, 16.9% K, 11 SB
Fraley’s inability to stay healthy is the biggest cause for concern. He has yet to play more than 66 games since the Rays took him 77th overall in 2016. The lefthanded hitting outfielder is strong with plus bat speed, and his swing has natural loft. He will use the entire field, mainly working gap-to-gap. He profiles as a DH or corner outfielder. He could move fast in the system if he can stay on the field. He was sent to Seattle from Tampa as part of the Mike Zunino deal. ETA: 2021
12. Erik Swanson, RHP
Age: 25 (9/4/93)
121.2 IP, 2.66 ERA, 2.91 FIP, 10.28 K/9, 2.15 BB/9, .210 AVG
Swanson has a prototypical pitcher’s body at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds. His fastball touches 97 with run and generates swing and miss. He is a fastball-dominant pitcher and occasionally loses command within the zone, leading to some hard contact. He also throws a slider and changeup with the slider flashing tight spin and generates swing and miss. In order to reach his ceiling as a fourth or fifth starter, Swanson needs to improve his sequencing and command within the zone. Otherwise, he could be a valuable bullpen arm due to his plus fastball. The trade to Seattle as part of the return for James Paxton increases the likelihood that Swanson can remain a starter. ETA: 2019
13. Braden Bishop, OF
Age: 25 (8/22/93)
.284/.361/.412, 8 HR, .128 ISO, 115 wRC+, 9 BB%, 17 K%, 5 SB
Bishop’s been a slow mover through the minors, still without a taste of Triple-A, though the expectation is he opens the season there. He has one of the more unique stances in baseball, setting up with his hands near his belt and the bat head pointed toward the umpire. He bobs on his left leg before finally using a leg kick to get to the ball. Despite the low start he still manages to get solid loft on his swing and his bat speed is pretty good too. Bishop, who never hit more than three home runs in a season, hit eight this year and increased his flyball distance by a sizable 20 feet. Suffice to say he’s unlocking the power to go with what was already a good contact and approach profile.
Speed and defense have long been a calling card for Bishop, who’s likely a 60 glove with 60 speed who can handle centerfield thanks to his quick first step. His five steals this year were a disappointment but he did have 22 in 2017. Perhaps we can handwave it and assume he was a bit more focused on developing his power, but we’re forced to wait to see if he gives himself the green light again this year. ETA: 2019
14. Cal Raleigh, C
Age: 22 (11/26/96)
.288/.367/.534, 8 HR, .247 ISO, 149 wRC+, 10.8 BB%, 17.4 K%, 1 SB
The Mariners were able to just get Raleigh signed just before the deadline giving their 2018 third rounder $854,000. The Florida State product is a switch-hitting catcher with above-average raw pop. He was inconsistent during his time in Tallahassee as he showed promise during his freshman and junior campaigns but struggled to get it going as a sophomore. He hit after entering the Mariners system and gives them an offensive oriented catcher. On defense, Raleigh has no standout tool with an average arm and average defensive abilities. He’s an underrated part of a nice Mariners draft. ETA: 2021.
15. Sam Carlson, RHP
Age: 20 (12/3/98)
Did Not Pitch in 2018
A sore elbow last July revealed that Carlson, a second-round pick from 2017, needed Tommy John surgery. He’s likely to miss all of 2019 and the Mariners will want to preach caution with what was once considered a top five prospect in the system. Seattle’s infusion of talent and Carlson’s injury drops him down here but you’d be wise to keep him in the back of your mind as he heals.
The righty broke out his senior year of high school when he jumped from high 80s velocity to 92-95 where teams started noticing him. With the Mariners he’s touched 97 already and has a chance to sit 93-95, giving him a plus pitch that might be rated a touch higher thanks to its sinking and arm-side run action. He has a slurve-type breaker with a hell of a bend and a changeup that he’s already shown feel for in the past. The only things to note are a present head whack at the point of release and working to avoid finishing so upright that it limits his extension.
Presuming that his stuff is back after Tommy John, Carlson, whose upside can be that of a SP3, is a great flier in deep dynasty leagues. ETA: 2022
16. Matthew Festa, RHP
Age: 26 (3/11/93)
49 IP, 2.76 ERA, 3.17 FIP, 12.31 K/9, 2.20 Bb%, .258 BAA
The former 7th rounder out of East Stroudsburg touched the majors last year with a solid showing over 8.1 innings. Mostly four-seamer - slider, accounting for over 90% of his usage. Festa actually leads with his harder mid-80’s slider. In addition to the fastball-slider combo, Fetsa mixes in a curveball, and changeup every so often, but each is more of an accent pitch than a significant part of his repertoire. As a former starter at the collegiate level, Festa’s sequencing is more polished than your typical reliever. Showing the ability to keep hitters off balance by leading with his slider, and pitching backwards. His elite bat missing ability is well documented, as he led the Texas League in SwStr% for pitchers with 40 or more innings with a mark of 15.8%.
Another element of Festa’s game that’s unique for a reliever are his clean mechanics. Festa looks like a starter, with a big leg kick, great extension, and an over the top delivery. He repeats well, throws strikes, and features one of the more athletic deliveries in this system. Festa looks ready to fill a significant role at the backend of a Major League bullpen out of camp in 2019. ETA: 2019
17. Dom Thompson-Williams, OF
Age: 23 (4/21/95)
.299/.363/.546, 22 HR, .247 ISO, 157 wRC+, 8% BB, 24.8% K, 20 SB
DTW is an athletic player with strong wrists. I don’t love the hands when he loads. He drops them low and keeps them low but he has made it work thus far. I spent all season waiting for pitchers to expose the hole in his swing. As the months went by, he kept hitting. I do think he will struggle in the upper minors, but he is an above average runner whose baseball IQ allows his speed to play up in game action. He was the third piece in the James Paxton deal. ETA: 2021
18. Joey Gerber, RHP
Age: 21 (5/3/97)
Highest Level: A
25.2 IP, 2.10 ERA, 1.54 FIP, 15.08 K/9, 3.86 BB/9, .202 AVG
A 6-foot-4, 215-pound righty out of the University of Illinois, Gerber has a classic starter’s body to eat a bunch of inn— wait, what’s that? Gerber didn’t start a single game in college or in his professional career? That’s right, Gerber is a reliever through and through working off the classic fastball/slider combo to mow down hitters. The two pairings can potentially be plus pitches (the fastball is already there) and he’s death on right handers. There are some moving parts in his delivery that affect his ability to keep the walks in check, but in short spurts he’ll still be effective. Expect him to move quickly. ETA: 2020
19. Ricardo Sanchez, LHP
Age: 21 (4/11/97)
Highest Level: AA
73.2 IP, 3.79 ERA, 3.98 FIP, 6.96 K/9, 3.42 BB/9, .267 AVG
Sanchez has a short but sturdy build. He throws three pitches, none of which grade above average. His fastball sits 92 but is straight while his curveball-changeup combo are inconsistent. Sanchez flashes some pitchability but overall doesn’t appear to have enough in the tank to be a viable back-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. The Braves designated Sanchez for assignment in November to make room on the 40-man roster, and he was traded to Seattle for a player to be named later. ETA: 2020
20. Dan Vogelbach, DH/1B
Age: 26 (12/17/92)
.290/.434/545, 20 HR, .256 ISO, 157 wRC+, 15.6% K%, 20.4% Bb%, 0 SB
Maybe he has to go to Japan? This is a question I often ask myself when contemplating what went so wrong with Dan Vogelbach. Let’s be real, the moving parts don’t make much sense, he’s extremely overweight, swings out his shoes, is prone to ugly hacks, but the results, and the actual hitter Dan Vogelbach is, reads like a polished AAAA vet. Once upon a time I believed Dan Vogelbach was Kyle Schwarber lite with better plate approach. His big raw power is evident and at times he’ll get out of sync getting to it, but for the most part Vogelbach grinds out at bats, walks a ton, and tends not to strikeout. Showing the ability to take what the pitcher gives him resulting in a more all fields approach than what he’s shown in his short MLB sample.
Will it all come together for Vogelbach at the MLB level? It’s not out of the question, He walked 20% of the time at AAA Tacoma last year, while only striking out 15.6% of the time, a pretty good barometer of future success, he also has enough power to factor as a DH or 1B platoon bat. At this point it’s a matter of the Mariners (or another club) committing to an extended look in either role, and Vogelbach seizing the role. Sorry y’all, but the Jelly Donut Of Swat rides on! ETA: 2019
21. Gerson Bautista, RHP
Age: 23 (5/31/1995)
49 IP, 5.14 ERA, 2.93 FIP, 12.67 K/9, 3.31 BB/9, .313 BAA (MiLB stats)
The Robinson Cano trade sent Gerson Bausista to Seattle along with Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn. The frame is wiry. Bautista has plus arm speed, but head movement at foot strike makes his delivery tough to repeat and there is also above average effort in his delivery. He twists his back to propel himself forward with some spine tilt and works from a high three quarters arm slot; mechanically he has below average posture and balance. The fastball sits mid 90s and touched 98, but it was mostly straight in viewings. He reportedly touched 100 during the regular season. Bautistas slider ranged from 82-85 with decent depth but somewhat lazy shape, and it was left up in zone at times. The pitch grades to around average. Bautista reached the majors in 2018 and spent the rest of his 49 innings in the high minors. He is a high-probability pen arm somewhere in the middle relief to setup range. ETA: 2019
22. Nabil Crismatt, RHP
Age: 24 (12/24/95)
144 IP, 5.00 ERA, 4.34 FIP, 8.75 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, .272 AVG
Crismatt throws four pitches: fastball, curveball, slider, and change-up. He mixes them well and keeps hitters off-balance. With a low 90’s fastball, he has to stay off the barrel and pitch backwards in order to be effective. When he is on, the fastball runs and sinks, inducing a high rate of ground balls. Crismatt’s curveball flashes 12-6 while his slider acts more like a cutter. His change-up flashes fade. All this adds up to a pitcher that can maximize his stuff to turn over a lineup. He struggled mightily in the offensive Pacific Coast League, running into some bad luck that spiked his numbers. Crismatt allowed only 29% fly balls in Triple-A but saw 20% of those go for HR. Compare that to Double-A where his fly ball rate was 39% with 7% going over the fence. The Colombian born righty signed a minor league deal with the Mariners this off-season. ETA: 2019
23. Wyatt Mills, RHP
Age: 24 (1/25/95)
53 IP, 3.57 ERA, 2.79 FIP, 10.02 K/9, 2.21 BB/9, .234 BAA
A tall lanky righty with a successful four year college career, and a deceptive side armed delivery. Mills looks like a ready made MLB pen arm less than a year out. His two pitch mix consists of variations of his fastball, with a four-seam and two-seam grip, as well as a tight slider in the 82-83 range Mills pounds inside versus right-handed batters. His fastball sits low 90s, popping 95 at max effort. His low arm slot and quick cross-body delivery allows his stuff to play up, but it’s his ability to command and control his pitches from his bizarre mechanics that separate him from other low slot two-pitch types in the minors, as Mills has little trouble throwing strikes and picking his spots. An arm I’d be willing to bet sees some time in the MLB bullpen come July-August. ETA: 2019
24. Keegan McGovern, OF
Age: 23 (9/13/95)
.271/.351/.518, 15 HR, .247 ISO, 142 wRC+, 9.7 BB%, 24 K%, 1 SB
The Mariners drafted McGovern out of the University of Georgia in the ninth round in 2018. McGovern was a four-year starter while in Athens, and was a first-team all-SEC selection in 2018 when he hit .319/.431/.644 with 18 homers. He’s proven to be more than just a traditional senior-sign to this point as he has plus raw power and is a good athlete. He dealt with a back injury while in school and it brought the overall production down, especially his junior season when he only managed to hit a pair of homers. His average speed and arm have made him primarily a left fielder since entering pro ball, and I think he can carve out a career as a platoon outfielder. ETA: 2021
25. Dylan Moore, INF/OF
Age: 26 (8/2/92)
.299/.363/.522, 14 HR, .223 ISO, 132 wRC+, 15% K%, 7.7% Bb%, 23 SB
When the Texas Rangers plunked Moore out of Central Florida in the 7th round, few thought he would be in contention for a 40 man spot three years later. But here we are, Moore is on the Mariners 40-man coming off a successful stint in the upper minors with the Brewers organization. In 2018 there were a handful of positive developments in Moore’s game, not only did Moore post significantly further average flyball distances, he hit them with more frequency and to his pullside. Despite these changes Moore managed to not only maintain his sub-20% K%, he actually dropped it to it’s lowest point for any sustained stretch, staying under 16% from July 1st on outside one ten game sample. Now that’s not to say the friendly confines of Colorado Springs didn’t give it a boost, but I’m willing to believe it was more than just PCL boosted air.
In addition to a solid combination of game power, approach, and contact ability Moore is an instinctual and savvy baserunner, advancing on fielding mistakes and reading pitchers windups. His success rate throughout the minors is 76.9%, swiping 90 bases on 117 attempts. Despite a poor showing during his season in the Braves organization, Moore bounced back in 2018 going 23/30 between AA and AAA. IN the field Moore is steady, but unspectacular, capable of manning every spot in the infield, having spent a majority of his time split between third base, shortstop, and second. In my opinion Moore fits the utility mold to a T and should be available to fill that role this season in Seattle. Signed as a Minor League free agent and added the 40-man I’m just reading the tea leaves. ETA: 2019
26. Ian Miller, OF
Age: 27 (2/21/92)
.261/.333/.327, 2 HR, .066 ISO, 78 wRC+, 9% BB, 18.6% K, 33 SB
Miller is one of the older prospects we will write-up during #top30season, but he has enough here to sit on a big league bench. Miller was the Mariners 14th round pick out of Wagner in 2013 and speed and defense is the game here. Miller has 70-speed and has netted him over 200 steals in his minor league career with an 83% success rate. He’s a skilled defender with plus range in center and a good enough arm to stick there. On offense it’s a slap-and-dash approach with minimal power output and no physical projection to project for more. At 27 he is what he is, and Miller has fourth outfielder upside. ETA: 2019.
27. Juan Querecuto, SS
Age: 18 (9/21/2000)
.243/.331/.329, 3 HR, .086 ISO, 98 wRC+, 8.9% BB%, 19.3% K%, 3 SB
The Mariners signed Querecuto to $1.225 MM as a part of their 2017 J2 class. Jesse Sanchez ranked Querecuto 26th in the class and Ben Balder ranked Querecuto 21st. Think versatile shortstop prospect who has a shot to contribute value offensively and defensively. He is a reportedly instinctive player on both sides of the ball. The frame looks projectable, and his defensive actions are playable at short. Also noteworthy are his blood lines: Querecuto’s father was a minor league catcher and his brother, Juniel, played for the Rays in 2016. Despite poor statistical offensive results in 2018 (.243/.331/.329 slash line), his all fields approach was somewhat promising. He is a high risk, high reward player. While far way, he has an every day player type ceiling. ETA: 2023.
28. Joey Curletta, 1B
Age: 25 (3/8/94)
.282/.383/.482, 23 HR, .200 ISO, 135 wRC+, 14.6% BB%, 23.4% K%, 1 SB
The Mariners are Curletta’s third organization as he began his pro career in 2012 when the Dodgers picked him in the sixth round. He was then sent to the Phillies in a package for C Carlos Ruiz, and then sent to Seattle for switch-pitcher Pat Venditte. Curletta has always had plus-plus raw power but he just recently figured out how to fully tap into it during games. He credits a new approach, a more selective one, as the reason for the spike in his homer totals. He got himself into better shape and the Mariners rewarded his strong season by adding him on to their 40-man roster this November. ETA: 2019
29. Max Povse, RHP
Age: 25 (8/23/93)
97.1 IP, 5.46 ERA, 4.14 FIP, 9.71 K/9, 4.35 BB/9, .268 BAA
The gigantic righthander acquired alongside Rob Whalen for former top prep pick Alex Jackson first touched the majors in 2017, before struggling for most of 2018 in the unfriendly Pacific Coast League. After pitching to contact earlier in his professional career, Povse looked to miss more bats, and while he was successful posting an 11.4% SwStr% with a 25% K%, his control faltered and he paid the price as a result.
Povse’s massive frame takes a while to get going toward home, but he extends well and shows some expected plane on his fastball. His arm is slow and his mechanics are deliberate, but he repeats very well for a man his size. The pitch mix is comprised of a fastball in the 91-94 range with some run, a two-seamer in the 88-92 range with good sink, a loopy curveball in the 77-80 range, and a changeup that flashes plus at moments. The changeup is the best offering in his secondary mix, getting some run and dive in on lefties and off the plate to righties. It’s a back end pitch mix for a back end ceiling starter. He’s likely ready to take his licks at the back of an MLB rotation in 2019. ETA: 2019
30. Jorge Benitez, LHP
Age: 19 (6/1/99)
Highest Level: A-
57 IP, 4.74 ERA, 4.53 FIP, 7.89 K/9, 3.79 BB/9, .283 AVG
Drafted out of high school from Puerto Rico in 2017, Benitez is a lefty whose mechanics are sound enough that the team hopes velocity will come naturally from his projectable frame. He’s sitting high 80s right now and has feel for a breaking ball. Benitez is still building up innings as he completed the 5th inning just four times in nine starts and had a few relief appearances sprinkled in. ETA: 2022.