by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The Seattle Mariners isn’t necessarily a system that you’d think of when it comes to high end prospects, though they’ve seen a few develop as such in recent years. They’ve also made a few intelligent, somewhat under-the-radar, acquisitions (like Mitch Haniger), further bolstering the system. That’s not to say that they are a top end group, but Seattle is certainly better off than you’d might think. Let’s take a look:
1) Kyle Lewis – Outfielder
ETA – 2018
Grade – B+
The 11th overall selection in the 2016 draft quickly made his mark, hitting .299 with 3 HR and 3 SB over 117 AB. Not impressed? He added 8 doubles and 5 triples (.530 SLG), while also adding a good command of the strike zone (22 K vs. 16 BB). At 6’4” and 21-years old, there’s a good chance that his power comes quickly.
The biggest question will be whether or not he can stay in centerfield, though chances are he’s ultimately shifted to a corner slot. That obviously isn’t a major concern, and isn’t a knock against him.
2) Luiz Gohara – Left-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2018
Grade – B+
Is he the “next” Julio Urias? Now 20-years old, the southpaw made his mark in his 13 starts across two levels of Single-A:
1.81 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 81 K, 23 BB, 1.68 GO/AO
That’s certainly the type of skill set we look for, the biggest question centers around his workload as he threw just 69.2 innings. Considering that was a career high, it’s fair to wonder how long it’s going to take for him to make a significant impact at the Major League level. That said, he’s heading in the right direction as he took a step forward with his control (the other significant concern hanging over him). We need to give him time to develop, but the upside is there.
3) Tyler O’Neill – Outfielder
ETA – 2017
Grade – B+
After hitting .293 with 24 HR, 102 RBI and 12 SB at Double-A (showing his proximity to the Majors), the hype machine is going to be in full force for O’Neill. Considering he hit 32 HR at High-A in ’15 there’s obviously reason to believe in his power, though he has not supplemented the long balls with a significant number of additional extra base hits (21 doubles and 2 triples in ’15, 26 doubles and 4 triples in ’16). He also has shown a propensity to swing and miss at an excessive amount:
- High-A – 30.5%
- Double-A – 26.1%
Obviously improving, despite the tougher competition, is an impressive sign. That said last season’s mark still has a long way to go. It’s something that could be exposed at Triple-A, and how he produces early in the year will help to cement our impressions.
4) Mitch Haniger – Outfielder
ETA – Already Arrived
Grade – B
It’s easy to overlook Haniger as the “other” piece in the trade that netted Seattle Jean Segura. That said he was mighty impressive splitting time between Double and Triple-A last season, hitting .321 with 25 HR (along with 34 doubles and 5 triples) and 12 SB. Even better was the consistent command of the strike zone he displayed (strikeout rate // walk rate):
- Double-A – 15.7% // 12.7%
- Triple-A – 19.9% // 12.5%
He has the potential to claim a starting role with the team immediately, as he certainly could help to add some thump to the lineup (he had an additional 5 HR in the Majors). He also didn’t appear to be overmatched with Arizona, with a 9.5% SwStr% and 22.6% O-Swing%. He’s an easy player to overlook, but that would be a mistake.
5) Mox Povse – Right-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2017
Grade – B-
Standing at 6’8”, it’s impressive that he walked just 29 batters over 158.0 IP between High-A and Double-A last season. Couple that with a solid groundball rate (1.24 GO/AO) and there’s a lot of reason for optimism. That said, he doesn’t have the strikeout upside of other pitching prospects (139 K last season), and that is going to ultimately limit his overall appeal. You would think he was a flame thrower, given his size, but that’s not the case. It’s possible he turns out to be more Chris Young than anything (though that’s not a direct comparison).
6) Dan Vogelbach – First Baseman (Grade – C+)
7) Nick Neidhart – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – C+)
8) Andrew Moore – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – C+)
9) Drew Jackson – Shortstop (Grade – C)
10) Rob Whalen – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – C)
Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, MLB.com
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Grade A – Elite Prospects (aka potential future perennial All-Stars)
Grade B – Above Average Prospects (aka above average Major Leaguers, could develop into a potential All-Star)
Grade C – Average Prospects (aka solid, though unspectacular)
Grade D – Nothing More Than Roster Filler
Grade F – Move On
Make sure to check out all of our 2017 Prospect Rankings: