Seattle Mariners 2019 Top 50 Prospects

Logan Gilbert - Photo credit @PatrickCavey, Breaking Down the Future

Seattle Mariners Top 50 Prospects for 2019

Following the final pitch in 2018 Mariners campaign, the organization’s 17th consecutive without participating in the post season, I was having a conversation about what the Mariners needed to do to break the longest streak in professional sports. Conventional wisdom was that GM Jerry Dipoto, who was completing his 3rd year with the organization, was going to move some pieces around and try to do whatever it takes to find his way into the MLB playoffs, even if that meant a one-and-done Wild Card loss. I spoke vociferously about the need to blow the whole thing up. Trade Diaz. He’s our most tradeable asset. Trade Paxton, Haniger, and Segura I continued. My thought was no one should be untouchable and at the same time didn’t believe for a second that this was going to happen. When James Paxton was traded to the New York Yankees for Justus Sheffield, Erik Swanson and Dom Thompson-Williams, I gathered this was a one off, given Paxton has two years left on his contract and his agent is Scott Boras.

Less than two weeks later, news broke that the Mariners were working on a deal that would send All-Star closer Edwin Diaz and former all star second baseman Robinson Cano to the New York Mets. While excited about who might be coming Seattle’s way in this deal, the thought of “be careful what you wish for” also entered my mind. The prospects returning in the deal—Jarred Kelenic, Justin Dunn and Gerson Bautista will help improve the ailing farm system, but Mariner fans will continue to wonder what the organization could have acquired had they not included Robinson Cano and the 5 years, $120 million dollars remaining on his contract.

Prior to the moves, the Mariners minor league system was thought to be at near the bottom of all teams in MLB. With the aforementioned trades and a handful of other off season moves the M’s system has moved from the back of the line to somewhere in the middle. Where specifically? That is debatable. All I know is that covering the Mariners prospects just got a heck of a lot more interesting. Three of the top 6 prospects in the system, Sheffield, Kelenic and Dunn, were all acquired in the trades with the Yankees and Mets. I am intrigued to see how these players along with the development of in house prospects, Evan White, Logan Gilbert, Julio Rodriguez, Josh Stowers, Noelvi Marte, etc. transform this franchise. Will the postseason drought end in 2021, 2022 or 2023? When it does, will it be more meaningful than a one and done Wild Card exit? As of now, the magic 8-ball says—Reply hazy, try again, which is better than the previous 17 years’ answer of Better not tell you now.

One specific player note I wanted to mention. I have included recent International signee, 27-year-old Yusei Kikuchi, on this list. You will not find Kikuchi on ALL Mariners prospect rankings lists out there, but he is found on some. Since Prospects1500 leans dynasty/fantasy over real-life, he is prospect eligible in most dynasty leagues because he hasn’t thrown any MLB innings and we deem him eligible for this list. Of course check your own rules for Kikuchi’s prospect eligibility in your dynasty leagues.


Prospects1500 Tiers:
Tier 1:
Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster


Tier 1:

1. Justus Sheffield, LHP
Age: 22
Highest Level: MLB
The centerpiece in the James Paxton trade made his major league debut last year with the New York Yankees. The southpaw has excelled in the minor league level and last year went 7-6 with a 2.48 ERA, 1.14 WHIP while striking out 123 in 116 innings pitched. Sheffield possesses a three pitch arsenal with his fastball topping out at 97 MPH. He has a chance to crack the M’s opening day roster coming out of Spring Training and should be a mainstay in Seattle for years to come.


Tier 2:

2. Yusei Kikuchi, LHP
Age: 27
Highest Level:  JPPL
The Mariners inked the 27-year-old Japanese pitcher to a multi year deal to start the New Year. The left hander pitched professionally for seven years with the Seibu Lions in Japan going 69-45 with a 2.69 ERA. While he doesn’t come with the same hype as Shohei Ohtani and Yu Darvish, his ceiling is that of a number two starter at the big league level. He figures to immediately fill a rotation spot coming out of ST and I would expect him to pitch when the Mariners open the season in Japan vs. the Oakland A’s.

3. Jarred Kelenic, OF
Age: 19
Highest Level: Rookie
Kelenic was one of two high level prospects the Mariners received in the Diaz/Cano blockbuster this winter. He was the number 6 overall pick in the 2018 MLB draft and comes with a huge upside. Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto has said that Kelenic was the best player in last year’s draft class. He debuted in the Gulf Coast League after the draft and earned a quick promotion to the Appalachian League. Between the two he had a .286/.371/.468 slash line while hitting 6 home runs and stealing 15 bases in 56 games. He figures prominently in the M’s rebuild and likely won’t make his MLB debut until 2022.

4. Evan White, 1B
Age: 22
Highest Level: AAA
White had a successful minor league debut season with a .303/.375/.458 slash line with 11 HRs in 120 games with Low A Modesto and came up for a cup of coffee with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers, while also earning his way into the Arizona Fall League. He’s terrific with the glove, has some speed and mid level power. AA Arkansas appears to be his next stop and his MLB debut should come in 2020.

5. Julio Rodriguez, OF
Age: 18
Highest Level: Rookie
This is a kid to keep an eye on. Rodriguez possesses raw power, intellect and drive. He wants to be a superstar and has laid out lofty goals for himself. He impressed in the Dominican Summer League and in addition to his bat has shown strong defensive ability. His DSL slash line was a stellar .315/.404/.525 with 13 doubles, 9 triples and 5 HRs. As the most exciting prospect in the entire system, I am looking forward to following his path to success.

6. Justin Dunn, RHP
Age: 23
Highest Level: AA
Dunn is the other top prospect received in the Kelenic trade and was the Mets top draft pick in 2016. The right hander spent most of his time in college as a reliever but is being groomed to be starter at the MLB level. Splitting his time between High-A St. Lucie and AA Binghamton, Dunn went 8-8 in 24 games with a 3.59 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. He has a 4 pitch arsenal with a nasty slider and a fastball topping off at 95 MPH. It’s possible his major league debut comes this upcoming season.

7. Logan Gilbert, RHP
Age: 21
Highest Level: College

Photo credit @PatrickCavey, Breaking Down the Future

The Mariners top pick in the 2018 draft did not play in the minor league system after the Draft and being diagnosed with mononucleosis. After a stellar college career at Stetson, the right hander will get his feet wet in the M’s system this spring. Possessing a 4 pitch arsenal he could be someone who moves through the system pretty quickly.

8. Kyle Lewis, OF
Age: 23
Highest Level: AA
Drafted in the first round in 2016, the former number one prospect in the organization struggled last year after being promoted to AA Arkansas. Lewis has been dealing with persistent knee issues since tearing his ACL months after being drafted. The talent level is unquestionable. It’s now a matter of whether he can put it all together and stay healthy. Last year he was the club’s lone representative in the All-Star Futures Game.


Tier 3:

9. Josh Stowers, OF
Age: 21
Highest Level: Low A
The young outfielder got off to a quick start in Low-A Everett last year and finished with a .260/.380/.410 slash line. He’s a line drive hitter with mid range power and above average speed, compiling 20 stolen bases last year. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Stowers make the jump to AA before 2019 is over.

10. Braden Bishop, OF
Age: 25
Highest Level: AA
Look for the 25-year-old to make his MLB debut in 2019. He possesses above average defensive skills, plus speed and was producing at a .284/.361/.412 clip before suffering a broken arm after getting hit by a pitch in July.

11. Sam Carlson, RHP
Age: 20
Highest Level: Rookie
Patience is the key with this young right hander, who is likely not going to pitch competitively until 2020 following Tommy John surgery in July.

12. Erik Swanson, RHP
Age: 25
Highest Level: AAA
Acquired from the Yankees in the Paxton trade, the right hander was promoted to AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre last year where he pitched in 14 games. The 6’3” 235 pound pitcher hits the mid 90s with his fastball and also has an effective slider and changeup in his arsenal as well. In 2018 he went 8-2 with a 2.66 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 139 strikeouts in 121.2 innings pitched between three stops. He figures to have a shot to make the MLB roster coming out of Spring Training.

13. Jake Fraley, OF
Age: 23
Highest Level: High-A
Acquired along with Mallex Smith in the trade that sent Mike Zunino, Guillermo Heredia and one of my favorite prospects from last year, Michael Plassmeyer to Tampa Bay. He possesses plus speed, is a good defensive player and is a solid contact hitter. Last year with Charlotte he had a nice .347/.415/.547 slash with 4 home runs, 19 doubles and 7 triples in 225 at bats.

14. Noelvi Marte, SS
Age: 17
Highest Level: N/A
The youngster was signed as a then 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic for $1.55 million. He has speed and possesses raw power. Marte was ranked as the number 7 International prospect by MLB Pipeline last year. It will require patience but it will be interesting to follow his development over the next few years.

15. Dom Thompson-Williams, OF
Age: 23
Highest Level: High-A
The third player acquired in the Paxton trade, the 23-year-old was drafted in the fifth round of the 2016 draft. He played most of last year at High-A Tampa and between his two stops he had a .299/.363/.546 slash line with 22 home runs and 20 stolen bases in the 2018 campaign.

16. Cal Raleigh, C
Age: 22
Highest Level: Low-A
Raleigh showed off his offensive prowess with the Everett Aquasox after being drafted in the third round of last year’s draft. The switch hitting catcher had a .288/.37/.534 slash line with 8 home runs and 10 doubles.


Tier 4:

17. Matt Festa, RHP
Age: 25
Highest Level: MLB
The 25-year-old impressed the club pitching with AA Arkansas earning a promotion to the Mariners last year where he pitched in 8 games towards the end of the year. He struggled a bit once he was called up but will be given the chance to earn a spot coming out of Spring. With the Travelers he went 5-2 with a 2.76 ERA and 1.27 WHIP while collecting 20 saves in 22 save opportunities.

18. Wyatt Mills, RHP
Age: 23
Highest Level: AA
After a successful start with High-A Modesto, the right handed, sidearmed reliever struggled after his promotion to AA Arkansas. Between the two he finished the year with 6-2 record with a 3.57 ERA and 1.13 WHIP while striking out 59 in 53 Innings. He is a high level talent and with the proper progress could find his way to Seattle before the end of the year.

19. Joey Curletta, 1B
Age: 24
Highest Level: AA
Originally drafted in 2012 by the Dodgers, the big first baseman had a breakout season in 2018 demonstrating some big pop from his bat, crushing 23 home runs with AA Arkansas while producing a .282/.383/.482 slash line with 94 RBI. All eyes will be on him in 2019 to see if he can follow up last year’s production.

20. Joey Gerber, RHP
Age: 21
Highest Level: A
The hard throwing right hander split his time between short season Everett and Class A Clinton last year going 1-0 with 8 saves, a 2.10 ERA and 1.13 WHIP while striking out 43 in 25.2 innings. There’s a ton of upside with this young reliever.

21. Art Warren, RHP
Age: 25
Highest Level: AA
Another hard throwing right hander, Warren’s fastball tops out at 98 MPH. With AA Arkansas he went 1-2 with a 1.72 ERA and 1.53 WHIP. He has struggled a bit with command and needs to improve on that to take the next step.

22. Keegan McGovern, OF
Age: 23
Highest Level: A
Drafted in the ninth round of the 2018 draft the 6’3” left handed hitting outfielder showed some nice power hitting 15 home runs in 65 games for A level Clinton while putting up a .268/.351/.523 slash line.

23. Eric Filia, OF
Age: 26
Highest Level: AAA
After serving a 50 game suspension for PEDs, the 26-year-old outfielder put up a .274/.371/.348 slash with Arkansas. Filia hits for contact but lacks power. He’ll turn 27 this summer so the window is only going to be open for so long.

24. Juan Querecuto, SS
Age: 18
Highest Level: Rookie
Another International signee, 18-year-old Querecuto is strong defensively. He has time to develop offensively and has future power potential.

25. Ian Miller, OF
Age: 26
Highest Level: AAA
Defense and speed are Miller’s calling cards. After a successful 2017 in AA ball, he has struggled at the AAA level over the back half of 2017 and 2018 with AAA Tacoma. He had 33 stolen bases last year but his slash line of .261/.333/.327 needs some steady improvement to be a major league player.

26. Ricardo Sanchez, LHP
Age: 21
Highest Level: AA
The young lefty was acquired from the Braves in November. Last year across Rookie ball and AA Mississippi he went 3-5 with a .379 ERA and 1.45 WHIP with 57 strikeouts in 73.2 innings.

27. Gerson Bautista, RHP
Age: 23
Highest Level: MLB
A hard throwing right hander acquired in the Diaz/Cano trade, his biggest hurdle is command. If he can hone that he will be in a major league bullpen. Last year he split his time between AA Binghamton and AAA Las Vegas striking out 69 batters in 49 innings, and did get called up and pitched in 5 games for the Mets (12.46 ERA in 4.1 IP).

28. Nick Rumbelow, RHP
Age: 27
Highest Level: MLB
Rumbelow had a stellar minor league season last year between Arkansas and Tacoma and earned a promotion to the big club where he pitched out of the pen in 13 games. He will be given the opportunity to stick with the M’s out of Spring Training.

29. Dylan Moore, 3B
Age: 26
Highest Level: AAA
The Mariners signed the third baseman in November. He will be given a shot to make the M’s out of Spring Training as a utility player. Moore plays all infield positions and can also be put in the outfield in a pinch. Between Biloxi and Colorado Springs he slashed an impressive .299/.363/.522 with 14 home runs.

30. Joe Rizzo, 3B
Age: 20
Highest Level: High A
Rizzo was Seattle’s 2nd round pick in 2016 and he struggled at the plate with the Modesto Nuts in 2018. Just 20-years-old, he’s still fairly raw but has a high baseball IQ and has time to develop.

31. Max Povse, RHP
Age: 25
Highest Level: MLB
The 6”8” right handed pitcher impressed with AA Arkansas last year and subsequently struggled with the Mariners and Triple-A Tacoma. He has a three pitch arsenal and will have a shot to make the big club out of Spring Training.

32. Anthony Jimenez, OF
Age: 23
Highest Level: High-A
He has moved very slowly through the M’s system, just reaching High-A in 2018 after being signed originally in 2013. He needs to be more disciplined at the plate after striking out 103 times in 385 at bats.

33. Rob Whalen, RHP
Age: 24
Highest Level: MLB
Whalen had a rough time in 2018 going 7-10 with a 5.48 ERA and 1.62 WHIP pitching in 24 minor league games last year. He’s seen very brief time in the majors the last 3 years.


Tier 5:

34. Donnie Walton, 2B
Age: 24
Highest Level: AA
Walton is an above average defensive player and is capable of playing shortstop in addition to second base. He impressed with High-A Modesto and struggled when he got to Arkansas. Has the potential to be a utility player in MLB.

35. Darin Gillies, RHP
Age: 26
Highest Level: AAA
The right handed reliever split his time between Arkansas and Tacoma in 2018, going 3-2 with a 5.17 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. He will compete to earn a spot in the Mariners bullpen in 2019.

36. Kyle Wilcox, RHP
Age: 24
Highest Level: High-A
The 24-year-old will look to build on his solid 2018 campaign where he went 4-4 with a 3.38 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, striking out 94 in 58.2 innings between Clinton and Modesto.

37. Darren McCaughan, RHP
Age: 22
Highest Level: AAA
McCaughan started 27 games last year where he went 7-11 with a 3.08 ERA and 1.34 WHIP playing mostly with High A Modesto. He will look to build upon last years success in 2019.

38. Logan Taylor, 3B
Age: 25
Highest Level: AAA
Taylor bounced back to have solid 2018 campaign after suffering an oblique injury in 2017. He had a slash line of .280/.357/.426 with 10 home runs splitting time mainly between Modesto and Arkansas with a 2 game taste at AAA Tacoma.

39. Luis Liberato, OF
Age: 23
Highest Level: AA
The 23-year-old outfielder spent the better part of the last two seasons with High-A Modesto. Last year’s slash line of .250/.317/.424 mirrored his production level of the prior three years.

40. David McKay, RHP
Age: 23
Highest Level: AAA
McKay was signed as a free agent in March of 2018 and put together a good year splitting time between Modesto, Arkansas and Tacoma. Combined he was 6-2 with a 2.58 ERA and 1.16 WHIP and earned a spot in the Arizona Fall League.

41. Matt Walker, RHP
Age: 24
Highest Level: AA
The 6’6” right hander had a solid 2018 campaign pitching out of the bullpen with the Travelers. In 39 games he went 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. He has good control and has some power striking out 56 while walking only 22 in 62 innings pitched.

42. Cesar Izturis Jr., 2B/SS
Age: 19
Highest Level: AAA
The son of the former major league All-Star, Izturis spent all but one game playing Rookie ball in 2018. I’m looking forward to following his development this upcoming year.

43. Max Roberts, LHP
Age: 21
Highest Level: Low A
Another 6’6” pitcher, Roberts was drafted in the seventh round in 2017 and went right into Rookie ball in Arizona. Last year, he started 10 games for Low-A Everett going 1-3 with a 4.25 ERA and 1.42 WHIP.

44. Ruben Alaniz, RHP
Age: 27
Highest Level: AAA
The Mariners signed Alaniz as a free agent this fall after his spending time in the Astros, Tigers and Tampa Bay organizations. Started his career as a starter but he worked entirely out of the bullpen in 2018. He started his minor league career back in 2010 and this may be his last shot to make a major league club. There is some intrigue as he is a ground ball pitcher who can reach 98 MPH with his fastball.

45. Jack Anderson, RHP
Age: 25
Highest Level: High-A
A sidearm reliever, Anderson possesses the ability to control the strike zone. Last year with Modesto walked only 14 batters over 53.2 innings while striking out 57.

46. Collin Kober, RHP
Age: 24
Highest Level: AA
Also a sidearm reliever, Kober was taken in the 27th round in 2017. He hopes to build on his strong 2018 where he went 6-1 with a 2.55 ERA and 1.03 WHIP between Modesto and Clinton.

47. Nolan Hoffman, RHP
Age: 21
Highest Level: High-A
Completing the side arm trifecta is the 21-year-old Hoffman. Taken in the fifth round of last years draft, Hoffman split his time playing Rookie ball in Arizona and Everett, combining for a 2-3 record with a 2.16 ERA and 1.12 WHIP.

48. Joe DeCarlo, C
Age: 25
Highest Level: AA
DeCarlo is a former third baseman converted to the catcher in 2017. He has been developing defensively and continues to improve and looked solid as a hitter while competing in the Arizona Fall League. There is an opportunity with the Mariners in the catching department following the trade of Zunino. Let’s see if DeCarlo can continue to make the strides to get in that conversation.

49. Sam Delaplane, RHP
Age: 23
Highest Level: AAA
Another in a long list of relievers in the Mariners system, Delaplane had a solid 2018 with Clinton striking out 100 in 59.2 innings pitched.

50. Bobby Honeyman, 3B
Age: 22
Highest Level: High-A
Honeyman is a blue collar type player out of Massapequa, NY and is really fun to watch play baseball. He spent most of last season with Low-A Everett where he put together a solid .346/.383/.474 slash in 58 games.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

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