We are a little more than a month into the 2019 season, so it’s time to look and see what’s been happening in the Mariners minor league system. As you know, the Mariners overhauled their minor league system this off season with multiple trades of veteran players and receiving a plethora of young talent in return. Some of the compensation received has really shined and will be featured along with others that were already in the organization before GM Jerry Dipoto’s winter swap meet. Here are some ballplayer’s who have stood out in the first 5 weeks this season.
The number 3 overall prospect in my preseason top 50 has been on a tear after getting off to a slow start. Starting with the West Virginia Power’s first home game on April 11 he went on a 17 game hitting strike during which he was pounding the baseball. The key piece received in the Edwin Diaz/Robinson Cano trade has gotten many in the organization and fan base excited for the future. Through May 10 he has produced a .331/.424/.597 slash line with 6 home runs and 13 doubles.
Another player received in the Kelenic trade with the Mets, the right hander has put together some nice outings including his most impressive performance on May 2nd against the Frisco Rough Riders. Coming into the season the biggest concern with Dunn was his command. In three of his five starts this year he has walked one batter twice and no batters in the other. His strikeout to walk ratio sits at 38/9 to go along with a 2-2 record, 4.28 ERA and 1.28 WHIP.
Last year’s overall number one pick was dominating in four appearances with West Virginia earning him an early season promotion to High-A Modesto. Gilbert is throws hard showing the ability to hit 97 MPH and has demonstrated excellent command. In his four starts with the Power he had 30 K’s with only 5 walks in 19.2 innings to go along with a 1.83 ERA, 0.71 WHIP and .134 average against.
Thompson-Williams has had a terrific start to his AA career slashing .324/.411/.543 with 5 home runs in 30 games. Acquired as the third piece in the James Paxton trade, the left handed hitter has been building on his strong 2018 campaign he could force himself into the conversation as a late season call up if he keeps up what he has done in the first month of the season.
The right hander has certainly raised his profile with the Modesto Nuts in 2019 winning the California League Player of the month with his impressive April. With 59 strikeouts in 39.2 innings pitched he leads minor league baseball in both categories. His 2019 is a stark contrast to his 2018 campaign and he will be a player to keep an eye on going forward.
The 23-year-old outfielder who was acquired in the Mike Zunino/Mallex Smith trade has made a strong first month impression with the organization. Last week he had his first multi home run game of his minor league career as he continues his torrid start producing a .313/.394/.527 slash to go along with 5 doubles, 2 triples, 5 home runs and 8 stolen bases. He’s also continued to show strong defensive skills manning center field for the Travelers.
The 24-year-old right handed reliever has a deceptive delivery and strong command. He has struck out 41 in 20.1 innings pitched with a 1.59 average against and 1.03 WHIP. A 23rd round pick in 2017, he will be someone to keep an eye on.
PROSPECTS IN THE MAJORS
In addition to the notable prospects above there are a few of my preseason top 50 prospects that generated some buzz with the major league club.
After starting just one game with AAA Tacoma, the right hander received his MLB promotion and got his first start on April 17 where he went 6 innings giving up only 2 hits and one run against the Indians. After a couple of rough outings he got his first major league win also against Cleveland where he went 6 innings and gave up only one hit and no runs in a Mariners rout.
The center fielder broke camp with the Mariners and was on the roster for the season opener in Japan. Returning from overseas he was called up again at the end of April and got his first major league hit on May 5th. Before the call up he was having a solid year in Tacoma where he was playing everyday. Since the call up he has been in the lineup sparingly. At this point, it probably makes sense to send him back down so he can continue to develop and hone his skills.
Listed as my 29th overall preseason prospect, Moore has been a solid utility player with the big club filling in for defensive and base running purposes while getting some starts while playing 2B, SS and 3B. So far he has a .229/.339/.417 campaign with 2 HR in 48 at bats through May 10.