Seattle Mariners 2020 Top 50 Prospects

Jarred Kelenic. Photo credit - Gail Verderico, @1baseballchick on Twitter

The Seattle Mariners currently have the longest playoff drought of any team in the four major professional sports leagues. In addition, they are the only franchise to never make an appearance in the World Series. The 2020 and 2021 prospect graduating classes are hoping to play a part in changing both of those situations. Just check out these two tweets and who they’re from, both quoting the same Bleacher Report comment/tweet.

The continued progression of Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez has given some much needed optimism to baseball fans in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to these two outfielders, the future M’s rotation will look to get a big boost in the next couple of years with talented arms including Logan Gilbert, George Kirby and Justin Dunn not far from making an impact in Seattle. Kirby, last years top pick for the Mariners, was the first of five starting pitchers drafted before they picked a position player in the fifth round in the 2019 MLB draft.

The organization has also continued to be active with international free agents, signing George Feliz and Kristian Cardozo in 2019 who join prior signees Rodriguez, Noelvi Marte, Jonatan Clase and Milkar Perez. Between trades, the draft and free agent signings the Mariners system has been boosted dramatically. The continued development from these moves will make the determination of whether the playoff and World Series drought are ended in the 2020’s. Now having said all that, let’s get to my Mariners Top 50 prospects for 2020.


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. Jarred Kelenic, OF
Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: AA

Kelenic came into the organization after being the primary face of a trade which sent Eddie Diaz and Robinson Cano and far exceeded expectations in year one. He was on fire instantly upon debuting in West Virginia, was promoted after 50 games, picked up where he left off in Modesto earning promotion number two in 46 games and continued to show his prowess at the plate with AA Arkansas. In the middle of all of this, he was one of three Mariner prospects to earn a spot in the Futures Game and also represented them in the Arizona Fall League. He has a five tool profile and has fans in Seattle salivating (at least those that haven’t given up all hope) at the potential impact he can have on the franchise. He figures to make a strong push for a call up before the 2020 season is over.

2. Julio Rodriguez, OF
Age: 18
2019 Highest Level: High-A

Photo credit – Gail Verderico (@1baseballchick)

Rodriguez also exceeded expectations in the 2019 campaign, where he also earned a quick promotion from West Virginia to Modesto after 67 games. In 17 games with the Nuts he produced a ridiculous .462/.514/.738 slash line while showing outstanding arm strength from the outfield. He continued to impress in the Arizona Fall League before being shut down for the final week with a minor back injury. Look for JRod to continue progress in 2020 and eventually form two thirds of the Mariners outfield along with Kelenic at some point in 2021.

3. Logan Gilbert, RHP
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: AA

The promotion trend continues with hard throwing right hander Logan Gilbert, who was the team’s first round selection in the 2018 draft. He also went from West Virginia to Modesto to Arkansas while going 10-5 with a 2.13 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 26 starts between his three stops while striking out 165 in 135 innings pitched. There was concern after his velocity dropped towards the end of his last college season with Stetson. However, that concern was alleviated in his first minor league season. The top pitching prospect in the organization is also going to push for a late season promotion in 2020 with the M’s.


Tier 2

4. Evan White, 1B
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: AAA

White is known for his tremendous defensive acumen, but rest assured that is not all he can do. He has proven he can produce at the plate as well producing a .293/.350/.488 slash line while hitting 18 home runs for AA Arkansas in 2019. The club thinks highly enough of him to give a six year $24 million dollar contract in the off season with option years through 2028. It’s possible White breaks camp with the big club but I would think a mid season call up is the more likely scenario.

5. George Kirby, RHP
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: Short Season-A

The Mariners selected Kirby with their first pick in the 2019 draft and he pitched in nine games for short season Everett last year. He has a four pitch arsenal with great command. In 23 innings he had 25 strikeouts, demonstrated power and his curveball, slider and changeup are all above average as well. Look for him to follow a similar path to that of fellow right hander Gilbert and earn a promotion or two in 2020.

6. Justin Dunn, RHP
Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: MLB

Dunn made his MLB debut in September where the M’s used him as an opener in four starts. He will be given the opportunity to make the club out of spring training as either a backend rotation piece or pitching out of the bullpen. He has demonstrated power and has a wicked slider and has been showing steady progression since being acquired last year from the Mets. If he can develop a strong third pitch he will likely be a starter, if that doesn’t happen expect is future to be in the bullpen.

7. Justus Sheffield, LHP
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: MLB

2019 was a roller coaster year for the young left hander. He started the year in the Pacific Coast League playing for AAA Tacoma and had a rough time. After that he was sent to AA Arkansas and reversed course impressing the organization with a 5-3 record with a .219 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. This earned him a promotion to Seattle where he showed had a couple of impressive games mixed in with some tough outings. The expectation for him in 2020 is to make the club out of spring training and hopefully stick in the rotation for his first full year.

8. Noelvi Marte, SS
Age: 18
2019 Highest Level: Rookie

Following the success of Julio Rodriquez the expectations for Marte are high. He impressed making his debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2019 showing raw power and speed. He is likely to start the year with Low-A West Virginia. He is the prospect I am most excited to follow in 2020.

9. Kyle Lewis, OF
Age: 24
2019 Highest Level MLB

The former number one prospect was a September call up who showed some major power with the big club hitting six home runs in 18 games with a .268/.293/.592 slash line. The downside of his time in Seattle was his strikeout rate-he struck out 29 times in 71 plate appearances. He figures to make the roster out of spring and be given a chance to be an everyday player. If he is successful in reducing his strikeouts he has a chance to have a long career in MLB.


Tier 3

10. Cal Raleigh, C
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: AA

Photo credit – Gail Verderico (@1baseballchick)

Raleigh made great strides behind the plate with his framing skills and has been developing good relationships with the pitching staff. At the plate he has shown strong power but does need to work on lowering his strikeout rate. Last year he got off to a slow start with Modesto, came on strong and earned a promotion to AA Arkansas where he struggled at the plate. I would expect him to spend the full year at AA and continue to develop.

11. Jake Fraley, OF
Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: MLB

Acquired along with Mallex Smith in the Mike Zunino trade, Fraley excelled in the minors last year splitting his time between AA Arkansas and AAA Tacoma producing a combined .298/.365/.545 slash line with 19 home runs and 22 stolen bases. He received a September call up but struggled once he got up to Seattle. With a mix of mid range power and speed, he is an interesting player to watch. He will be in contention to make the roster out of spring training.

12. Brandon Williamson, LHP
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: Short Season-A

Last year’s second round selection in the MLB draft, Williamson debuted with Everett last season appearing in 10 games. The big lefty out of TCU had excellent strike out to walk ratios in college and in Everett. With the Aquasox he had an impressive 25 K’s in 15.1 innings while only walking 5. He has a four pitch arsenal and a fastball that reaches into the high 90’s

13. Juan Then, RHP
Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: Low-A

Just 19 years old, Then was solid in his second stint with the organization after being acquired from the Yankees for Edwin Encarnacion in June. He has three above average pitches and his fastball is hitting 94 MPH. He has a small frame and weighs a mere 155 pounds. As his body grows, his velocity should increase. He is a very intriguing prospect to watch develop over the next year or two.

14. Sam Carlson, RHP
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: Rookie

The former second round pick missed the 2018 & 2019 seasons following Tommy John surgery. Prior to his injury he had a three pitch arsenal and his fastball hit the mid 90’s. If he can remain healthy, his stock has the potential to rise substantially.

15. Isaiah Campbell, RHP
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: College

The right hander will make his minor league debut in 2020 after being drafted in the Competitive Balance round last year. Another pitcher with good command a terrific strikeout to walk ratio, I’m very intrigued to see him pitch this spring. He led the Razorbacks to the NCAA super regionals last year with a four pitch arsenal and a fastball that gets into the mid 90s.

16. Jonatan Clase, OF
Age: 17
2019 Highest Level: Rookie

Clase stands just 5’8 and weighs 150 pounds, but the youngster impressed many last year in The Dominican Summer League slashing .300/.434/.444 while stealing 31 bases in 63 games. He possesses a 70 plus speed grade, is highly energetic and is an extreme drive. He is on my list of top prospects to follow in 2020.

17. Braden Bishop, OF
Age: 26
2019 Highest Level: MLB

Bishop had a strong minor league season in 2019 and subsequently struggled at the plate once he reached the majors. He is a really good defensive outfielder and possesses plus speed on the base paths. He will be given the opportunity to make the club out of spring training but it is difficult seeing him being more than a reserve unless he is able to improve with the bat.

18. Joey Gerber, RHP
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: AA

The hard throwing right hander had an impressive 2019 season between High-A Modesto and AA Arkansas going 1-4 with a 2.59 ERA and 1.17 WHIP saving 8 games in 9 opportunities and striking out hitters in 48.2 innings pitched. He figures to push for an MLB promotion at some point during the 2020 season.

19. Dom Thompson-Williams, OF
Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: AA

Thompson-Williams numbers dropped in 2019 where he struggled mightily while batting at home in Arkansas which is a very pitcher friendly park. On the road, his numbers improved dramatically. He has solid mid range power and above average speed. The outfielder will turn 25 this year, which makes this upcoming season a make or break year for him.

20. Ljay Newsome, RHP
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: AAA

Photo credit – Gail Verderico (@1baseballchick)

The right hander had remarkable and unexpected 2019 season with a rise in velocity. Newsome struck out 169 in 155 innings while going 9-10 with a 3.54 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. He has excellent command and an above average slider. He figures to push for a shot at the M’s roster at some point during 2020.

21. Jake Scheiner, 3B
Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: High-A

Scheiner was drafted in the 4th round in 2017 by Philadelphia and was acquired in a trade for Jay Bruce last year. After a rough start in Clearwater, he bounced back with High-A Modesto in the California League. He possesses above average power and had a .271/.325/.503 slash after the trade. He should get a shot with AA Arkansas in 2020.

22. Austin Shenton, 3B
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: Low-A

After selecting 5 pitchers in last year’s draft, Shenton was the first position player by the Mariners in the fifth round of the draft. He is a local kid hailing from Bellingham, WA and had a strong start with Everett last year and was then promoted to Low-A West Virginia. Between the two stops he produced a .298/.376/.510 slash line with seven home runs in 53 games.

23. George Feliz, OF
Age: 17
2019 Highest Level: N/A

The teenager was signed as a international free agent for $900,000 and has drawn comparisons to Victor Robles. The five tool prospect should make his debut this year and will be very interesting to watch progress in 2020.

24. Sam Delaplane, RHP
Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: AAA

Delaplane is a reliever with really good control and command with a great chance to be in Seattle at some point in 2020. He dominated after his promotion to Arkansas going 3-1 with a 0.49 ERA and 0.59 WHIP in 25 appearances with the Travelers. Between High-A Modesto and AA Arkansas he struck out 120 in 68.2 innings using a fastball that gets into the mid 90s and a high spin slider.

25. Taylor Guilbeau, LHP
Age: 26
2019 Highest Level: MLB

Guilbeau was acquired from the Washington Nationals in the Hunter Strickland/Roenis Elias trade at the July 31st deadline. He made 17 appearances for the Mariners last year going 0-0 with a 3.65 ERA and 1.05 WHIP striking out 7 and walking 1 in 12.1 innings. I’m expecting him to be part of Seattle’s bullpen in 2020.

26. Milkar Perez, OF
Age: 18
2019 Highest Level: Rookie

The young third baseman made his debut in 2019 in the Dominican Summer League after signing in 2018 out of Nicaragua. He is a patient hitter with a power potential and was one of the best players on the DSL team. He will be fun to watch progress in 2020 and has a ton of upside potential.

27. Joe Rizzo, 3B
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: High-A

The young third baseman improved quite a bit in 2019 following a rough 2018 campaign. He produced with a .295/.354/.423 slash line showing glimpse of power while playing a full season with High-A Modesto. The 21 year old should get a chance to show what he can do with AA Arkansas in 2020.


Tier 4

28. Ricardo Sanchez, LHP
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: AA

The lefty was acquired from the Braves in 2018 and had an up and down season pitching for AA Arkansas. He possesses three above average pitches with his fastball topping out at 94 MPH. The 22 year old is on the 40 man roster and may get a shot with the big league club before 2020 finishes depending on his progression.

29. Art Warren, RHP
Age: 26
2019 Highest Level: MLB

The right hander made his MLB debut in September after a terrific year with AA Arkansas. With the Travelers he went 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP in 29 relief appearances. Once he was up with the M’s he looked sharp in 6 relief appearances and will have a chance to make the club coming out of spring training.

30. Aaron Fletcher, LHP
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: AA

Fletcher was acquired in the trade with Washington for Strickland and Elias. He was very effective in relief with Low-A Hagerstown and Advanced-A Potomac before being promoted to AA Harrisburg. After the trade he was assigned to AA Arkansas. Between all four stops he was 5-4 with a 2.09 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in 41 relief appearances. His fastball hits the mid 90s and he also can mix in an wicked slider and above average changeup. He has a decent chance to receive a call up towards the end of the 2020 campaign.

31. Raymond Kerr, LHP
Age: 25
2019 Highest Level: AAA

The hard throwing left hander spent most of the 2019 campaign with High-A Modesto where he was initially used as a starter. He found his groove after being converted to the bullpen and has the ability to hit triple digits on the radar gun. He is expected to start 2020 pitching for AA Arkansas.

32. Devin Sweet, RHP
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: High-A

The right hander was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2018 after pitching four years and North Carolina Central University. He is not a particularly hard thrower topping out in the low 90s with his fastball. His best pitch is his deceptive changeup. He pitched most of 2019 with Low-A West Virginia before earning a promotion to Modesto where he finished the year with three starts. Between both stops he went 8-5 with a 2.76 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and an amazing 152-27 strikeout/walk ratio. In addition, he pitched a four hit complete game in July.

33. Ian McKinney, LHP
Age: 25
2019 Highest Level: AA

Originally drafted by St. Louis in the fifth round of the 2013 draft, McKinney was released in 2018. The Mariners signed last March and tweaked his delivery. This resulted in a nice 2019 campaign where he went 13-5 with 168 strikeouts in 151.1 innings pitched in 28 starts between Modesto and Arkansas with 25 of them in High-A. He should get the opportunity to start in AA to see if he can build on his comeback campaign last year.

34. Damon Casetta-Stubbs, RHP
Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: High-A

The young right hander was drafted in the 11th round 2018 and earned the opportunity to pitch in three different levels in 2019. He throws hard and has reached the high 90s with his fastball and has an above average slider to go along with a couple of offspeed pitches. He figures to start 2020 out with High-A Modesto.

35. Adam Hill, RHP
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: Low-A

Hill was traded to the Mariners for Omar Narvaez in December. He was a Midwest League all star last year while pitching for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. He is 6’6” and hits 95 MPH with his fast ball and has an effective slider and changeup. Last year he had 109 strikeouts in 121.2 innings. He should start 2020 with Modesto.

36. Kristian Cardozo, RHP
Age: 17
2019 Highest Level: N/A

Originally reported to have signed with the Dodgers, the Mariners were able to sign the then 16 year old from Venezuela for $595,000. The young right hander has a three pitch arsenal with a fastball that hits the low 90s, a curveball and changeup. Cardozo figures to start his career in the Dominican Summer League in 2020.

37. Adam Macko, LHP
Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: Short Season-A

Just 19, the youngster has a three pitch arsenal with a fastball that hits 93 which likely rise as his body develops. The lefty was taken in the 7th round in last years draft after originally committing to Purdue. He was born in Slovakia and moved to Ireland and subsequently Ontario. In 2019, he started in the Arizona Rookie League and subsequently made one start with short season Everett. He figures to start 2020 in either Everett or West Virginia.

38. Donnie Walton, 2B
Age: 25
2019 Highest Level: MLB

Walton got a full season in at AA Arkansas before a September call up to Seattle. He had a nice .300/.390/.427 slash line with 11 home runs and 10 stolen bases at AA. He is likely to get a spring training invite and should receive a chance to make the club out of Spring Training. If he makes it, the Mariners could look to making him a utility player to increase his value off of the bench.

39. Gerson Bautista, RHP
Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: MLB

Though he has been playing professionally since 2014, the hard throwing right hander is just 24 years old. The last couple of seasons have been rough for Bautista as he has been hit hard in AAA and MLB for both the Mets and Mariners organization. Still, he has shown the ability to hit 100 MPH regularly with his fastball and has shown an above average slider and changeup. If he could improve his control, he’ll have a shot to stick in the majors.


Tier 5

40. Brayan Perez, LHP
Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: Short Season-A

The Mariners have been careful with the workload they have given Perez in his first two years with the organization. He pitched in the Dominican Summer League in 2018 and then split time between the Arizona Rookie League & Everett in 2019. He has three solid pitches with a fastball that currently sits in the low 90s. He pitched in 15 games last year with 8-2 record, 3.34 ERA and 1.31 WHIP while striking out 62 in 67.1 innings. 2020 should be his first full season and will likely start with Low-A West Virginia.

41. Penn Murfee, RHP
Age: 25
2019 Highest Level: AAA

The right hander was drafted in the 33rd round in 2018 and a had rough start to his career with short season Everett following the draft. 2019 was a completely different story where he spent most of the year with Modesto where he struck out 122 while only walking 23 in 102.2 innings pitched. His performance earned him a trip to the Arizona Fall League and was second in the league in strikeouts and fifth in ERA. Murfee came out of nowhere to put himself on the map in 2019 and it will be very interesting to see his progression this year.

42. Yohan Ramirez, RHP
Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: AA

The Mariners selected Ramirez in the Rule 5 draft in December. He is a hard thrower who tops out at 99 MPH. The biggest concern with him is his command. Last season he walked 74 in 106 innings pitched, while starting 15 out of 27 games. The M’s plan on using him as a reliever and they will be able to fix the issues he has had. They will need to see enough progress for him to break camp with the big club and remain with them all season or he will be sent back to the Houston organization.

43. Jack Anderson, RHP
Age: 25
2019 Highest Level: AA

The side arm right hander has been one of the most consistent pitchers in the organization since being drafted in 2016. He has good command and is effective out of the bullpen. In 41 games with Arkansas he was 4-2 with a 1.50 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. He should be given a shot to make the M’s roster this spring or challenge for a spot this summer.

44. Tim Elliott, RHP
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: Short Season-A

After a successful college career at Georgia, Elliott was drafted in the fourth round of last years draft and had a nice summer pitching with short season Everett. In 14 games he went 1-3 with a 3.86 ERA and 1.38 WHIP. His fastball is in the low 90s and he has nice changeup. He had 35 strikeouts and 13 walks in 30.1 innings.

45. Jake Haberer, RHP
Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: AAA

Haberer is a hard throwing right hander that hits the high 90s with his fastball but struggles with control. In 2019 he split his time between Modesto, Arkansas and Tacoma where he struck out 68 in 49.1 innings pitched but also walked 32. If the control issues are resolved, he could move up the list in a hurry.

46. Darren McCaughan, RHP
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: AAA

McCaughan excelled in AA with Arkansas this year earning the Texas League Pitcher of the year award. With the Travelers he went 7-5 with a 2.89 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. After he was promoted to Tacoma he was hit hard starting nine games for the Rainers.

47. Juan Querecuto, SS
Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: Rookie

Querecuto has struggled offensively in his first two years playing rookie ball in the Dominican and Arizona. He is above average defensively and is still a really raw prospect that will take more time to develop at the plate.

48. Bobby Honeyman, 3B
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: High-A

Drafted in the 29th round out of Stony Brook in 2018, Honeyman has exceeded expectations since his arrival. In 2019 he spent his time with West Virginia and had a .280/.339/.370 slash line and remarkably struck out only 65 times in 460 at bats.

49. Jose Caballero, 2B
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: High-A

The Mariners acquired Caballero from Arizona for Mike Leake. He is an average hitter but possesses plus speed stealing 33 bases this year playing in the Rookie League and California League.

50. Deivy Florido, RHP
Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: Low-A

Florido is a hard throwing right hander with above average control. He has some nice tools and just needs time to develop. He will be interesting to watch over the next couple of seasons. In 2019, he had 68 K’s and 20 walks in 99.2 innings pitched.




2 Comments

  1. If they are able to pitch in 2020 I am interested to see how Mike Limoncelli and Anthony Tomczak do this summer. They were high upside guys who were injured at the time of the 2019 draft.

  2. Limoncelli was under serious consideration to make the Top 50. Being that he underwent Tommy John surgery the same day he was drafted, shows how much the Mariners believe in his upside. I am very much looking forward to seeing how he looks after he recovers.

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