Unless you have been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you have heard that the Seattle Mariners have some of the best pitching prospects in baseball. Our organization is filled from top to bottom with pitching prospects that could become something special. Trading future ace (at the time) Michael Pineda is something most organizations would never even consider. But with guys like Hultzen, Walker and Paxton on the way it made Pineda expendable.
So much hype has gone to the pitchers in the Mariners system that it has three position players in High Desert saying, “Where is the Love?” I am assuming that most fans have never heard of guys like Stefen Romero, Jack Marder or Julio Morban. These three guys are flat out putting up numbers down in High Desert. While High Desert is known for inflating stats at an outrageous amount, you cannot deny what these guys are doing.
Romero is posting a .361/.391/.579 while hitting 9 homers and driving in 46 runs. Romero is doing the same thing that Catricala did last year, make people notice. It is easy for people to float through the minors and slowly move their way up till they finally get a shot with the big club. Romero is one of the rare guys who is forcing his hand on a possible middle of the year call up. For Romero, getting called up might require a move to the corner outfield spot because of the current depth at third base position in the organization. But if he keeps putting up numbers like this, he will give the organization no choice but to move him up multiple levels.
Jack Marder may be one of the most versatile players in the organization. In his first year at the University of Oregon he played the majority of time at first base and right field. But was asked to make the transition to catcher during his sophomore season and he has taken off every sense. Just like Romero, he is putting up stellar numbers in High Desert. With a line of .355/.405/.533 while hitting 4 dingers and driving in 28 runs. Marder is making huge progress behind the plate, he still has much to work on but he is improving everyday as he gains experience at the position. Drafting Zunino really killed his potential to be an everyday catcher for the big club. While he can obviously outplay Zunino and take over the job as the “catcher of the future.” Sadly for Marder that looks very unlikely because Zunino is just a flat out stud who is destined for success. You can never have enough catching depth though, and if he continues to improve he will find his way into the big’s one way or the other.
Julio Morban might be the most intriguing players in the Mariners farm system. He was an international signee in 2008, he was highly touted because of his high potential as an athletic outfielder who can hit for power. His career up to this year has been up and down. Morban has always showed glimpses of his potential, but injuries have hurt him the last two years. With that being said he is still only 20 years old and is putting together a year that will put him back on the map. His line to this point is .327/.371/.615 with 11 homers and 33 runs batted in. Striking out is his biggest issue right now and that is why his OBP is not very high. But, when he does make contact with the ball he is hitting it hard and far. Morban is a guy we need to keep an eye out for; he has potential that is off the charts, but still needs a lot of work.
These are all under the radar guys who are having a solid start to the year, it will be interesting to see if they can continue their success and make their way up the organization.