The Graveyard of Potential Prospects
Mar 19, 2012; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners designated hitterJesus Montero
(63) is congratulated by first basemanJustin Smoak
(left) after hitting a two-run homerun during the third inning against the Chicago Cubs at Peoria Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE
Since 2009 we have watched and hoped for potential prospects to blossom or signed older guys to see if they still had some glimmer of talent left. Here is a list for you to reminisce, wonder, and scream about as we reflect on the future.
Franklin Gutierrez-Injuries have limited this star from shining.
Eric Thames-Young, strong guy with potential but a strikeout machine at present.
Milton Bradley-A mentally ill, troubled man who could no longer play.
Ryan Langerhaus-He had some physical tools but couldn’t hit.
Greg Halman-Could he have been the right-handed bat we needed? Sad story.
Casper Wells-Great arm, good speed, excellent range and some power but his audition this year has not gone well. What is his future in Seattle?
Carlos Peguero-huge man with surprising speed and enormous power who seems incapable of learning the strike zone.
Ken Griffey, Jr.-Gave us one good year at the end.
Endy Chavez-He was having a great start in left until he ran into Betancourt and ruined his knee.
Michael Saunders–At one time thought to be the number one or two top prospect. He was almost forgotten after failing at the dish until this year when Guti’s injuries opened up another opportunity. He has had a decent year with flashes of brilliance. Can he or will he ever cut down on his strikeouts and become a more consistent hitter?
Bill Hall-An average fringe major league player who didn’t fit in Seattle.
Wladimir Balentein—He could never figure out major league pitching.
Eric Byrnes– He was once a hustling, fun player to watch but never performed well in Seattle.
Trayvon Robinson-He has great range (in left), and is a switch-hitter, but his weak arm and strikeouts limit his future as a Mariner.
Russel Branyan-He did hit 30+ homers one year.
Mike Sweeney-Was one of the few older player signings that worked out well. He performed well at the end of his career.
Jack Cust—He never hit for the Mariners but sure could walk
Wily Jo Pena-His incredible power led to many “oohs” and “ahhs” in batting practice but was rarely seen in real games.
Mike Carp-He is still young and back at first after the left field experiment. Can he hit consistently and with power? Only an average defender. Injuries this year have made his future in Seattle hard to pinpoint.
Casey Kotchman– one of the all-time great defenders who didn’t hit a lick here.
Justin Smoak—He was supposed to be a key part of the future of the franchise until he proved over and over again that he cannot hit an off-speed pitch.
Russell Branyan– better DH than first baseman
Adam Kennedy-He had a good first half of a season but was never a part of the future.
Dustin Ackley—He was supposed to hit for a high average but is hovering around the .230 mark this year which makes one wonder. Never, ever thought he would strikeout so often. Needs to learn to hit an outside pitch or he will be gone.
Ronny Cedeno– didn’t do much in Seattle
Jack Wilson—Once a great defender in his early years with Pittsburgh who could even hit a little. He didn’t have much left when he got to Seattle.
Brendan Ryan—A dazzling fielder, with a fiery attitude and some speed who has become completely lost at the plate.
Munenori Kawasaki-A fun bench player who has made zero errors this year and acts like he is in love with the game.
Carlos Triunfel—He is still only 22 and man does he have an arm! Can he hit at all? Questions surround this young man.
Alex Liddi—He would be the ideal guy to play third if he could hit more consistently. He did not do much with his chances this year. Will he get another opportunity?
Chone Figgins—What in the heck happened to this guy? He was once a premier player for the Angels and has been a complete dud with Seattle.
Kyle Seager—The most pleasant and biggest surprise of the last five years or so for the Mariners. A good fielder, who can hit. The only prospect who has become a legitimate player.
Matt Mangini—He had potential but could not hit.
Matt Tuiasosopo-I loved and rooted for this Seattle native son but he could never figure out how to hit.
Chris Woodward—Didn’t fit in here.
Jack Hannahan—decent major league player who is still playing for Cleveland but he was not good enough to be part of the future.
Adam Moore-another guy that was cursed by injuries
Rob Johnson—young kid who was given a chance but couldn’t hit.
Miguel Olivo– A stop-gap, hustling player who was at least somewhat better than the Johnson/Moore experiment. ( I used the past tense on purpose.)
Chris Gimenez– A decent defender with no bat.
Jamie Bard—An older guy at the end of his career who had some minor value for a bit.
Jesus Montero—He is not a major league caliber defender and will likely never be. He is better suited as a DH. Make him sleep in Edgar’s Martinez’s basement until he can learn how to hit an outside curveball.
John Jaso—Seattle’s only hitter with a reasonable on-base percentage and average. His disciplined approach to each at-bat has been a thrill to watch this year. He is a better than advertised defender and game manager but has a weak arm.
I would list the pitchers who have had auditions also but after I typed in Carlos Silva, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Washburn, Feierabend and Ian Snell, I involuntarily stumbled over to the liquor cabinet and hid all the dull knives.
The Mariners have had more auditions than a low budget off-Broadway play. After almost four years of these tryouts what are the results? I will leave that reflection and answer to my fellow fans.