After an off-season of waiting for Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto to trade away most of the names on this list, we are now prepared to release our Top 10 Prospect List. We begin our list with a newcomer from the Yankees Organization.
The Mariners, under Jerry Dipoto, have not been extremely active in the Rule 5 draft. This off-season, that changed. The Mariners selected a little known first baseman from the Yankees, former Princeton grad, Mike Ford.
Not surprisingly, Ford is a player Dipoto covets. In addition to his advanced age in the high minors, Ford has an excellent approach at the plate. In 126 games across AA and AAA, Ford slashed .270/.404/.471. Ford also slugged 20 homers and 24 doubles.
Perhaps most impressive, Ford walked 94 times, while only striking out 72 times. That’s right, a 94:72 K/BB ratio. Incredible!
Stats are great, but they only tell half the story. Tools are also an important factor in determining what type of prospect Ford is.
Obviously, Ford’s advanced approach at the plate is a massive plus for his hit tool grade. After all, it is difficult to call somebody a poor hitter when they have more career walks than strikeouts. Although it is unlikely Ford will ever stand out in any 1 offensive stat, the swing and approach should allow for him to hit with some average.
Ford might have more power than initially reported. It is not uncommon for a hitter with Ford’s plate discipline to develop power as he gets stronger, and it appears Ford falls into that camp. After slugging just 30 homers in his first 4 professional seasons, Ford set a career high with 20 big flies in 2017.
In all honesty, Ford profile is similar to that of Mariners farm hand Daniel Vogelbach. Both left-handed hitter with advanced approach and budding power, Vogelbach and Ford could be considered interchangeable on this list.
So why does Ford get the edge over Vogelbach? Simply put, Ford can play in the field, and there is no indication Vogelbach can. Vogelbach is slightly ahead of Ford at the plate, but Ford outpaces him in the field by a mile.
Although not a super athlete, Ford should be able to handle first base well enough to not hurt his team. The Mariners will likely let Ford play some left field, but his true home is at 1st base.
Mike Ford Scouting Grades (20-80 scale)- Hit: 55 Power:50 Arm:45 Speed:40 Fielding: 50 Overall: 50
In the end, it is Ford’s combination of feel for the zone and budding power that lands him in the Top 10 of our list. Ford will be given every opportunity to make the team. As a Rule 5 pick, Ford must be carried on the 25 man for at least 90 days, or returned to the Yankees. However, a trade to keep Ford is the most likely scenario.