26. Joe Rizzo, IF/OF
Finally, we reach our first bat of the list. Joe Rizzo was the second selection of the Jerry Dipoto era back in 2016 when the Mariners drafted Rizzo as a Virginia prep star in the second round. Since he was selected, Rizzo has yet to click as a professional bat.
Coming out of high school, Rizzo was one of the best prep bats in the draft. He posses good bat speed, plus hand-eye coordination, and good judgment of the strike zone. After a decent 2017 debut in Clinton, Rizzo was promoted to High-A Modesto, where he has struggled to hit his stride in 128 games.
The star has started to fade on Rizzo, but fans shouldn’t give up on the talented lefty. After all, Rizzo doesn’t turn 21 until the end of March and has been consistently 2-3 years younger than the average age of the league in which he has played.
The issue with Rizzo is that he needs to hit, because of his below-average speed and defense. 2019 will be an important year for Rizzo, who should start the year back in Modesto, or even back in A Ball West Virginia.
The Mariners will need to see some results that are reflective of these tools soon. But at 21-years-old, Rizzo is far from a bust. Rizzo still has all the skills to be a Seth Smith type of hitter, minus some power, and should be given time to reach his potential.
Scouting Grades- Hit: 50 Power: 45 Arm: 50 Field: 40 Run: 40 Probability: 2/5
There you have it, the first 5 names of our Top 30 Mariners prospect list. Relievers dominated this portion of the list, and there are a number of them left to come. The Mariners farm system is vastly improved, but still needs another draft class or two to fill out this portion of the farm system.
Next time, we will drop 25-21 on our list. Who will crack the top 25? Only time will tell.