Seattle Mariners: Six M’s land on FanGraphs’ top prospects list
By Ty Gonzalez
As the 2019 season grows closer, we’re starting to see a shift in mentality towards a Mariners farm system once thought of as the worst in baseball.
Today, FanGraphs have unveiled their top prospects list for the upcoming season. Instead of going the traditional route of a top 100 list, FanGraphs assigns a numbered rank to each player with a 50 future value grade or higher.
In this year’s case, FanGraphs’ list comes in at 132, and six of those spots belong to current Mariners prospects. Shed Long, Seattle’s most recent acquisition, checks in at the final spot on the list at #132, also earning recognition as the 11th best second base prospect in the game.
The Mariners’ highest ranked prospect comes in at #60 in the form of Justus Sheffield, confirming his place atop Seattle’s organizational ranks. Coming in behind him at #74 is newly-acquired Japanese import Yusei Kikuchi, by far the oldest prospect on the list at 27-years-old.
The final three M’s to make the cut were Jarred Kelenic (#84), Justin Dunn (#89), and Evan White (#90). Kelenic and Dunn, both acquired in December’s massive Robinson Canó and Edwin Díaz deal, were obvious choices going in, but White was the wild card after just missing the cut in MLB Pipeline’s top 100. Well-deserved recognition for arguably the best defensive first baseman in the Minors, who put it all together at the plate in 2018.
While this is a great statement about the quick turnaround Jerry Dipoto has made for his farm system this offseason, there are still others on the outside looking in who may find themselves on this list sooner rather than later. Julio Rodriguez was a surprise snub from this list, as the 17-year-old had worked his way up to a 45 future value grade by the end of the year. Kyle Lewis was also excluded, but has been on the list before and could wind up there again with a good start to 2019.
Still, this is a significant change in public perception of the Mariners’ farm system, and exciting news for fans both skeptical and hopeful for the near future.