Seattle Mariners Prospect Trade Target List: AL Central
Ty’s pick: OF Will Benson
Acquisitions of Jesse Biddle, Marco Gonzales, and J.P. Crawford, amongst others, have made one thing clear: Jerry Dipoto isn’t afraid to take on former first-rounders that have failed to meet expectations. The strategy is simple, and one that relies heavily on the development processes of the Mariners’ organization in comparison to that of the player’s original team.
This has worked in Seattle’s favor on more than one occasion. With the Cleveland Indians still on a course to buy at this July’s deadline, another such opportunity may present itself to Dipoto and co. in the form of outfielder Will Benson.
Since being selected 14th overall by Cleveland in the 2016 MLB Draft, the 20-year-old Benson has struggled to adjust to the professional level. These struggles came to a head in 2018, where Benson slashed .180/.324/.370 in 123 games for Low-A Lake County. Benson did, however, put his above-average power on full display with 22 home runs in that season, but struck out at an enormous 30% clip while doing so.
In fact, Benson has yet to sit under the 30% mark in terms of strikeouts through his first two-and-a-half seasons in pro baseball. That hasn’t changed in 2019, as Benson currently sports a career-high strikeout percentage of 34.4% through his first 154 plate appearances.
What has changed, though, is Benson’s overall success on the stat sheet. Back in Low-A this year, he’s currently slashing .265/.351/.537 with nine home runs, 28 RBI, and a career-high 13 steals.
It’s that dual-threat of power and speed that should be appealing to Dipoto and his team. Still, there are some glaring issues in his plate approach and his aggressive swing may need to be altered for him to sustain success at higher levels, which the Mariners have had plenty of success with in the past.
Colby’s pick: RHP Lenny Torres
The Cleveland Indians are battling a slew of injuries and have fallen behind the red hot Minnesota Twins early in 2019. If this trend continues, expect Cleveland to hold onto their prospects and become sellers. But if they stay in the race, they do have needs they’ll have to address.
If Cleveland comes knocking on the door of Jerry Dipoto and the Mariners, I’d like to see them find a way to come out of these negotiations with RHP Lenny Torres. The 2018 Competitive Balance Round A draft pick, 41st overall, has great stuff and is just 19-years-old.
When healthy, Torres fastball sits 93-95 MPH with an easy delivery and can hit 98 on occasion. The slider is already an above-average pitch and flashes plus on more than a few occasions. With two pitches already plus, Torres has a high-floor of a high-leverage reliever. But he could be a #2 or #3 starter if his changeup continues to develop with his command.
The slight build leads some to believe he is destined for the bullpen and he already has one Tommy John Surgery to his record. But with his upside and high floor, he is a great target for Dipoto.