Seattle Mariners: Herb’s look at Arkansas Travelers

PEORIA, ARIZONA - MARCH 21: Justin Dunn #62 of the Seattle Mariners delivers a first inning pitch during a spring training game against the Cincinnati Reds at Peoria Stadium on March 21, 2019 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
PEORIA, ARIZONA - MARCH 21: Justin Dunn #62 of the Seattle Mariners delivers a first inning pitch during a spring training game against the Cincinnati Reds at Peoria Stadium on March 21, 2019 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

The Seattle Mariners have nine of their top 30 prospects including four of the top ten who are playing for the Arkansas Travelers this season. We will look at every prospect in Double-A ball.

The Arkansas Travelers the double-A affiliate of the Mariners had a fantastic first half of the season winning the Texas League North with a record of 43-25. They haven’t slowed down being in first place in the second half of the season with a record of 14-7 going into this weekend.

Justin Dunn the Mariners #2 overall prospect and the top pitching prospect is having a fine season with the Travelers. The Mariners acquired Dunn from the New York Mets where they sent second baseman Robinson Cano and closer Edwin Diaz too. Both Cano and Diaz are having poor seasons so right now it looks like the Mariners have won this trade easily.

Even the day the trade was made after last season it looked pretty good for the Mariners. Though Diaz had one of the best ever season’s by closer the Mariners farm system became a lot better. Last year the Mariners had what was considered one of the worst in baseball.

Dunn along with #5 prospect first baseman Evan White who is playing for the Travelers both played in future’s game in Cleveland on Sunday to begin the all-star festivities. Dunn has started 15 games for the Travelers throwing 75 ⅓ innings striking out 96 batters while walking only 23 batters. He has a 3.82 ERA.

The Mariners will likely recall Dunn in September when the rosters are expanded. Next season he could be in the Mariners rotation if they feel he is ready. In college, Dunn pitched in the bullpen so the Mariners could send him back there too if they feel he would be more valuable in the closer role like Edwin Diaz.

Justus Sheffield who began the year as the number one prospect in the Mariners system started the season in triple-A Tacoma, however, he struggled so badly he was sent down to Arkansas on June 5. Since being down with the Travelers he has pitched very well having an ERA of 1.36 in five starts. The Mariner is hoping this will get him back on the right track.

Wyatt Mills the Mariners #17 prospect a native of Washington state who pitched at Gonzaga is the highest rated reliever on the farm. He was drafted in the third round by the Mariners in 2017. This is his first full season at Double-A ball.

Depending on how he continues pitching the Mariners may give him a shot next year in Seattle or have him start off in Triple-A Tacoma. Mills has pitched in 25 games with four saves and an ERA of 3.93.

Joey Gerber another reliever ranked #19 was drafted in the 8th round by the Mariners last year is working his way fast in the farm system. He started the season at high-A Modesto then was promoted to Arkansas on June 25.

He has only pitched in three games giving up one hit and no runs. At this point, it’s hard to know how he will do at double-A but certainly gotten off to a good start. I expect the Mariners will start him next season at double-A but could make himself move up to Tacoma or Seattle in a hurry.

Art Warren right now the #20 rated prospect in the Mariners system and number three among relievers. He has a fastball that runs up to 99 mph however he has had problems staying healthy. He spent much of 2018 on the injured list as well as missing time in 2019. He missed all of May being activated on June 8.

Since being back he has dominated Double-A ball. He has given up four hits in nine games only giving up one run with five saves. Wouldn’t be surprised if he moves up to triple-A Tacoma in a little while. He can stay healthy we will see him in Seattle in September and full-time next year.

In regards to pitching left-hander, Ricardo Sanchez a starter the Mariners acquired from the Atlanta Braves. He is 22 years of age; his first year in double A-ball. He is rated right now as the Mariners #24 prospect.

He has an ERA of 3.75. The Mariners are keeping him at pitching just over five innings per game as he has pitched 93 innings in 17 starts. His fastball is between 91 and 95 mph while his best off-speed pitch is the curveball. Also,  he is working on his changeup as well. We may see him in Seattle by 2022 if he is able to stay healthy.

When it comes to the infield Evan White is the Mariners top prospect at #5. As I stated earlier he was in the future’s game along with Justin Dunn. He is known as one of the top defensive first basemen in all of baseball, including the major leagues.

White started out slow like he has since he became a professional after being drafted by the Mariners in the first round in 2017. He has hit solid the last three weeks with his average staying around .298.

He isn’t known as a power hitter like many first basemen as he has 11 right now on the season. He does equal the same amount of home runs he had last year in high-level Modesto in half amount of innings. Being only 23 years of age his power numbers probably will go up.

Donnie Walton is a second baseman having a fine season for the Travelers. He is the Mariners #28 prospect, however, was drafted in the fifth round by Seattle in 2016.

Walton seems like one of the guys getting off to a slow start; now in his first full season at Arkansas after slipping time in between Modesto and Arkansas last year. He is hitting .308 with 8 home runs and 35 RBI’s. Last year splitting his time between high-Single A and double-A he had only four home runs. We could see him in Seattle by 2021 as a utility player.

Outfielders #7 Kyle Lewis and #15 Dom Thompson-Williams are both players who might move up to Tacoma next season than up to Seattle in 2021. Lewis was drafted by the Mariners in the first round in 2016 but because of injuries hasn’t had a full season until this year.

Last year between Modesto and Arkansas he played in 86 games for an average of .244. This year playing a full season at Arkansas he is hitting .259. The Mariners are hoping he can make it still to Seattle by 2021when he will be 25. He will probably in Tacoma next year. Lewis has the talent but the question will he ever find it.

Thompson-Williams the Mariners acquired after last season when they traded James Paxton to the New York Yankees. Many considered him a throw-in with picking up pitchers Justus Sheffield and Erik Swanson.

Thompson-Williams got off to a great start in April and May he looked like the best part of the trade for Paxton; however, he hasn’t done very since. In July, he is hitting .150 striking out 19 times almost half of his at-bats.

The Mariners are hoping he will recover and start hitting as he did early on. If not, they could send him down to Modesto, or he may have to start next season again Arkansas. Often double-A will make or break a player.

All the rest of the pitchers and position players for Arkansas will have a hard time moving on, however, there is always a chance they could. We will look later to see how they will do.

Right now it looks as though only ten at the most on Arkansas  Travelers will move up to triple-A Tacoma next season. Justin Dunn, Justus Sheffield, and Evan White are likely the only ones we could see in Seattle when next season starts while a few others we could see later in the season all depending on their continuing progress.

Read. Seattle Mariners: Herb’s look at the Tacoma Rainiers. light

General manager Jerry Dipoto has said all along no one will be up with the big club until they are ready to go; it doesn’t matter whether the number one prospect or not on the prospect list at all. We wish the best for all these guys. Not only the ones we hope will make it but those not expected to make it. Go M’s.