The Mariners minor league affiliates are wrapping up their regular seasons but their development never stops. Neither does our constant shuffling our prospect ranks, so let’s continue our countdown.
We continue to march towards our top 20 Mariners prospects with the final group who just missed the top 20. As a reminder, our ranks are subjective and should, in no way, be considered “expert” ranks.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We all have different criteria for how we judge prospects and the two of us who collabed on this list are no different. So sit back, relax, and enjoy our rankings of the final group of prospects just outside of the top 20.
25. Sam Delaplane
Sam Delaplane is a name that people who closely follow the minor leagues should know. If you are unfamiliar with this right-handed reliever, you may want to start paying attention. You see, Delaplane strikes guys out. A lot of guys.
Last season in A-ball Clinton, he racked up 100 strikeouts in 59.2 pitched while posting a 1.96 ERA. It seemed unlikely he could outdo himself in 2019 until he did just that. Thus far, Delaplane has racked up 114 strikeouts in 43 appearances, spanning a total of 65.1 innings pitched.
The funny thing is, Delaplane isn’t your prototypical idea of a strikeout reliever. He doesn’t throw a 100 mph heater with a wipeout slider like Edwin Diaz, Aroldis Chapman, or Josh Hader. In fact, Delaplane throws a low 90’s running fastball.
The curveball has similar spin rates to Max Scherzer, putting it in the upper tier of big-league offerings, but not anywhere near elite status. Delaplane’s straight over the top arm action creates deception, aiding in his above-average stuff in collecting strikeouts.
He probably isn’t a closer at the MLB level but should have no issue handling a back of the pen role if he can translate his AA dominance to the big leagues.
24. Joe Rizzo
The second draft pick made in the Jerry Dipoto era, Joe Rizzo was selected as an advanced prep bat with no real position to play entering pro ball. The start of Rizzo’s young career was a bit of a disappointment and 2019 was an important year for the 21-year-old infielder who was set to repeat High-A for the second consecutive season.
And perhaps for the first time in his career, Rizzo looked like the hitter the Mariners thought he could be for more than a few weeks. Currently, Rizzo is hitting .294/.352/.428 in Modesto, with 10 home runs and 29 doubles in 486 ABs.
The hit tool is still the carrying tool for Rizzo, who is still without a defined home defensively. Ideally, Rizzo is best suited for second base but he may lack the lateral quickness to play there. Most of his games have been played at third, but he is decidedly below-average at the position.
Rizzo has also started playing a lot of first base, but he lacks the offensive profile to stay there full time. Seattle will likely start him in AA Arkansas next season, where a repeat of this season could land Rizzo higher on our list this time next year.
23. Carter Bins
I’m probably the high man on Carter Bins. I really like his profile. The 11th round pick of the 2019 draft, Bins is a bit of a rare asset coming out of the draft: a catcher who is MLB ready behind the plate who isn’t a lost cause in the batter’s box.
Coming out as one of the premier defensive catchers in college baseball, many viewed Bins as a relative lock to go somewhere in the first 5-7 rounds. The Mariners were able to snag him in the 11th and probably proceeded to do a happy dance.
A 55 receiver and blocker with a 60-grade arm isn’t anything to scoff at. He also shows average or better raw power and a good understanding of the strike zone and plate discipline. Whether or not he will make enough consistent contact to become a starter is yet to be seen, but the glove gives him a high floor of an MLB backup catcher.
Honestly, I see a lot of Tom Murphy in Bins’ game. If the Mariners can get the hit tool right, they could have a future everyday catcher in the next 3 years.
Yes, I also really like Casetta-Stubbs. The 11th round pick of 2018’s draft, Casetta-Stubbs (or DCS) is wrapping up his first full season of pro ball with some pretty solid results. At just 19-years-old, DCS has competed at 3 different levels, flashing Major League stuff and maturity.
He has crossed over the 100 innings pitched mark and handled himself well in his first season as a pro. The stuff is solid with room to grow, including a sinking fastball that sits in the low 90’s and has been clocked as high as 97 at times.
Perhaps the ceiling for DCS is Tanner Roark, a solid #4 starter who can look like a #3 for extended stretches. He will likely begin 2020 in West Virginia, but a quick promotion to Modesto would not be out of the question.
Casetta-Stubbs is exactly the type of profile we could be looking at in 2 years as a Top 10 prospect in a good farm system. Keep an eye on this young man.
21. Austin Shenton
Finally, the 5th round pick of the 2019 draft makes his first appearance on our prospect list, rounding out the first half of our ranks. Austin Shenton, a third baseman from Florida International, actually played his prep ball in Bellingham, so there is a bit of a local connection there.
But most importantly, Shenton is starting to look like a steal in the 5th round. The left-handed-hitting third baseman has already begun to turn heads in his first taste of pro ball and very well could find his way into our Top 10 prospects in the next calendar year.
After dominating the Northwest League, Shenton was promoted to A-ball West Virginia where the 21-year-old held his own before hitting the IL. In his 53 game debut, Shenton showed above-average abilities to find the barrel, hit for power, and take his walks, to the tune of a .298/.376/.510 slash line.
The questions surrounding Shenton are mostly defensively. He is below-average at third, but some scouts believe he can handle the position with a little better instruction. A move to second base or a corner outfield spot may not be out of the question either.
Jason Churchill, formerly of ESPN and now of Prospect Insider and Hero Sports, slaps a Mike Moustakas comp as a ceiling, while I still see a lot of Kyle Seager in this profile. If he hits either projection as a 5th round pick, it will go down as one of Dipoto’s best.
I am a big fan of Shenton, and a year ago, he would have been locked into the top 10 of Mariners prospects. But as you can see, things change quickly, and we will talk about all that next time on our Top 40 Mariners prospect series.