We are continuing our countdown of the top 40 Seattle Mariners prospects and we are now at the group of prospects who just missed our top 10 and could be there this as soon as this month depending on graduations.
Now is the time for our standard disclaimer. These are not expert ranks. They are just our opinions of Mariners prospects we are most excited about. We used stats, scouting reports, grainy MILB footage, and second-hand accounts to formulate opinions.
The difference between number 17 and 11 could be next to nothing. So saying a player is 15th could just as easily be 9th is fair. Again, these are just our opinions. With that in mind, let’s get started.
15. Braden Bishop
Braden Bishop is perhaps the most popular prospect in the Mariners system outside of the Top 10, largely thanks to his off-the-field charitable foundation. But after a breakout spring training, he earned his way onto the 28-man roster on the Opening Day trip to Japan.
Bishop was quickly shipped back down to AAA Tacoma but continued to hit at the level. He would be called up two more times, playing sparringly before he was hit by a pitch in Tacoma one day before he was called up to Seattle.
After battling neck pain, it was revealed that Bishop had lacerated his spleen, causing him to miss most of the season for the second consecutive year. Bishop is now back with the Mariners and should get a long look this month.
There isn’t much home run power, but there is enough to work with regarding the hit tool to give him a chance to play every day. All Bishop needs to be is an average hitter to be a valuable asset to a good team.
Bishop is a premier defender in center field and a plus base-runner as well. The floor may be as a fourth outfielder and an easy comp of Kevin Pillar could be laid on Bishop. He should get plenty of chances for Bishop this September.
14. Sam Carlson
Perhaps the pitching prospect with the highest upside in the whole system, Carlson’s pro career was derailed early by an unfortunate Tommy John Surgery. The second-round pick of the 2017 draft, Carlson was one of the steals of that draft.
As a prep arm, Carlson already showed 3 above-average pitches that all flashed plus at times. The fastball sat in the low 90’s and hit 97 MPH with good movement. Both the slider and changeup were good pitches and he had the exceptional command for a prep arm.
The big question is now about how Carlson will return from Tommy John. The command is often the last thing to come and Carlson will need at least a year to get back on MLB trajectory. If the rehab goes well, he could see Everett or possibly West Virginia at some point next season.
13. Cal Raleigh
I’ll go out on a limb and say this will be our most controversial rank. But remember, the margin between number 13 and number 7 or 8 is small. It’s really all about taste. And Cal Raleigh is a really good prospect.
Raleigh has greatly improved his defense behind the dish this season. He is solidly average at blocking and receiving the ball and an average catch-and-throw grade. The power is the best tool, showing plus in both batting practice and in-game from both sides of the plate.
Raleigh also earns high praise for his leadership skills and his intangibles and has received excellent reviews from pitchers he has worked with. A rare college catcher who got to call his own game, Raleigh is still ahead of the curve in that area.
The ceiling on Raleigh is still a bat-first catcher, but the defense has made enough strides that he won’t kill you. He is already better than Omar Narvaez and should be a solid regular overall.
Raleigh will likely begin 2020 in AA Arkansas and should debut in 2020 with a chance to stick with the Mariners as soon as 2021.
12. Isaiah Campbell
Isaiah Campbell, the player selected with the pick acquired in the Edwin Encarnacion trade, was one of the best values on Day 1 of the MLB Draft. The RHP parlayed his great career for the Arkansas Razorbacks into a second-round selection and the 12th highest rated prospect on our list.
Campbell’s repertoire includes a fastball that sits 91-95 MPH and has flirted with the triple digits in shorter outings. He backs it up with an above-average slider, a promising split-changeup, and a curveball that is currently just a “get me over” offering.
Campbell is a good athlete, who repeats well and should see the above-average command eventually. He has a chance to be a middle-of-the-rotation arm or a high-leverage, 3-pitch reliever, going forward.
Campbell will start 2020 in West Virginia with George Kirby after sitting out this summer thanks to a heavy workload in college this summer. The Mariners took the same approach with Logan Gilbert with good results. As a reliever, Campbell could see the big leagues early in 2021. But the Mariners will (and should) give him every opportunity to make it as a starter.
11. Noelvi Marte
Perhaps the prospect with the most helium in the system is Noelvi Marte is seemingly following the same path as super prospect Julio Rodriguez. Both players crushed it in the Dominican Summer League and will likely tackle stateside ball as 18-year-olds.
But that is where the comparisons stop. Marte isn’t near the hitting prospect that Rodriguez is but still shows the potential to hit for above-average power with a solid average and on-base skills. Marte is a burner, boasting 70-grade speed (20-80) and he has a chance to stick at shortstop.
He struggled defensively in the DSL, committing a ton of errors. But his hands are soft enough and most of the errors are of the throwing variety, which is easier to fix than other issues. He has a strong arm, which could help him if he grows off of shortstop.
Centerfield may be the ultimate home for Marte. He is a more than good enough athlete to handle the position and his hit and power tools would give him the tools to be an above-average starter there by 2023.
Seattle should give Marte a shot a shortstop, and the 18-year-old may start the year in West Virginia, but a stay at extended spring training could be in the cards as well.