This group of Mariners prospects will have the hardest time to make to the major leagues. They may make it if some of the prospects ahead of them do not work out and their potential increases.
#26 Aaron Fletcher: left-handed reliever the Mariners acquired from the Washington Nationals for Hunter Strickland. Fletcher was drafted in the 14th round in 2018 by the Nationals. He might have been picked higher if he hadn’t had Tommy John surgery during his sophomore year of college in 2016.
Fletcher started the year in low-level A and finished double-A in 2019. The Mariners assigned him to double-A Arkansas when they acquired him. He has a chance to make the bullpen out of spring training.
In a good sign for him, the Mariners don’t have many lefty candidates. He may begin this coming season again in AA ball but we could see him in Seattle at some point during the season.
#27 Donnie Walton: switch-hitting infielder has spent a lot of time playing shortstop and second base in the Mariners farm system after being drafted in the fifth round in 2016. Walton doesn’t have the arm strength to play shortstop on a regular basis. Right now, his future looks like that of a utility player.
He had a solid season at double-A Arkansas in 2019 where he hit .300 with 11 home runs and 50 RBI. Though the Mariners have several players ahead of him to be the utility player, he will see if he can make the team in 2020. If he doesn’t make the team he will probably spend the season at AAA Tacoma. The Mariners thought enough of Walton to call him up in September to get a taste of the majors. Injuries to either JP Crawford or Shed Long could be his ticket to Seattle sometime during the season.
#28 Ljay Newsome: right-handed starting pitcher drafted in the 26th round out of high school in 2015. He made 19 starts in single-A Modesto before being promoted to double-A Arkansas where he made 9 starts.
Newsome had very good control, only walking 9 batters in one hundred innings at Modesto. He struck out 124 batters as well. Though he has been a starter he may be more of a long reliever or middle reliever in the big leagues. We wish him the best trying to move up with the trials he has gone through since being drafted in 2015.
#29 Austin Shenton: The third baseman is a local kid from Bellingham who was drafted out of college in the fifth round by the Mariners in 2019. He is a left-handed hitter who will make the majors primarily with his bat.
Shenton began his professional career in 2019 at rookie ball in Everett where he played 21 games batting .367 before being promoted to low-level A where he played 32 games under tougher competition batting .252. He will probably begin 2020 at low-level A or move up to high-level A depending on how things go in spring training.
Austin Shenton with a good start to his professional career at the age of 21 may end moving up the prospect list and find himself in Seattle in a few years as the heir apparent to Kyle Seager.
#30 Sam Delaplane: right-handed reliever might be at the bottom of the list for as prospects go since he was a 23rd round draft pick by the Mariners in 2017. He began the year in high-A ball but the Mariners promoted him to double-A Arkansas where he pitched in 25 games with an unbelievable ERA of 0.49 with 58 strikeouts.
He is one that doesn’t allow the walks to get the best of him. He has been used a lot as a closer so in the long-term, he could end up the Mariner closer or at the very least a setup reliever. I am sure he will get to be seen a lot in spring training by the Mariner brass. So remember that name you could see him in a Mariner uniform this season.
So we have finished letting you know who the Mariner’s top 30 prospects are. We are hoping to see several of them in Seattle this year and more in 2021. The Mariner’s farm system now becoming one of the best in baseball will allow Jerry Dipoto to trade some prospects for needing help on the major league level. We will keep an eye on these guys and other prospects coming up. Go M’s.