It is that time of the year where the major MLB prospect publications are beginning to release their ranks of the game’s best prospects. Yesterday, Baseball America shared their opinion on the Mariners Top 10 prospects.
In the past, Mariners fans were forced to create largely false narratives to get excited about their weak Top Prospect lists and dream of that guy coming out of nowhere to save them. That is no longer the case.
GM Jerry Dipoto and Scouting Director Scott Hunter have done an excellent job of finding talent, and the player development side of the game has done an equally good job at turning it into legitimate MLB talent.
There are a few things that jump out when examining the Top 10 prospect list from Baseball America, and we will discuss a few of them. But first, we need to know exactly what the list looks like. So here it is:
- Julio Rodriguez
- Jarred Kelenic
- Evan White
- Logan Gilbert
- George Kirby
- Noelvi Marte
- Justus Sheffield
- Justin Dunn
- Brandon Williamson
- Kyle Lewis
I imagine for many fans, the first thing that jumps out is that Julio Rodriguez has leaped Kelenic in the ranks. Kelenic spent all of 2019 as the consensus top Mariners prospect and did absolutely nothing to lose that spot. Rodriguez simply took it from him.
The late-season surge by Rodriguez, first with A+ Modesto and then in the Arizona Fall League, has wowed scouts and his “weaknesses” are no longer seen as an issue. His speed grade, which MLB Pipeline gave a 45 grade (20-80 scale, 50 average), has been bumped a full grade and is now viewed as above-average, as is his glove.
Both Rodriguez and Kelenic could sit inside the Top 10 overall prospects in the game, something Mariners’ fans deemed laughable before the rebuild began.
Another surprising rank is Evan White at 3rd in the system. White, who inked a 6-year MLB deal and is the projected opening day first baseman, leaped consensus #3 prospect Logan Gilbert. Once again, this isn’t a case of Gilbert losing his rank so much as White taking it.
White had another productive season in 2019, despite missing some time early in the season. He is an elite glove, and since August of 2018, the power the Mariners always thought he has shown up. The bump in the ranks seems to indicate that Baseball America views White as having 55-grade power or better.
Noelvi Marte made a nice jump and could be on his way to a Julio Rodriguez type of year in 2020. Sheffield ahead of Dunn is interesting. Most fans seem to be much higher on Dunn than Sheffield, but both have work to do. Sheffield will get a shot to show he can stick into the rotation long-term and Dunn will have a shot to finish the year with Seattle.
Williamson, the second-round pick in 2019 and Kyle Lewis round out the Top 10. There appears to be a good chance the Mariners will end up with 5-6 members of BA Top 100 prospects, a fantastic sign for Seattle’s rebuild.
Perhaps most exciting for fans is that 6 of the Top 10 have a great chance to be on the field at T-Mobile Park in September. Brighter times are coming for Mariners fans. 2020 may be tough to stomach, but the payoff could be oh so sweet.