The Seattle Mariners farm system is in great shape and the people who get to rank them are beginning to take notice.
It wasn’t that long ago that the best prospect in the Mariners farm system had the upside of a 3rd outfielder who may be able to hit 7th in a decent lineup. But in just 3 years, GM Jerry Dipoto has flipped the system entirely upside down. A similar prospect in today’s farm system may rank outside the top 10 and the potential impact at the top is as good as it has been in 25 years.
One of these prospects, Evan White, is beginning to garner more attention as the winter moves ahead. Of course, when White signed his 6-year contract and was basically anointed the opening day starting first baseman, the prospects of him reaching the big leagues in 2020 became very real.
Now, MLB Pipeline, the prospect arm of MLB.com, has declared White to be the second-best first baseman in all the minor leagues, making him a near-lock to sit inside their Top 50 prospect ranks. But MLB Pipeline isn’t the only publication giving love to White.
Baseball America recently named White the 3rd best prospect in the Mariners system, jumping potential top of the rotation arm Logan Gilbert. Jim Bowden listed White as his 38th best prospect in all of baseball.
There have even been whispers of comparisons to Paul Goldschmidt or even Cody Bellinger. Now, these comparisons are largely based on White’s rare athleticism. Like Bellinger, White can easily handle the outfield but are a great defensive first baseman.
However, these comparisons hinge entirely on White’s in-game power tool, the biggest flaw in his profile. And while White’s in-game power has improved the past 15 months, there are still questions surrounding it that we won’t be able to answer until we see him against big-league arms.
But White will be a premier defender who can hit for average and run the bases well. That is the floor. And when you are talking about a versatile athlete whom you can bank on 3 valuable skills every day, that is going to garner attention.
Mariners fans will get to see a lot of White in 2020. If he truly possesses 30+ HR power, he could be a multi-year all-star. If not, he should be no worse than a 1.5-2 win player.