Pitchers and catchers have reported to Spring Training, which means it’s that time of year again.
The time to unveil our top-40 Seattle Mariners prospects for the new year. If this is your first time reading one of our lists, we do one every year at the top of Spring Training and a re-rank after the trade deadline. In the past, these lists have been determined solely by Colby and myself, but this year, we’ve gotten a little help from Colton Swanson and Herbert Nightingale. And, as always, any tiebreakers have been settled by our Twitter followers through polls.
Following a quiet offseason by Jerry Dipoto‘s standards, 34 of the players included in our post-deadline re-rank have made it over to this list. Two of the biggest names not being carried over are Shed Long, who graduated his prospect status in September, and Ricardo Sánchez, who was recently claimed off waivers by the St. Louis Cardinals.
Between the four individual lists created by Herb, Colton, Colby, and myself, 56 players in total were named. The final positioning for each player was determined by the average spot they placed when voted for. However, our official list will be condensed to 40 prospects, which means 16 others just missed the cut. Today, prior to diving into our final prospect rankings, we want to highlight a few of those 16 names some of us thought were deserving of making the list.
Jake Haberer finished 41st in our voting process despite averaging the 38th spot. This is kind of a make-or-break season for Haberer who’s now 25 with just 27.2 innings pitched in Double-A and beyond. The hard-throwing righty still struggles to find the zone consistently, finishing off the year with a rough 5.84 BB/9 across three minor league levels in 2019.
It’s still an easy upper 90s fastball with a plus slider, but the name of the game is location; Haberer has to overcome his command and control woes quickly. If so, he’s a name to keep an eye on to make a surprise impact at the Major League level this season.
For what Jack Anderson lacks in velocity he makes up in his ability to deceive opposing hitters with a funky submarine delivery. In Double-A last year, Anderson still managed nearly a strikeout per inning (8.50 K/9) and kept the ball on the ground at 62.6% clip. Some thought Anderson could have been selected in the Major League portion of this past December’s Rule 5 draft, but the 26-year-old remains with the Mariners and could see action in the Emerald City sooner rather than later.
Most of the focus has been put on outside additions when looking at the successful rebuild of the Mariners’ farm system, and for good reason, but their ability to raise the ceilings of several of their in-house products in such a short amount of time has been an exciting and unexpected development. Devin Sweet not only saw a significant increase in fastball velocity last season and also found some feel for his slider as the year progressed.
I’m certainly the high man on Sweet as I had him ranked 32nd in my list, with his second-best placement being 50th on Colby’s. I’ve become a big believer in Sweet, who struck out 152 batters and walked just 27 between West Virginia and Modesto. If there is a legit tertiary offering in the slider now, the 23-year-old could be a true back-of-the-rotation piece with a floor of a solid middle reliever.
It’s a cliché term, but it’s true in this instance: Donnie Walton is a ballplayer. There isn’t a tool of Walton’s that jumps off the page, but he’s as steady as they come. He’s a solid hitter with good contact skills, above-average discipline at the plate, and a propensity for getting on base. Defensively, Walton provides a sturdy enough glove in the middle of the infield, though he may need to broaden his positional horizons to fit within the Mariners’ plans.
Walton was decent in his cup of coffee in the bigs this past September, knocking in a couple of runs in his 19 plate appearances. Given the high volume of utility players the Mariners have vying for one or two spots this spring, however, Walton’s a long shot to break camp with the team. Still, he provides some solid depth in the event of an injury and should put up big offensive numbers in his first year in the PCL.
The other 12 prospects that were voted for and didn’t make the cut are, in order, LHP Ian McKinney, LHP Danny Chang, RHP Ty Adcock, RHP Penn Murfee, RHP Elvis Alvarado, RHP Gerson Bautista, RHP Josias De Los Santos, RHP Darren McCaughan, RHP Levi Stoudt, RHP Dutch Landis, OF Keegan McGovern, and LHP Blake Townsend.