The Cactus League season is underway and the Mariners young players are playing quite well. But we continue to move along, unveiling our Top 40 Mariners prospects 5 at a time.
Today, we continue our official countdown, revealing the next 5 prospects to crack our Top 40 list. As we move up the list, more or more names will be familiar to Mariners fans. These are exciting times, so let’s get to it.
But before we do, let’s review our process. First, the rankers consisted of 4 staff writers. All 4 writers produced a list of their top prospects. The average rank of each player is the spot they landed on our list. In this case, the lower the number, the higher the rank.
Our rankers were not given any criteria for their list. Different eyes see different things and unique minds value things differently than others. There are no cookie cutters for prospect scouting and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Also, take these ranks with a grain of salt. We do not get to see many of these players often and are relying on graining video, scouting reports, and statistics to cover our bases. If you want top-end prospect ranks, I suggest Keith Law of ESPN as well as Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel.
Without any further delay, let’s get started.
Aaron Fletcher, who was acquired from the Washington Nationals in the Hunter Strickland and Roenis Elias trade, lands as our best pure relief prospect in the system. Fletcher is a safe bet to stick in the big leagues for years, thanks to a combination of stuff and deception.
Fletcher features an above-average two-pitch mix, including a fastball that is up to 97 MPH and sits comfortably in the 92-94 range. He backs up the fastball with a good slider that flashes as a 65-grade pitch and can generate a lot of swings-and-misses, especially against lefties. Fletcher also changeup he throws on occasion, but it has little to offer in terms of value.
Fletcher can be a solid middle reliever right now but has another gear he can reach if he can improve his average command and tighten up the slider a touch against right-handed hitters. We have watched plenty of lefties with this combination become weapons out of the pen, and Fletcher has a shot to get there sooner rather than later.