Mariners farm system could be reason for 2021 playoff expectations

The Seattle Mariners exceeded expectations in 2020. Seattle’s farm system is so loaded that 2021 might be a playoff year for the M’s.

It used to be that the Mariners had some good major league talent, like Robinson Cano, but not much in the minor leagues. Most Mariners fans probably understood that once the players on the big league roster got old, Seattle would be terrible. And well, that’s exactly what happened.

But a few years ago general manager Jerry Dipoto made the decision to tear down the team and rebuild with prospects in hopes that Seattle would be good by 2021 or 2022. Seattle might still be a couple of years away but they were better this year than expected.

Kyle Lewis looks like he will blossom into a real star and the roster is already full of young talent. Lewis might be the current face of the Seattle major league team and could be for years to come. He is that good. Sure, he struggled the last half of this year but he was a rookie and that should be expected. He will be even better in 2021.

But there is a lot more talent in the farm system. MLB.com ranks Seattle’s minor league system as the fourth-best in baseball. The 2020 preseason rank was 9th but Seattle has added talent even since then. In fact, now Seattle has four of the top-100 prospects in baseball.

Players still yet to arrive

Jarred Kelenic looked very good in limited spring training this year but was sent down and kept down because Seattle didn’t want to waste a service year on him in the weird year of 2020. Kelenic is going to be good, really good. But he likely will not start on the 2021 roster and that’s OK.

Kelenic should be ready by May of next year (assuming we have a normal season) and ready to contribute immediately. That goes for Julio Rodriguez too.

Rodriguez got hurt this year and wouldn’t have played anyway but he has good power and speed. So a future Mariners outfield could be Lewis, Kelenic and Rodriguez and assuming those guys reach a bit of their potential, Seattle could have one of the better outfields in the majors for years.

Oh, and you want pitching too? Well, the Mariners farm system has plenty of that as well. Two of Seattle’s top-50 MLB prospects are right-handed starters. Emerson Hancock is 6’4″ with a fastball from the deeper reaches of Hell and went 16-7 at the University of Georgia. Oh, that’s college, you say?

Well, Georgia is in the SEC which is basically a farm system unto itself so if a player is good there it usually translates well.

Then there’s Logan Gilbert who has 165 strikeouts in 135 innings in the minors after having 313 Ks in 250 college innings and going 23-3. He’s good and soon he will be winning games in the majors and helping Seattle get back to the playoffs after a two-decade drought.

Next: Should the Mariners bring James Paxton back?

Things are improving, Mariners fans, and with position players like Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez coming up in 2021 along with some excellent young arms to go along with the Justus Sheffield’s of the world, Seattle could be playoff-bound soon. Maybe even finally winning a World Series.