On the last day of June, the rosters for the futures game were announced. For Mariners fans, the question wasn’t “Will anyone get the invite?” but was instead “How many will go?”.
We ended up with a fair amount of representation, with Jarred Kelenic going for the second time, joined by Julio Rodriguez and Emerson Hancock. The roster is loaded, and you can make an argument that everyone who is going to be there deserves it.
Some Mariners might have strong cases as being snubbed for the Futures Game.
Just like the MLB All-Star game, each team earns at least one representative for the game. Should they keep that rule or get rid of it? That’s an argument for another day. Once you look at the roster though, you can make some arguments for Mariners who weren’t included in the game without removing a team’s only player. Here are the Mariners who got snubbed, and the players that they could’ve replaced. The numbers in parenthesis are their rankings on their team’s prospect list, and their ranking in the top 100, if applicable.
Mariners RHP George Kirby (No. 4, MLB No. 72) to replace Baltimore RHP Marcos Diplan (NR)
This one is simple. Baltimore already has Adley Rutschman playing, who is the top catching prospect in baseball and the number two overall prospect. Marcos Diplan shouldn’t be in this game though. Not only is he not ranked, but he is 24-years-old. I thought this was a FUTURES GAME! You wanna put older guys in, that’s fine. Some players play 3-4 years in college, so at 24, it may only be their second season in the Minors. Especially after last year with the shutdown.
However, Diplan has been in Pro Ball since 2014 when he was 17. He’s already on his 4th different MLB franchise. Kirby is 23 and in just his second season of pro ball. It would be fun to see if he could show off the new speed and control against high-ceiling players at the Futures Game. Maybe next year, unless he has been called up by 2022.
Mariners C Cal Raleigh (No. 6) to replace Rockies C Willie MacIver (No. 30)
Speaking of being called up by 2022, there is almost no chance Raleigh is still eligible for this game come next year. Mariners fans have already been clamoring for him to be called up, and you have to assume that is right around the corner for Raleigh.
The man he should replace seems to be at the game only because the Rockies are hosting this year’s festivities at Coors Field. Willie MacIver is their 30th ranked prospect. He’s not even in Fangraphs top 1250 prospects. At 24, he is still in A-ball. Raleigh should 100% take his spot. Raleigh is 24 as well, but is in AAA and hitting .329/.386/.615 with 20 2Bs and a low strikeout rate.
Mariners SS Noelvi Marte (No. 5, MLB No. 83) to replace…
This is the one that is the toughest. There isn’t a good argument for who he should replace. Remember, every team has to have a representative. Could he replace Bryson Stott from the Phillies? Probably. Unfortunately for Marte, Shortstop is just a loaded position. Ronny Mauricio of the Mets is the 10th ranked shortstop and the 50th ranked prospect. Marte is going to fly up the rankings, and Jim Callis at MLB pipeline mentioned that he could be top 50 next year.
Look, Marte is a stud. He could be a franchise cornerstone and is already showing off incredible skills for how young he is. There are just a lot of shortstops ahead of him. Take a look at some of these names. Bobby Witt Jr, CJ Abrams, Marco Luciano, Royce Lewis, Austin Martin, Jordan Groshans. It’s a loaded group. My argument here is to increase the size and put Marte in anyway. He’s dominated this year and deserves a look against some higher competition for a game.
Best of luck to all the Mariners in this year’s Futures Game. Hopefully, the exclusion for the guys listed above keeps their fire burning hot, giving them even more reason to prove themselves this year as they make their path through the Minor Leagues.