Emerson, Peete offer a case of deja vu

Minnesota Twins v Seattle Mariners
Minnesota Twins v Seattle Mariners / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

Last night, Colt Emerson and Tai Peete joined the big-league club for their initial 'Welcome to the Mariners' workout session. Their time at T-Mobile Park included working with fielding guru Perry Hill, turning double plays with veterans J.P. Crawford and Kolten Wong, and putting on a show in their five rounds of batting practice.

Like most prep players, there is a high-risk and high reward with these shortstops. Emerson has an advanced approach, and the hit tool (55 grade) should serve him well as he makes his way through the farm system. Peete is the wildcard. He is a two-way talent who can rachet the fastball up to 96 on the mound and effortlessly ambush pitches in the zone, but he is also the youngest player of the 2023 class (17).

When looking at Emerson and Peete, it is easy to see one prospect with a personality the size of Mount Rainier, an effervescent smile and carries some loud tools. Another is a diligent, determined teen heralded as the most advanced prep bat in the class. Sound familiar? It should be because we've seen this movie before-specifically in 2019 when uber-talented prospects Julio Rodriguez and Jarred Kelenic paced the Mariners' farm system. These once-talented teens came from different backgrounds but shared some exciting similarities, mainly a penchant for loving the game.

Rodriguez was the team's number two prospect, but his personality foreshadowed the face of franchise vibes, which would come true three years later. 2019 put Rodriguez on the map as he took Modesto and Everett by storm, accumulating a stellar .326/.390/.929 slash line as an 18-year-old. The Dominican-born slugger would lead his country to an Olympic Bronze Medal a few years later, showing an innate ability to rise to the moment.

Kelenic, acquired in the famed Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz deal, flashed an advanced approach in 2019. The final line for the then 19-year-old included a 20-20 season across three Mariners' farm system levels. The Wisconsinite had a first-round draft pick pedigree thanks to a 55-grade hit tool and elite athleticism. Kelenic would routinely display those skills in all aspects of his game.

Four years later, Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez are tracking down flyballs in the spacious T-Mobile Park outfield, displaying light-tower power and showcasing their speed on the basepaths. Both have also overcome adversity to get to where they are today, which is sharing the field together.

For one comfortable July night, Kelenic and Rodriguez gave two newly minted Mariner prospects a glimpse into what could be their future. However, prospect development isn't linear, especially when you are trying to connect the dots between two dissimilar players. But in the case of Emerson and Peete, the blueprint and their professional baseball careers are there for the taking. It sure seems like déjà vu all over again.