It's award season in both Major and Minor League baseball. Baseball America addressed the latter in their Best Tools list, and a handful of Mariners made the cut. Minor league managers vote in the annual awards focusing on the best scouting tools in each league. Without further adieu, here are the Mariner prospects recognized for outstanding performance during the 2023 season.
The Mariners' top prospect by Major League Baseball Pipeline, Young grabbed the best strike-zone judgment in the California League. The 20-year-old middle infielder accumulated 54 walks to 52 strikeouts in 78 games for the Modesto Nuts.
Gonzales split his 2023 season between Single-A Modesto and High-A Everett, flashing the best outfield arm in the California League. The 19-year-old threw out seven runners from his post in rightfield this year and added another five with Everett.
Clase was another Mariners prospect whose 2023 spanned two levels of the system. Baseball America named him the fastest baserunner in the Northwest League and Texas League. He ended up swiping 79 bases between the two stops.
What a year for the Mariners' uber-talented backstop! He led Great Britain to their first wins in the World Baseball Classic, was one of two prospects to play in the Futures Game (Clase), and led the system in walks (103). Baseball America handed him the Northwest League best strike-zone judgment award.
Locklear had an uneven 2023 due to a wrist injury, but before the IL stint, he flashed a plus glove for High-A Everett. He'd finish the season with Arkansas and continue to explode offensively in the Arizona Fall League. Locklear walks away with the best defensive first baseman in the Northwest League award.
Additional award winners were Prelander Berroa (best breaking pitch in the Texas League), Ben Ramirez (best defensive third baseman in Northwest League) and Arkansas Travs' manager Mike Freeman was named the Best Managerial Prospect in the Texas League.