The Mariners' scouting and development department has recently spent much time in the international amateur market. They've signed Julio Rodriguez, Jonatan Clase, Michael Arroyo, and Lazaro Montes in the past five cycles. That doesn't account for the talent they traded away for ace Luis Castillo (Noelvi Marte, Edwin Arroyo). The Mariners have a track record of success in this arena, and by the looks of it, our 7th-rated prospect, Felnin Celesten, will join the success stories listed above.
Major League Baseball Pipeline ranked the Dominican-born shortstop as the number two prospect in the 2023 cycle due to his well-rounded skill set and extremely high ceiling. Celesten carries a 55-grade hit tool from both sides of the plate and an elite arm in the field (60). Scouts float Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor when playing the comparison game, which is understandable considering Celesten has played and excelled against older competition for years.
"When you consider his tools and skills, this teenager might have the highest ceiling of any international shortstop prospect in a decade."- MLB Pipeline on Felnin Celesten
The 18-year-old wunderkind was on track to debut in the Arizona Complex League with the 2023 draft class (Colt Emerson, Tai Peete, and Jonny Farmelo). However, he suffered a Grade 2 hamstring strain that effectively put the top prospect on the shelf for the entire season. Celesten would end up playing a handful of backfield games (in the ACL), showcasing the complete skill set that makes him one to watch in the Mariners' farm system in 2024.
The Mariners will likely follow the path they laid for Emerson, Peete, and Farmelo in 2023. What does this mean for the toolsy teenager? Celesten will probably start the 2024 campaign in the ACL, get a few weeks of games under his belt, and quickly ascend the ladder. He'll probably spend the entire season in Modesto anchoring the middle infield and top of the lineup for the Nuts.