I was able to attend the Everett AquaSox first playoff game against the Vancouver Canadians, the High-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. The AquaSox sent lefty Reid VanScoter to the mound against former Mariners prospect Adam Macko. The headliners from a prospect perspective were the Mariners top two prospects Cole Young and Harry Ford, who hit first and second in the Everett lineup and I was able to focus in on the two of them.
Cole Young is listed at 6 feet tall and 180 pounds and in person he looks very evenly proportioned and like he has plenty of physical maturity for a 20-year-old. Even though he doesn't look too small or skinny he doesn't look too big either which is nice. There could possibly be more physical projection in him but I don't think there is a ton left. For Young the goal should be to stay fluid and athletic so that he doesn't stiffen up.
I really liked what I saw from him because he moves very well. He moves like a player who has been playing the game for a long time and who has a lot of games under his belt. Young has only played in 143 games in his short career but he looks like a 25-year-old out there and like someone who will be a big leaguer because of how smoothly he moves and his quiet confidence.
He reached in his first two at bats via a hit by pitch and a walk before singling on a ground ball between the pitcher and first baseman that he beat out.
In his next at bat Young singled on a crisp grounder to right field.
At the plate Young sure looks like he is in control when he steps in the box. He does not get in trouble by swinging at bad pitches and I thought he swung the bat well. He likely won't hit for a ton of power but he should get on base a lot and hit at an above average rate.
Defensively Young looked plenty capable at shortstop. He made one really nice leaping catch on a line drive. I thought he moved fluidly and could be an average shortstop at the big league level. His arm strength looked decent but not above average. He made a throw from near the third baseman that I thought wasn't thrown particularly hard but I also did not think he put everything he had into the throw. Overall I think that he can play shortstop but will likely be moved off the position by a superior defender. He will make a good defensive second baseman without a doubt in my mind.
I was very impressed with what I saw from Cole Young and I would not be surprised if he challenged to make the big league roster late next season or early 2025. He is a mature player who does a lot of things well without possessing an elite skill.
Harry Ford caught the game and hit second behind Young. He popped out in his first two at bats and I thought that he swung at two bad pitches before drawing a walk in his third plate appearance. He looks like he belongs for sure but doesn't seem to be at the level offensively that Young is at. However that isn't a bad thing because Ford is a catcher and he could end up being an even better offensive player than many catchers in the league today.
Mariners legendary catcher Dan Wilson was in the dugout like he is for many Mariners minor league games. Ford was standing next to Wilson multiple times throughout the game and I am sure that he has been mentoring the young catcher throughout his time in the Seattle farm system. Ford did have a hard hit single down the third base line that went off third baseman Cade Doughty's glove.
Gabriel Gonzalez went 0-5 at the plate but did beat out a possible double play ball by hustling to first base. He isn't very tall but looks physically mature and like he has good power potential. He certainly looks like he weighs more than the 165 pounds he is listed at due to the added muscle. I would expect that he starts next year at Everett again but should get promoted to Double-A Arkansas if he hits well for the first few months.
Defensively he is likely a limited corner outfielder and he did have a ball go off of his glove that he didn't quite reach. I don't think he will be an awful defender in a corner outfield spot but I don't see him as an above average defender in his career, hopefully he is about average.
Finall, a quick note on the starting pitcher Reid VanScoter. He did not hit 90 on the radar gun with his fastball and was mixing pitches and speeds all night long. He was able to make it through six innings on 90 pitches with four stirkeouts and one walk. He is organizational depth but he could stick around for a few years in a Darren McCaughan mold if he can prove to be durable and eat innings.