Inside The Park

Baseball\’s Future in the Emerald City

Seattle Mariners Top 20 Prospects

Posted by JasonAChurchill on March 7, 2006

Top 10 completed. 11-20 coming tomorrow night.

1. Jeff Clement, C – A left-handed hitting backstop with 25-30 homer power, enough tools to stick at catcher and unmatched work ethic, leadership and desire? I’ll take him No. 1 in any year that doesn’t include Felix Hernandez. Clement is a future all-star.

2. Adam Jones, CF -Jones’ stock didn’t fall, nor rise, with the switch to center field from his natural shortstop. He was graded as an offensive player who would at least become an average defender at either position. Another big year and Jones will be ineligible. He has all-star potential, and should at least develop into a regular.

3. Chris Snelling, OF – If it weren’t for Snelling’s injury history he’d be No. 1 – His plate skills are top drawer and he gets better every year and there’s more power in his bat, too – but if it weren’t for his pure desire and passion for the game, he’d be nowhere on this list.

4. Matt Tuiasosopo, 3B/OF – Tui will play SS in 2005, at least to start the year, but his future is probably in the outfield where his arm strength can be put to better use. He has more raw power than Jones and has the athleticism to accel in either corner outfield spot.

5. Clint Nageotte, RHP – Nageotte’s value is mostly as a near-ready arm that can start or relieve, and may be an economic answer in more ways than one – cheap, but also an innings eater who gets ground balls. Nageotte needs his slider to return to form to be an effective starter.

6. Rob Johnson, C – Most are surprised by this ranking, but Johnson is well on his way to being an average offensive catcher with above average defensive skills. How many of those are there, really? I can think of a half dozen in the AL and that’s about it.

7. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS – If Cabrera had a bit more pop or a better track record of on-base skills, he’d rank a bit higher than seven. He has the plate skills to put up better OBP numbers and should reach the gaps with his short, line-drive stroke, but he’e been inconsistent in both areas. Among the best gloves in baseball.

8. Shin-soo Choo, OF – As he continues to sharpen his defensive skills, Choo must make the proper adjustments that allow him to hit for some more power than he did in 2005. The M’s thought of him as a run producer pre-2005. That may have changed, as Choo spent the vast majority of the second half of last season leading off for Tacoma, where he hit .311/.418 and tightened his strike zone judgment.

9. Bobby Livingston, LHP – The M’s have been trying to get more velocity out of Livingston for two years and he’s still sitting 83-87 with his fastball. With even an average heater, the 23-year-old would scare some hitters. He already has a plus change and and curve ball that can be devastating at times, though remains inconsistent.

10. Yorman Bazardo, RHP – Bazardo showed plus stuff two years ago and occasionally in ’05 with more consistency would land in the top five here. Needs to learn to finish off hitters to remain a starter. Projects as a No. 3 or 4 starter or a setup man.


3 Responses to “Seattle Mariners Top 20 Prospects”

  1. Jerry said

    Good call on Tui and Johnson. Those two always seem to be overlooked in mainstream prospect lists. Both great picks by Fontaine.

  2. Tui’s upside is still pretty large and he’s basically following the same track that Jones did. Decent but not special year in Wisconsin at 18/19, followed by a full year scheduled in the Cal League at 19/20.

    I like him enough offensively to pencil him in for the ’09 M’s roster as the everyday left fielder capable of 275+/340+ with 20+ homers.

    For me, ranking Johnson above Choo, Livingston, Cabrera and Bazardo was very easy. Most scouts project him as an average bat, possibly better, and an above average defender, possibly better, once he reaches the bigs.

    How many average or better hitters at catcher are plus defenders, too?

    In the AL, I can only think of a few. Varitek, Mauer, Martinez, Molina… Pierzynski is borderline because he’s average defensively in the areas that you can grade with stats.

    Pudge I guess still qualifies and Hernandez in Balt is close, though his offense is good while his defense is probably closer to average.

    Posasa is bad defensively nowadays.

    It’s more important to have the defense there at catcher. It’s a huge plus to have offense, but not at the expense of plus defense. It would take an all-star hitter to offset anything less than plus defense behind the plate.

    If Johnson is able to put up better than average numbers at the plate in the Texas League this year, he’ll crack the MLB top 100 next winter.


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