M’s Prospect Spotlight: Top 25
Posted by Jason A. Churchill on June 9, 2006
So the draft is over and it's back to the grind that is the rehabilitating farm system of the Seattle Mariners. At this point in the season it's a safe move to consider a prospect's 2006 performance when analyzing their overall potential value to the organization.
Many prospects are aging without shoring up their status and the trends are dragging them down in the rankings. With the organization moving on with a new crop of pitchers, the formerly worthy are becoming merely useful and more apt for the bullpen.
The fact that three of this week's draft picks are among the top 25 is a sign that the system lacked pitching depth – the understatement of the week.
Brandon Morrow is likely to start his career in A ball, but which level of A ball remains to be seen. If he signs in late June, he's probably going to get a tune-up start or two in Everett before heading to Inland Empire.
The club would like to enter 2007 with Morrow part of the Double-A rotation, but I couldn't slot the right-hander ahead of Chris Snelling, who has but one thing keeping him from being an impact player in the major leagues.
Morrow could skyrocket to the top spot with a dominant showing at Inland Empire and strong stint in San Antonio before the year concludes.
Clement's injuries do not effect his overall status as the top prospect in the system. He's still as close to the show as any of the top five and his defensive position is the only reason he wasn't assigned to Triple-A Tacoma in April.
As you will see, there are a lot of fringy rotation candidates in the top 25 below and a few more (Shawn Nottingham, Julio Santiago, Jose Escalona) just missed the cut.
For those of you wondering where Bryan LaHair is… the next time he has a good, comfortable at-bat versus a left-hander will be the first in weeks. He hasn't homered in a month and his slugging has sunk well under .500. The pitchers have made an adjustment and now LaHair's true aptitude as a hitter will be tested.
A strong finish will vault the former 39th rounder right back into the top 25. If he finishes the way he started the spring he could crack the top 15. But that's easier said than done.
[Emiliano Fruto was not considered after he was recalled on June 8. He would have ranked 16th.]
|1||Jeff Clement, C – AA
||L/R||Injuries, opposing pitchers are no concern for lefty power bat.|
|2||Adam Jones, CF – AAA
||R/R||Streaky, but flashes absolute brilliance at plate and in field.|
|3||Chris Snelling, OF – AAA||L/L||Regaining form after knee surgery. Safeco's DH in July.|
|4||Brandon Morrow, RHP – N/A||R/R||Signs point to majors for top pick. Likely to see Inland in July.|
|5||Matt Tuiasosopo, 3B – A+||R/R||Hitting at Inland but needs time to develop power, defense.|
|6||Asdrubal Cabrera, SS – AAA||S/R
||Striving for consistent offense, showing strong on-base skills.|
|7||Rob Johnson, C – AAA
||R/R||Defense needs another year, struggling bat needs two more.|
|8||Francisco Cruceta, RHP – AAA
||Poor track record, but in control in the PCL. Command is key.|
|9||Ryan Feierabend, LHP – AA
||Improving stuff and progress are exciting. Very young for AA.|
|10||Chris Tillman, RHP – N/A||R/R
||Projectable arm has potential plus heat and curve. Sound mechanics.|
|11||Wladimir Balentien, OF – AA
||R/R||Power is moot with alarming K rates. Pure slugger with plenty of risk.|
|12||Travis Blackley, LHP – AA||R/R||Southpaw has swagger back, and his curve ball isn't far behind.|
|13||Clint Nageotte, RHP – AAA
||R/R||Winning but command is inconsistent – at best. Likely bullpen bound.|
|14||Shin-soo Choo, OF – AAA
||April – .962 OPS. Just .581 since and hasn't homered in six weeks.|
|15||Bobby Livingston, LHP -AAA||L/L||Control went south, pitcher went north in May. Still sitting 83-85.
|16||Mark Lowe, RHP – AA
||Plus fastball, potential plus changeup may return to rotation.|
|17||Robert Rohrbaugh, LHP – A+
||L/L||Plus command, ground ball tendencies; Sounds good, keep him.|
|18||Oswaldo Navarro, SS – AA||R/R
||Defensive wiz projects as backup unless bat spikes soon.|
|19||Stephen Kahn, RHP – AA
||Setup prospect with power arsenal needs better command.|
|20||Yorman Bazardo, RHP – AA||R/R||Destined for 'pen without improved change. Arm may not be sound.|
|21||Michael Garciaparra, 2B – AAA
||R/R||Flashing family talents in AAA – including on-base skills and defense.|
|22||Anthony Butler, LHP- N/A
||L/L||Third rounder has projectable size and stuff. Hello, Peoria.|
|23||Justin Thomas, LHP – A
||L/L||Has better stuff than assignment suggests. Inland bound in July.|
|24||Eric O'Flaherty, LHP – AA
||R/R||Dominating out of pen, could return to rotation in '07. Plus stuff.|
|25||Yung Chi Chen, 2B – A+
||Sound talent needs challenge in AA. Intriguing infielder with speed.|