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Mid-Season Prospect Rankings: Bats, Arms

Posted by Jason A. Churchill on July 13, 2006

Who will join Felix Hernandez in the rotation in the forseeable future? Who will join Rafael Soriano and J.J. Putz in a dominant bullpen?

Money says Ryan Feierabend, Brandon Morrow and Mark Lowe are the answers to those questions.

Feierabend is two years from the cusp of the big leagues while Brandon Morrow has just gotten his professional career under way.

Lowe dazzled the Safeco crowd with his Houdini act last week and could be joined by fellow youngsters Stephen Kahn, Emiliano Fruto, Eric O’Flaherty in the M’s future pen.

Southpaws Travis Blackley, Justin Thomas and Robert Rohrbaugh join Bobby Livingston and Feierabend as potential back-end starters.

Blackley’s return to prominence would be an enormous bonus.

1 Ryan Feierabend L/L 6-3 210 20 Reminds many of No. 5 on this list. Consistently improving.
2 Brandon Morrow R/R 6-3 195 21 Top ceiling in system… has questions to answer as pro.
3 Francisco Cruceta R/R 6-2 215 25 Ready for the show – could be next call-up.
4 Mark Lowe R/R 6-3 195 23 Has starter stuff but projects as John Wetteland.
5 Travis Blackley L/L 6-2 200 23 Sits 86-90 with plus cutter. Curve and change getting close.
6 Justin Thomas L/L 6-3 220 22 Above average stuff needs to be challenged further.
6 Bobby Livingston L/L 6-2 200 23 Misuse in bigs curbed big season. Could be 4Astarter.
8 Robert Rohrbaugh L/L 6-2 200 22 Ordinary stuff, plus makeup and command. Another one.
9 Emiliano Fruto R/R 6-2 235 21 Future setup man with plus change. Command must improve.
10 Yorman Bazardo R/R 6-2 200 23 Looking ahead: Bazardo to the bullpen in 2007?

Offensively, Seattle has few chances to get better from within, but the options currently at their doorstep are pretty strong. The top three bats all began July in Triple-A and the bulk of the entire group are parading their skills up and down the lineup in Double-A San Antonio.

Two of those top three bats are likely to find themselves in the majors by the end of the month, and Jones has already been summoned.

1 Jeff Clement L/R 6-1 215 22 Not the better spect anymore, but still a better bet to hit.
2 Adam Jones R/R 6-2 205 20 Pat Gillick’s best draft pick. Potential all-star center fielder.
3 Chris Snelling L/L 5-10 205 23 Dude can rake. He’d be No. 1 if not for …well, you know.
4 Matt Tuiasosopo R/R 6-2 210 20 Has 2+ seasons and one level to turn SLG from .400 to .500.
5 Wladimir Balentien R/R 6-2 210 22 Needs more time for polish, but power unquestionable.
6 Greg Halman R/R 6-4 210 23 Raw skills, but has polish far beyond his age.
7 Shin-soo Choo L/L 5-11 200 23 Most likely to get traded before 2007. Just isn’t a fit.
8 Mike Wilson R/R 6-2 240 23 The more he hits for power the more he surprises all.
9 Kuo-hui Lo R/R 6-2 190 20 Similar skillset as Choo, tad faster and a quicker ascent to majors.
10 Bryan Lahair L/L 6-5 220 23 If there’s an easy button, LaHair needs it to turn on the power.

44 Responses to “Mid-Season Prospect Rankings: Bats, Arms”

  1. Center Field Sports said

    Where do you see Michael Schilling and Doug Fister on this list?

  2. In the next six to eight. There are so many arms, and many of them are younger than Schiling or Fister.

    Other than the injury, I prefer Uhlmansiek to either Everett starter, but the kids in Wis like Escalona and Santiago, and even Vega, who’s younger than any starter on the Sox staff, have as much or more abilities, and more time to develop them.

  3. Dave Cairns said

    Same question as center field sports: Where does RRS sit in the pitchers list ?

    What have your thoughts been on Dean Zorn ?

    Brett Roneberg MVP of the AA All Star game !! Just had an email from his Dad, he sounds very proud.

  4. Allen Jacobs said

    Isn’t Halman 19 yrs old instead of 23?

  5. Allen Jacobs said

    Strike that previous post…he is listed as 18 yrs old.

  6. dnc said

    Jason, what does O’Flaherty’s stuff look like? He’s posting pretty decent numbers, albeit in relief. Is he a lefty killer, or an equal opportunity out maker? Seems like a decent potential relief arm.

  7. Willmore said

    Jason, so did you get a chance to find out what happened to Morrow ?

  8. eponymous coward said

    So which of these 527 LHP with “eh” stuff and decent control are the Scott Schoenweises/John Halamas of our system (as in, 5th starter fill in fodder), and which ones are the Jarrod Washburns (decent mid rotation options)…or even the potential Buehrles (top of the rotation options)?

    (To be fair, Buehrle probably hits 92-93 regularly, so he has the best stuff- plus he’s more of a GB pitcher thjat the other guys I mentioned.)

  9. No word on Morrow yet.

    The cool thing about using Buehrle as a comp is that when he was in A+ and AA he was throwing 87-90.

  10. Bilbo said

    something happened to Morrow?

  11. No. We’re wondering when he’s going to pitch again.

  12. Bilbo said

    ah, whew! Thought maybe Thiel wrote an article again or something. 😉

  13. He may have, but he wasn’t sober when he did, so…

  14. Willmore said

    Mike Wilson, time for promotion ?

  15. No, it’s not time, though that doesn’t mean he doesn’t get one.

    I wouldn’t have a huge issue with it. He’s not one of the prospects that you go out of your way to protect.

    I think I’d wait another 3-4 weeks before making that decision. Let him go around the league one more full time.

  16. Willmore said

    I understand that he’s 23 and has done very little up till now, but I can’t help but sallivate at the prospect of having him continue with his current streak and end up a top prospect after all.

    Mmmm, good.

  17. asoc said

    Finding blogs like yours are quite the find for avid fantasy baseball players like myself. Now I know which Mariners to keep an eye on. I’m sure all Seattle baseball fans would love this site! Keep up the good work.

  18. Wilson will never be a top prospect. But he has gone from useless to potentially a big leaguer.

    I doubt very highly he ever gets a chance to start regularly.

  19. Asoc,

    Thanks for the kind words.

    Oh, and by the way, it’s only going to get better here.

    2007 will blow away 2006 – in every way.

  20. Willmore said

    He’s got a whiff of Edgar around him with less plate discipline and more power.

    And don’t say he has absolutely nothing in comming with Edgar, because I know that, I just have a stupid hunch.

  21. Willmore said

    Speaking of getting better, what’s the ETA on the scouting videos and the podcasts ?

  22. Scott said

    Went to the Aquasox game in Spokane tonight. Halman is a beast. He only had one hit, but he squared the ball up every time and was robbed of at least one more hit. His swing was smooth and he really seemed to have an idea of what he wanted to do at the plate. He and Sabatella are both built very well. I didn’t expect to see an 18 year old be as physically developed as Halman is.

  23. As soon as I can find someone to host audio and video clips longer than 100MB. A entire AB can last 2 mins… Grouper, Youtube, EShare, ZShare… I’ve tried them all. They all limit to 100mb.

  24. And it’s possible that I just did. We’ll see.

    Remember, it’s amateur video. I don’t have some network style camera that can craw down the throats of fans 1000 feet away.

  25. Willmore said

    That’s fine. By the way, can you provide some analysis with the video ?

  26. That will depend on the video. Thing is, I can’t tape the entire game to wait for a significant event, so many of the ABs will be outs…

  27. Willmore said

    really, why not ? Buy a tripod, set it on the pitcher or the hitter, and say it with me: “Set it and forget it !”.

  28. dude, you do realize that’s ILLEGAL, right?

  29. Dawg, re: O’Flaherty…

    89-92, above average slider, workable change.

    He’s nasty on lefties — 4 for 31 for a .154 average at IE
    SA – 10 for 46 – .238 avg.

    He’s a big league reliever in a year or so.

  30. WAB said

    Travis Chick with a nice outing tonight:

    7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K’s, 1 HR

    Mike Wilson with 2 hits and a bomb as well…

    BTW, is it just me or has Wlad got a nice streak goin’ for him right now? He doesn’t seem to be striking out as much, and he’s getting one or two BB’s every game…on top of the hits and HR’s.

  31. Willmore said

    Illegal ? Really ? Well, who is going to care ?

  32. Matthew said

    Jason, what’s up with Cruceta? 1 HR allowed in April+May and since then, 11 allowed.

    A seemingly plausible theory floating around some nooks (mostly at DOV) is that Cruceta is undergoing the last hurdle in the Ms standard form 1a v3.4 checklist needed to promote pitcher from AAA, that being, showing command of the fastball and so Cruceta is pumping more fastballs, and more in hittable spots since he’s bound to miss a healthy proportion of the time.

    I mean, his K:BB ratios still look superb, and the hits allowed isn’t really higher either, it’s seems that just his SLG allowed has jumped.

  33. The weather is brutal in Tacoma in April and into mid May… That has a lot to do with it. Also, look at who Cruceta faced early on… a TERRIBLE Coloroad Springs club four times, Twice without Shealy in the lineup… Fresno is worse than Inland Empire… Albuquerque is terrible and Memphis is very ordinary.

    Now that he’s facing teams for the second and third time thru – decent clubs with solid lineups – he’s getting hit some.

    But there’s nothing extraordinary going on. He’s STILL not commanding the heater which is WHY the long ball is biting him in the first place. He’s not doing anything differently.

    His delivery has been simplified since last August and Chaves immediately adjusted his arm slot, but nothing major has been done with Cruceta’s mechanics.

    Here’s a couple interesting stats.

    April – 73% 4-seamers
    May – 70%
    June – 66%
    July – 71%

    versus lefties — seven of the 13 homers in just 220 PAs — but a .232 average.

    91-79 G/F ratio overall but 40-28 versus LHB and 51-51 versus RHB.

    At Home – 3.88 ERA and 8 HR allowed.
    On Road – 4.88 ERA but just 5 HR allowed.

    He’s just inconsistent. His breaking ball is his most important pitch and he doesn’t throw it enough because it’s a lot like Soriano’s, circa 2003… not very good at all.

    His velo has been down a tad since the first week of May, too. Just a little.

    He’s still 89-91 mostly.

    He’d be murder in Mateo’s role.

  34. Hey Church…

    I might have some space on my photog web site I could share. I’ve got 50 gigs of space, yet (in spite of my plethora of photo albums) haven’t even used 1 gig of it. Or, if you’ve got $6.99 a month, you could rent your own space (decent bandwidth traffic — 500 gigs monthly–, too).

    Give me an e-mail if you’re interested.

  35. But, then, if you’ve got a 2 minute video clip that’s over 100 megs, you probably need a tutorial on video compression, too 😉 I compressed my son’s 7+ minute preschool video down to a 75-meg clip (and a 25 meg clip in Flash video)…

  36. He’d be murder in Mateo’s role.

    Yeah, really. Who wouldn’t? I would’ve liked recently-waived Jeff Harris in that role. ANYONE but Mateo. That Hargrove even had Mateo warming up with Meche on the mound is reason enough to fire him — unless, of course, it was merely psychological warfare to keep Meche on track. Kinda like what I yelled at Lorraine from smack dab behind home plate in the season-ending championship game: “Hey Lorraine — Baek’s warming up! Ya better get this guy out, or the season’s over!!!”

  37. Can I just pay for a video compressing tutorial? if I could get these files under 100 mb, i wouldn’t have any problems.

  38. re: Curceta>Mateo

    Harris sucks. He would have been lit as much or more than Mateo. Truly, he just hasn;t had anything on his heater all year. 86-87, no bite.

    Cruceta might actually be like Mateo on 03…

  39. Willmore said

    Jason, just find any tool that converts mpeg files to Divx. There are a ton of them around, most of which are pretty simple to use.

  40. MPeg to DivX automatically compresses?

  41. Willmore said

    sure, simplest thing.

  42. seems to be working so far… thanks.

  43. dnc said

    Jason, thanks for the 411 on O’Flaherty.

    So, one hypothetical 08 bullpen could look like:


    With other possibilities including Kahn, Cruceta and Nageotte. And there’s always the possibility of Soriano, Lowe, Cruceta or (unlikely) Nageotte being in the rotation.

    Plenty of nice bullpen candidates. I like that.

  44. Craig James should be in that group, too. He’s been sickening, giving up just two earned runs since May 5.


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