BA’s Top 10 Mariners Prospects
Posted by Jason A. Churchill on December 8, 2006
Baseball America released their top 10 Seattle Mariners prospects three days early, and already I’m getting numerous e-mails asking me what I think of the list.
Not that it matters, since prospecting young baseball talents is extremely tough, not to mention subjective.
Translation: He who rates, ranks and grades can choose what criteria is most important in a player and his future.
So, basically, everyone’s list would be different, most likely, even if everyone agreed how good each player was in each meaningful area of his game. Some take a prospects’ overall future potential (OFP) and weigh that versus risks and defensive positional value and grade the player accordingly.
Others much prefer those with more of a track record over those with little or no pro experience.
Anyways, here’s BA’s Top 10.
1. Adam Jones, CF
2. Jeff Clement, C
3. Brandon Morrow, RHP
4. Tony Butler, LHP
5. Ryan Feierabend, LHP
6. Wladimir Balentien, OF
7. Mark Lowe, RHP
8. Chris Tillman, RHP
9. Yung-Chi Chen, 2B
10. Eric O’Flaherty, LHP
Clearly, Baseball America chose some surefire big leaguers over those with higher ceiling, such as Balentien, Chen and O’Flaherty over Justin Thomas, Greg Halman, etc.
Jones and Clement are the clearcut top two, and Morrow is a solid three and I don’t see my rankings differing in the top 3. Butler and Feierabend are interchangable at four and five with Butler the higher ceiling and Feierabend a safer bet to contribute, since he’s so much closer to breaking through to the show.
Lowe is a tough grade, due to the injury, and I will grade him as if he’s not going to pitch at all in 2007, but return to 80-90% of what he was – just not until ’08. He’ll probably rank right about where BA has him at 7.
Tillman is ranked a notch or two low for my taste, but 8th is still very reasonable.
Chen and O’Flaherty belong nowhere in the top 10, however. Let me ask you all something, especially those who pay attention to the lower minors and international baseball scene.
Would you trade Yung-Chi Chen, who will never start regularly in the majors (and BA admits this), and a left-handed relief pitcher in O’Flaherty, for a couple of young, toolsy outfielders who have a decent chance to be more than just reserves or relief options?
Wouldn’t you rather take a 5-10% chance that Greg Halman develops into Jermaine Dye or Magglio Ordonez over Chen, who isn’t even a sure thing to be a useful big leaguer? I sure would, which is why Halman ranks higher than Chen in my rankings. Much higher.
O’Flaherty is a reliever. Need I say more? If there was a chance he’d return to starting and be good, it’d make a difference, but he’s not going to and wouldn’t be more than No. 5, so, again, he’s just a reliever. Not a setup man, not a closer — a reliever. Maybe a good one, but not one that makes a big impact on your club.
I’d much rather take the risk on a Kuo-hui Lo or Alex Liddi, or even Mario Martinez or Carlos Triunfel.
BA’s rankings are solid, I just disagree with the bottom of the list, and where Balentien was ranked– oh, and the fact that LaHair is ranked behind the bottom two prospects, also, although I wouldn’t place LaHair in my top 10 either. He still has a lot to prove.
Jim Callis is really good, but we need to remember that he did not rank these on his own, and BA in general leans heavily on what the clubs say about their own players.
Photos Credits –
Yung-Chi Chen: Max Waugh @ MaxWaugh.com
Wladimir Balentien: Seattle Mariners