Farm Report: OF Michael Saunders, Seattle Mariners

Lars HansonAnalyst IMay 20, 2009

The Seattle Mariners No. 2 prospect, outfielder Michael Saunders, is currently with the class triple-A Tacoma Rainiers

Saunders is the starting LF for the Tacoma Rainiers. He's got the potential to be a five tool prospect and has been considered one of the top prospects in the entire Mariners farm system, only behind power hitting Greg Halman.

Saunders, unlike Halman hits for average and has some pretty good pop to his bat. Saunders current stats to date. .311 average, five homeruns, 11 RBI's, 19 hits, and three stolen bases.

The great part about Saunders is that he has a very low SO amount. Saunders has 13 SO and 7 BB.

Thats something the Mariners lack on their major league team, that's patients. Some players are starting to learn that like Lopez, Cedeno, Ichiro (always has been), and a few more.

The Mariners have also recently learned that if a player is not patient, they just have to bench him for a few games like Yuniesky Betancourt. Since coming back Betancourt has had three hits, one HR, one walk, and one SO. Not great but its a good start.

Now here's the problem the Mariners might have. They have Wladimir Balentien that could be a starting LF next season. But they also are going to have a lot of salary available this offseason with Batista (9 million), Washburn (10.35 million), Beltre (12 million) among a few others.

Now this is not including Erik Bedard who will most likely be extended due to the fact they dont have a top SP prospect coming up anytime soon and they are going to need the 1-2 punch of Felix and Bedard for a long time.

The Mariners are going to have around 36 million dollars available with those main three plus a few others becoming a free agent. So they could try and acquire a top LF that has a lot of experience like Matt Halliday (10 years 200 million, 20 million per) or Jason Bay (10 million per).

If the Mariners went that route they would have to either deal Ichiro and then have Halman and Saunders share time in RF and have Balentien play some LF. But I sense that wont happen, maybe they would package Saunders in a trade to get a top first baseman not named Pujols. Maybe Prince Fielder.

But back to the topic of Michael Saunders. He's expected to be on the Mariners starting roster next season (2010) which is also the ETA for Halman and Triunfel (SS/2B).

So the Mariners will have a huge decision to make, but anyway they go will be great. Saunders will be a great player and have a great supporting cast around him to really make something happen.