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Seattle Mariners' Top 10 Prospects for 2014

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2014

Seattle Mariners' Top 10 Prospects for 2014

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Whether or not you agree with everything the Seattle Mariners have done this offseason, the one thing no one can say is they are boring. 

    Signing Robinson Cano to hit in the middle of the lineup and play second base gives this franchise instant credibility after years of trades and drafts that have failed to yield any positive results. 

    The good news is Cano joins Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker to give Seattle a very solid nucleus to build around. There are still plenty of holes to be filled, but it's a more interesting team than it's been in years. 

    Looking at the system, which still includes Walker, there's some intriguing talent at the lower levels with good "low-risk" options at the top. 

    Recent promotions like Mike Zunino, Nick Franklin and Brad Miller have thinned out Seattle's top 10, but all three flashed promise at the big league level. If they continue to grow, the Mariners could be a surprise in the American League West. 

    Let's dive into the Seattle Mariners' top 10 prospects for 2014 to discuss what their future looks like. 

    Note: All stats courtesy of MiLB.com unless otherwise noted. Scouting reports and rankings are based on personal evaluations/opinions. 

No. 10 Victor Sanchez, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 01/30/1995 (Age: 18)

    Height/Weight: 6’0”, 255 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Signed: July 2011 (Venezuela)

    ETA: 2016

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    Fascinating right-hander who put together solid season in Low-A; big velocity on fastball; sits low 90s with some arm-side run; generates tremendous arm speed; powerful lower half; drives ball into plate; curveball has plus potential with good, late break; excellent arm speed and deception on changeup. 

    Quality strike thrower with good command; unique body leaves questions about future role/durability; weight could get out of hand; repeats mechanics well; has mid-rotation ceiling. 

     

    Projection: No. 3 starter

    Risk: High

    Video via Baseball Instinct

No. 9 Tyler Marlette, C

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 01/23/1993 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 5’11”, 195 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: Fifth round, 2011 (Hagerty HS, FL)

    ETA: 2016

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    High-ceiling catcher; will show good skills on both sides of ball; solid hitting approach; good bat speed and above-average power projection; ability to hit off-speed stuff is lacking; still learning to translate power into games; struggles to catch pitches on outer half. 

    Slowly learning intricacies of catching; plus arm strength; still adjusting to calling games; lacks agility and mechanics on throws; doesn't block or receive well; can look uncomfortable behind the plate at times; going to require a lot of development. 

     

    Projection: First-division regular

    Risk: High

    Video via Heinitz Productions

No. 8 Danny Hultzen, LHP

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    Position: LHP

    DOB: 11/28/1989 (Age: 24)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 200 pounds

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Drafted: First round, 2011 (Virginia)

    ETA: 2015

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    No. 2 pick in 2011 draft had tough start to career; struggled to throw strikes early; stuff hasn't progressed despite promotions; found command in 2013; fastball is average; sits 89-91 with some movement; can spot it well; doesn't get plane due to crouched delivery; slider has good tilt. 

    Uncertain future due to shoulder surgery; likely out for 2014 season; if stuff/command returns, very solid mid-rotation starter projection; a lot of risk for college draftee. 

     

    Projection: No. 4 starter

    Risk: Moderate

    Video via Scouting the Sally

No. 7 Tyler Pike, LHP

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    Position: LHP

    DOB: 01/26/1994 (Age: 19)

    Height/Weight: 6’0”, 180 pounds

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Drafted: Third round, 2012 (Winter Haven HS, FL)

    ETA: 2016

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    Won't light up radar guns but has solid skills across the board; average fastball with some wiggle; improved command will help pitch play up; curveball has big potential; good snap, though will get a little slurvy; changeup comes out too firm. 

    Needs to throw strikes more consistently; lacks physical projection; solid athlete with easily repeatable mechanics; fluid to the plate; must learn to pitch inside to right-handers; good feel for pitching. 

     

    Projection: No. 3 starter

    Risk: High

    Video via MLB Advanced Media

No. 6 Austin Wilson, OF

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    Position: RF

    DOB: 02/07/1992 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’4”, 210 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: Second round, 2013 (Stanford)

    ETA: 2016

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    Big raw talent out of college; typical Stanford approach; very slappy swing; has plus raw power in him; lacks discipline in the box; very aggressive, hacky swing; best tool is plus arm that profiles perfectly in right field; below-average runner limits range. 

    Must refine tools given age and level of competition faced; big development project; inability to show power in games is concerning; will have to be elite hitter if pop and patience don't show up. 

     

    Projection: First-division regular

    Risk: High

    Video via Aqua Sox Baseball

No. 5 Gabriel Guerrero, OF

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    Position: RF

    DOB: 12/11/1993 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 190 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Signed: February 2011 (Dominican Republic)

    ETA: 2016

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    Big tools slowly turning into performance; still incredibly raw, given age and talent level; has premium bat speed and plus raw power; still finding an approach and learning to adjust and hit quality pitching; lacks discipline; too aggressive in all aspects. 

    Long swing prevents catching up to velocity; short to the ball at times; can drive pitches with ease; still growing into powerful 6'3" frame; has big arm strength; above-average runner; still offers a ton of projection and dreams. 

     

    Projection: First-division regular

    Risk: High

    Video via Hudson Belinsky

No. 4 James Paxton, LHP

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    Position: LHP

    DOB: 11/06/1988 (Age: 25)

    Height/Weight: 6’4”, 220 pounds

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Drafted: Fourth round, 2010 (Kentucky)

    ETA: 2014 (Debuted in '13)

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    Intriguing left-handed pitcher; big fastball velocity, touches 95-96 with some movement; creates deception with big arm action; difficult to read; curveball is a weapon; big, sweeping hook that breaks knees; changeup is show-me pitch at this point; lacks feel and control; excellent size and frame to handle big workload. 

    Command issues make projection difficult; doesn't throw quality strikes consistently; racks up strikeouts thanks to deception, working into deep counts; must command fastball to be effective starter; could be dominant late-inning reliever. 

     

    Projection: No. 3 starter

    Risk: Low

    Video via MLB Advanced Media

No. 3 Edwin Diaz, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 03/22/1994 (Age: 19)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 165 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: Third round, 2012 (Caguas Military Academy, PR)

    ETA: 2017

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    System's breakout prospect in 2013; plus fastball with mid-90s velocity, movement; flashed two above-average off-speed pitches; spins solid-average curveball already; advanced feel for changeup; consistent strike thrower; strong command/control upside; going to add more velocity as body fills out. 

    Still learning how to pitch; very calm, relaxed delivery; straight line to plate; arm is free; generates movement with high three-quarters angle; stays on top of ball; huge pop-up prospect for 2014.

     

    Projection: No. 2 starter

    Risk: Extreme

    Video via Baseball Scouting

No. 2 D.J. Peterson, 3B

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    Position: 3B

    DOB: 12/31/1991 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 190 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: First round, 2013 (New Mexico)

    ETA: 2015

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    One of the most polished hitters in 2013 draft; should move quickly; advanced feel for hitting and strike zone; good bat speed and ability to barrel balls; patient approach and good pitch recognition. 

    Below-average foot speed; range and lateral quickness at third base are fringy; arm will play at position but slow actions could force move to first; don't like power projection; not typical homer frame; slaps the ball more than drives it with authority; average will be fine but needs more to be a star. 

     

    Projection: First-division regular

    Risk: Moderate

    Video via Baseball Instinct

No. 1 Taijuan Walker, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 08/13/1992 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’4”, 210 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: First round, 2010 (Yucaipa HS, CA)

    ETA: 2014 (Debuted in '13)

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    Tremendous athlete and rare size from right side; still has room to add muscle; excellent velocity, usually 92-95 but will touch higher; tremendous cutter that will break a ton of bats; plus-plus potential; curveball flashes plus with good shape and tight break; loose, free arm action. 

    Lacks feel for changeup; may struggle to get lefties out; doesn't have present fastball command and hasn't shown improvements in two years at upper levels/MLB; mechanics can get a little stiff. 

     

    Projection: No. 2 starter: All-Star potential

    Risk: Low

    Video via MLB Advanced Media

     

    If you want to talk baseball, hit me up on Twitter. 

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