|Original Published Date: April 21, 2014|
|Updated: June 9, 2014|
The Seattle Mariners made one big, loud noise during the off-season when the signed Robinson Cano for 10-years and $240 million dollars. His 2014 salary along with King Felix salary of $22.8M account for 50% of the 2014 total committed salaries on the big league roster. Part of the reason the Mariners major league roster is so imbalanced from a financial standpoint is many of their key players have recently been promoted and are earning the league minimum. While Mike Zunino, Nick Franklin, Dustin Ackley, Brad Miller, and Justin Smoak have impressive prospect pedigrees, it hasn’t translated into big league production yet. Additionally, their upper-minors is now light on impact prospects and unless they make a trade, the Mariners will have to wait and see if their high-end young players will develop.
1. Next in Line Infield Prospects
- Jesus Montero (C/DH, Triple-A) – Fantasy relevance: Medium
- Chris Taylor (SS/2B, Triple-A) – Fantasy relevance: Low
Notes: When the challenge trade of Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda was made prior to the 2012 season, Seattle thought they were getting a middle of the lineup bat with a ceiling of 30/100. They knew he wasn’t a catcher but were convinced as most of the industry was, that he could hit. In 2012, he put up a poor stat line where he only slugged .386 in 515 at-bats. In 2013 he was demoted, became part of the Biogensis mess and then reported to camp in 2014 overweight. So the question is: “Will Montero become a viable big league player or an asterisk on what could have been”. We are still bullish as he has plus power and makes hard contact. He is a free swinger and his 20-grade speed will always hurt his batting average, but he’s at least a big league regular. Yes, he’s a DH and the Mariners have a lot of those type players, but he can help. The Mariners love Chris Taylor but just don’t need another middle infielder. His fantasy impact will be limited to a stolen bases and runs if he gets the call.
2. Next in Line Outfield Prospects
- James Jones (OF, Triple-A) – Fantasy relevance: Low – PROMOTED: 5/5/14
- Julio Morban (OF, Triple-A) – Fantasy relevance: Low
- Endy Chavez (OF, Triple-A) – Fantasy relevance: Low
Notes: The impact depth in the outfield is low in the Mariners system. James Jones has intriguing skills with speed and a little pop. While he has good plate awareness, he strikes out a lot hurting his overall effectiveness. After his promotion in early May, he’s slashing .291/.331/.385 with seven stolen bases in 117 at-bats. That’s not great but might be worth a look in AL-Only leagues.
3. Next in Line Pitching Prospects
- Brandon Maurer (RHP, Triple-A) – Fantasy relevance: Low
- Blake Beavan (RHP, Triple-A) – Fantasy relevance: Low
Notes: We had hopes for Brandon Maurer in 2014 but it did not end well. He has a nice four-pitch mix that should play in the major leagues but his command is inconsistent and he pitches up in the zone that can lead to balls traveling a long way. The Mariners are moving him to the bullpen and hopefully that will allow him to get a long-term lease in Seattle.
4. Next in Line Relief Prospects
- Stephen Pryor (RHP, Triple-A) – Fantasy relevance: Low