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White among MLB's best 1B prospects

MLB.com @JimCallisMLB

MLB Pipeline will unveil its 2019 Top 100 Prospects list with a one-hour show on MLB Network and MLB.com on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

First basemen don't usually draw a lot of acclaim as prospects, in large part because they tend to be less well-rounded players than those at other positions. When MLB Pipeline releases its new Top 100 next week, Minor League home run leader Peter Alonso will be the only first baseman who's not a two-way performer on the list.

MLB Pipeline will unveil its 2019 Top 100 Prospects list with a one-hour show on MLB Network and MLB.com on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

First basemen don't usually draw a lot of acclaim as prospects, in large part because they tend to be less well-rounded players than those at other positions. When MLB Pipeline releases its new Top 100 next week, Minor League home run leader Peter Alonso will be the only first baseman who's not a two-way performer on the list.

However, there has been a resurgence in first-base prospects in the last couple of years. The 2017 Draft featured five first basemen in the top 35 picks, and four of them -- Brendan McKay (Rays), Nick Pratto (Royals), Evan White (Mariners) and Brent Rooker (Twins) -- rank among the 10 best in the Minors at this moment.

Last June, Triston Casas (Red Sox) and Grant Lavigne (Rockies) went before the second round and quickly claimed spots on our first base Top 10. Another Rockies farmhand, Tyler Nevin, boosted his stock by leading the Arizona Fall League in all three slash categories (.426/.535/.593).

Top 10 Prospects by Position

While first base may not be loaded with five-tool prospects, the position possesses more depth than it typically does.

The Top 10 (ETA)
1. Peter Alonso, Mets (2019)
2. Evan White, Mariners (2020)
3. Nathaniel Lowe, Rays (2019)
4. Brendan McKay, Rays (2020)
5. Brent Rooker, Twins (2019)
6. Nick Pratto, Royals (2021)
7. Triston Casas, Red Sox (2022)
8. Grant Lavigne, Rockies (2022)
9. Tyler Nevin, Rockies (2020)
10. Matt Thaiss, Angels (2019)
Complete list »

Top Tools

Best Hitter: White, Lowe, McKay, Pratto, Lavigne, Nevin, Thaiss (55)
Lowe always had good plate discipline, but he broke out in 2018 by driving more balls in the air and tightening his strike zone further. He batted .330 and ranked fifth in the Minors with a .985 OPS. Nevin opened eyes in the AFL with his pure hitting ability and mastery of the strike zone, while organization mate Lavigne did the same in his pro debut by batting .350 and topping the Rookie-level Pioneer League with a .477 on-base percentage.

Video: Top Prospects: Tyler Nevin, 1B, Rockies

Best Power: Alonso, Rooker, Casas (60)
Alonso led the Minors with 36 homers during the regular season and the Arizona Fall League with six more, not including a shot off a 103-mph Nate Pearson fastball during the Fall Stars Game. His bat speed and strength produce tremendous exit velocities and translate his impressive raw power into game production.

Video: Top Prospects: Peter Alonso, 1B, Mets

Fastest Runner: White (60)
White has a highly unusual profile for a first baseman, as he bats right-handed and throws lefty, his hitting ability stands out more than his power and he's as athletic as it gets at the position. He's a plus runner, though his quickness is more apparent in the field than on the bases.

Video: Top Prospects: Evan White, 1B, Mariners

Best Arm: McKay, Pratto, Casas (60)
Both McKay and Casas had low-90s fastballs when they pitched as amateurs, and McKay continues to deal that kind of heat as he tries to make it as a two-way player. Pratto also was a two-way star as an amateur, throwing in the upper 80s and helping the U.S. national 18-and-under team win a pair of gold medals at international events.

Video: Top Prospects: Triston Casas, 1B, Red Sox

Best Defender: White (70)
White's defense gets the same rave reviews that Cody Bellinger's did when the Dodgers slugger was rising through the Minors. It's easy to envision him winning Gold Gloves in the big leagues, but he also has the quickness and solid arm strength to fit anywhere in the outfield if needed.

Superlatives

Highest Ceiling: Pratto
Pratto has the best chance to be a plus hitter for both average and power, and he also has Gold Glove potential at first base. After a slow start in his first full pro season, he batted .322/.394/.518 in the second half in the low Class A South Atlantic League and helped Lexington win the championship.

Video: Top Prospects: Nick Pratto, 1B, Royals

Highest Floor: White
White is a safe bet to hit thanks to his advanced approach and ability to barrel the ball, and he's beginning to unlock the power potential in his 6-foot-3, 205-pound frame. He's also an outstanding defender and has the versatility to play all three outfield spots.

Rookie of the Year Candidate: Alonso
The Mets have crowded their infield by trading for Robinson Cano and J.D. Davis and signing Jed Lowrie, and they have plenty of candidates to play first base. None of them can match Alonso's power, however, and he has little to prove in the Minors except for upgrading his defense.

Highest Riser: Lowe
Lowe hit just seven homers in his first full pro season and ranked 13th on MLB Pipeline's Rays Top 30 Prospects list a year ago. After making adjustments to his swing, he slammed 27 homers during his coming-out party in 2018 and should push for a big league role with Tampa Bay, which lacks a surefire starter at first base or DH.

Video: Top Prospects: Nate Lowe, 1B, Rays

Humblest Beginning: Lowe
When the Rays signed Lowe for $100,000 as a 13th-rounder out of Mississippi State in 2016, it was seen as a favor to his younger brother Josh, whom they selected 13th overall in the first round of the same Draft. Two years later, Nathaniel had surpassed him as a prospect.

Most To Prove: McKay
Trying to make it as both a hitter and a pitcher is a difficult task. The No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 Draft, McKay lived up to his reputation as being more advanced on the mound by logging a 2.41 ERA with a 103/14 K/BB ratio in 78 1/3 innings on the mound in his first full pro season. He batted just .214/.368/.359, however, and he'll have to up his production if he wants to continue pulling double duty.

Video: Top Prospects: Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, Rays

Keep An Eye On: Luken Baker, Cardinals
Another two-way star, Baker could have gone in the top two rounds of the 2015 Draft as a pitcher out of high school if he hadn't been set on attending Texas Christian. He gave up pitching after his freshman season but has tremendous strength and leverage in his 6-foot-4, 265-pound frame, giving him huge power upside that led the Cardinals to draft him in the second round last June.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

30 best defensive prospects -- 1 for each team

MLB.com

MLB Pipeline recently unveiled its annual All-Defense Team, but there were only so many spots to fill. It made us realize there were so many outstanding defenders across all 30 organizations.

Evaluating defense is still very much subjective, with metrics measuring fielding still imperfect. Still, each system has glovework that stands out more than others, and we considered many to present one best defender from each organization.

MLB Pipeline recently unveiled its annual All-Defense Team, but there were only so many spots to fill. It made us realize there were so many outstanding defenders across all 30 organizations.

Evaluating defense is still very much subjective, with metrics measuring fielding still imperfect. Still, each system has glovework that stands out more than others, and we considered many to present one best defender from each organization.

American League East

Orioles: Cadyn Grenier, SS, No. 9
Grenier's stellar glovework at shortstop was key in helping Oregon State win the 2018 College World Series, and in the process, he established himself as one of the best defensive prospects in the Draft before going to the Orioles as the No. 37 overall pick. With good hands, plus arm strength and plenty of range, Grenier has all the ingredients needed to stick at the position long term.

Red Sox: Bobby Dalbec, 3B, No. 6
Dalbec has always possessed a strong arm and has worked hard to improve his agility and range at third base, with several Red Sox officials rating him as a plus defender and scouts outside the organization grading him more as solid. He also owns prodigious raw power and ranked second in the Minors in extra-base hits (70) and RBIs (109) last year, and fourth in homers (32).

Yankees: Estevan Florial, OF, No. 1 (MLB No. 45)
Florial has some of the best all-around tools in the Minors, with well-above-average raw power, speed and arm strength. He continues to improve as a center fielder, projecting as a plus defender, and has an exceptionally strong arm for the position.

Rays: Lucius Fox, SS, No. 9
While there's no shortage of standout defenders in the highly athletic Rays system, Fox, a top-flight athlete with plus-plus speed, could be the best. He's played shortstop exclusively as a pro and committed 15 errors in 105 games last season while reaching Double-A at age 21. His athleticism makes him an electrifying defender, and he has the requisite physical tools to remain at the position for the long haul.

Video: EAST@WEST: Fox showcases range, slick glove in 3rd

Blue Jays: Kevin Vicuna, SS, unranked
The Blue Jays felt so good about Vicuna's defense in 2017 that they had the then-19-year-old handle shortstop duties for Class A Advanced Dunedin from April 23-June 1, even though Vicuna previously had never played above the Rookie Gulf Coast League. He's an athletic and, at times, flashy defender, with quick, twitchy hands that help him absorb anything hit his way and a quick release that causes his average arm strength to play up across the infield.

AL Central

White Sox: Nick Madrigal, 2B, No. 5 (MLB No. 49)
The White Sox may try Madrigal at shortstop, because he has the hands and actions to thrive there, but his average arm makes him a better fit at second base. With his quickness and instincts, he could be a Gold Glove Award winner at the keystone, and he also rated as the best pure hitter in the 2018 Draft, where he went No. 4 overall.

Video: Top Prospects: Nick Madrigal, 2B, White Sox

Indians: Eric Haase, C, No. 27
Haase reached the Majors for the first time late last season, seven years after the Indians took him in the seventh round of the 2011 Draft. Though he's blossomed on both sides of the ball during the past two seasons, it's been Haase's defensive gains that have helped him climb the Tribe's depth chart. After throwing out 37 percent of attempted basestealers in 2017, Haase improved that mark to nearly 49 percent in '18 (33 of 68).

Tigers: Jake Rogers, C, No. 12
The Tigers got Rogers as part of the Justin Verlander deal, and in Rogers' first full season with the organization, he cemented himself as the game's best defensive catching prospect, earning a spot on MLB Pipeline's All-Defense Team for the second year in a row. He threw out 55.6 percent of potential basestealers in 2018, upping his career rate to 48.5 percent.

Royals: Sebastian Rivero, C, unranked
M.J. Melendez is very athletic for a catcher and has a chance to become a plus defender with an arm to match. Yet South Atlantic League managers rated Rivero, his teammate at Lexington last summer, the low Class A circuit's best defensive backstop in a Baseball America survey last year. The Royals liken Rivero to a young Salvador Perez, and in addition to his physical ability, Rivero also draws raves for his leadership skills, intelligence and work ethic.

Twins: Gilberto Celestino, OF, No. 14
Signed by the Astros for $2.5 million in 2015, Celestino made his United States debut in '17, then got dealt to the Twins in the Ryan Pressly trade last season. He's drawn comparisons to Albert Almora Jr. for his instincts in center, and coaches in Elizabethton feel he's one of the best defenders they've ever seen.

AL West

Astros: Myles Straw, OF, No. 15
Straw has double-plus speed that gives him tremendous range in center field, where his plus arm also stands out at a position not noted for strong throwers. That quickness also plays well on the bases (he topped the Minors with 70 steals in only 79 attempts in 2018) and allows him to beat out hits (he led the Minors with a .358 batting average in '16).

Angels: Jordyn Adams, OF, No. 6
The Angels signed Adams away from playing football and baseball at North Carolina, and he immediately put his tools on display during his pro debut and during instructs. He's still raw, but the Angels feel he has elite range and the highest ceiling as a defender in the organization.

A's: Nick Allen, SS, No. 15
Allen was viewed by many scouts as perhaps the best defensive prospect available in the 2017 Draft, and he's done nothing to diminish that reputation after signing for more than double slot value as the A's third-round pick. There is no doubt among scouts that Allen can stick at shortstop. He's already a plus defender there, with outstanding range that leads to many highlight-reel plays and plus arm strength that allows him to make throws from all over the diamond.

Mariners: Evan White, 1B, No. 5
It's not often a first baseman is mentioned as one of the premier defensive players in the Minors, but that's the reality with White, who recently was named to the All-Defense Team. All signs point to him becoming a Gold Glove Award winner at the position, as he's athletic with outstanding footwork, a strong arm and plus range. His ability to pick throws is elite, and he makes every infielder on his team better as a result.

Video: Top Prospects: Evan White, 1B, Mariners

Rangers: Jose Trevino, C, No. 28
Trevino won Rawlings Minor League Gold Gloves in both 2016 and '17, before surgery on his non-throwing shoulder last July squashed any chances of a three-peat. He's an outstanding receiver and blocker, gets the most out of his strong arm with a quick release and accurate throws and also earns high marks for his ability to run a pitching staff.

National League East

Braves: Cristian Pache, OF, No. 6  (MLB No. 68)
Pache is generally considered to be the best defender in the Minor Leagues, leading our All-Defense Prospect Team. He has the speed and instincts to be a Gold Glove center fielder to go along with a right fielder's arm.

Video: Mayo looks at MLB Pipeline's 2019 All-Defense Team

Marlins: Jose Devers, SS/2B, No. 13
The cousin of Red Sox third basemen Rafael Devers, Jose was acquired by the Marlins last offseason in the blockbuster trade that sent Giancarlo Stanton to the Bronx. While he doesn't have his cousin's offensive profile, Devers is a far superior defender, with the soft hands, slick footwork and strong arm needed to be a big league shortstop. He showcased his defensive prowess last season, committing only seven errors and posting a .971 fielding percentage as an 18-year-old in full-season ball.

Mets: Andres Gimenez, SS, No. 1 (MLB No. 55)
The shortstop on our All-Defense Team, Gimenez reached Double-A in 2018 as a teenager. While he needs to add strength offensively, he has everything he needs to play shortstop defensively in the big leagues. He has plus hands, range and the internal clock to allow him to slow the game down.

Phillies: Luis Garcia, SS, No. 14
Signed for $2.5 million in July 2017, Garcia had a tremendous debut in the Gulf Coast League in '18 on both sides of the ball. He has a strong arm to go along with terrific hands and feet, and speed that gives him excellent range to stay at shortstop long term. He's only going to get better as he matures.

Nationals: Victor Robles, OF, No. 1 (MLB No. 4)
Revered as one of the top defenders in the Minor Leagues and a member of MLB Pipeline's All-Defense Team, Robles has game-changing abilities in center field. His near top-of-the-scale speed gives him range for days in center field, and he's made strides in improving both his reads and routes in the past two years. His plus-plus arm is among the strongest in the Minors, and he totaled 29 outfield assists from 2016-17 before an injury-plagued campaign in '18.

Video: Top Prospects: Victor Robles, OF, Nationals

NL Central

Cubs: Miguel Amaya, C, No. 1 (MLB No. 87)
Amaya's defensive ability and makeup led the Cubs to sign him for $1.25 million out of Panama in 2015, and he continues to impress even though he has been pushed aggressively in the Minors. His aptitude to frame and block pitches is advanced for a teenager, and his arm strength has improved to at least solid and plays up because of his quick transfer and accuracy.

Reds: Mike Siani, OF, No. 9
The Reds' fourth-round pick got first-round money to sign because of his all-around tools. But his defensive skills have long stood out, and he might have been the best defensive outfielder in the 2018 Draft class, with the ability to cover a ton of ground in center and an arm that allowed him to throw low-90s fastballs from the mound in high school.

Brewers: Payton Henry, C, No. 11
A sixth-round pick in 2016 who signed for nearly twice his slot value, Henry threw out nearly 44 percent (46 of 105) of attempted basestealers and had only six passed balls in his first full season. A quick release and a strong, accurate arm help Henry to combat the running game, and evaluators have been impressed with how he's developed a receiving style that utilizes his big, athletic frame. Henry is also praised for his energy and leadership skills.

Pirates: Ke'Bryan Hayes, 3B, No. 2 (MLB No. 48)
Hayes was the third baseman on our All-Defense Team, and for good reason. He entered pro ball as one of the better defenders at the hot corner, but he's gotten even better as he's committed himself to his conditioning, adding to his agility and range to make him the best in the Minors at the position.

Cardinals: Delvin Perez, SS, No. 28
The Cardinals' first-round pick in 2016 has had trouble finding any traction offensively, but there are no concerns about his defensive chops. He gets plus grades on his arm and his overall fielding, thanks to a plus arm when he needs it, above-average hands and plus speed that helps him cover a lot of ground.

NL West

D-backs: Geraldo Perdomo, SS, No. 21
Perdomo's United States debut in 2018 was solid all-around, and he even earned a promotion from the Arizona Rookie League to the Pioneer League in the process. Tall and rangy, the teenager has shown the tools to stay at shortstop long term with outstanding range, actions and hands to go with a strong arm.

Rockies: Yonathan Daza, OF, No. 18
Thanks to his plus speed and fine instincts, Daza covers a lot of ground in center field, and he possesses a plus-plus arm that stands out at his position. He's also a career .310 hitter who won the Class A Advanced California League batting title in 2017 with a .341 mark.

Dodgers: Will Smith, C, No. 5
An outstanding athlete for a catcher, Smith has already shown that he's capable of playing third base and filling in at second. He has very soft hands and impressive agility, making him a fine receiver and framer, and he has a solid arm that plays better than that because of his fast footwork.

Padres: Buddy Reed, OF, No. 13
A member of MLB Pipeline's All-Defense Team, Reed's 70-grade speed and long, gliding strides allow him to cover huge swaths of territory in center field -- and he showcased that with his catch in last year's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. Reed also has a strong arm and recorded 12 outfield assists in 2018, surpassing his combined total from his first two seasons.

Video: WLD@USA: Reed wired up, makes great grab at the wall

Giants: Joey Bart, C, No. 1 (MLB No. 23)
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 Draft, Bart draws more attention with his bat, but his work behind the plate is impressive as well. He has improved markedly since high school, when scouts wondered if he could stay at catcher, enhancing his agility and receiving and improving the accuracy of his strong arm.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Inbox: Who will get Opening Day nod?

Mariners beat reporter Greg Johns answers fan questions
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

Who do you think is the No. 1 one starter in the Mariners' rotation right now, and who gets the Opening Day start?
-- Curly J., Sunnyside, Wash.

Based on last season's results -- and with James Paxton being traded to the Yankees -- I'd make the case that Marco Gonzales is the Mariners' top returning starter after leading the club with a 13-9 record and 4.00 ERA. We'll have to see how newcomer Yusei Kikuchi looks this spring before deciding if he warrants consideration, though his reputation clearly puts him in that picture as well.

Who do you think is the No. 1 one starter in the Mariners' rotation right now, and who gets the Opening Day start?
-- Curly J., Sunnyside, Wash.

Based on last season's results -- and with James Paxton being traded to the Yankees -- I'd make the case that Marco Gonzales is the Mariners' top returning starter after leading the club with a 13-9 record and 4.00 ERA. We'll have to see how newcomer Yusei Kikuchi looks this spring before deciding if he warrants consideration, though his reputation clearly puts him in that picture as well.

:: Submit a question to the Mariners Inbox ::

Mike Leake was the Mariners' most-durable starter last year with a team-high 31 starts and 185 innings while going 10-10 with a 4.36 ERA and Wade LeBlanc is the savvy veteran who posted the lowest ERA for any of the rotation members last year while going 9-5 with a 3.72 ERA.

But who will be the Opening Day starter on March 20 against the A's in Tokyo? That's a question that figures to play out over the course of Spring Training and could largely depend on how Felix Hernandez looks in camp. If Hernandez comes in sharp and in shape, the Mariners could let him make some history despite his rough 2018 campaign.

Video: SEA@SD: Hernandez K's 9 over 7 frames vs. Padres

If Hernandez gets the call, his 11th consecutive Opening Day start with the same team would move him into a tie for second all-time behind only Robin Roberts (Phillies, 1950-61). And Hernandez is 7-2 with a 1.53 ERA in 11 Opening Day starts, including a 2-1 win last year against Corey Kluber and the Indians.

Will he get that opportunity again in Tokyo? That will indeed be an interesting storyline to watch this spring during what will be Hernandez's final season on a contract still owing him $27 million.

Why isn't Kikuchi ranked as one of the Mariners' top prospects?
-- Dakota H., Bonney Lake, Wash.

To be regarded as a "prospect" by MLB Pipeline, players must have rookie eligibility, which for the most part means less than 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues. But they don't include players who are 25 or older and have competed in professional leagues in Japan, Korea, Taiwan or Cuba. So Kikuchi, at 27, isn't included on prospect rankings, though he will still be a rookie in MLB and eligible for Rookie of the Year honors and such.

Video: Mariners could be creative with Kikuchi's workload

It seems that Logan Gilbert has been buried under all of the new names coming into the system this offseason. What is his ceiling and when can we expect him in the big leagues?
-- Justin K., Gig Harbor, Wash.

You're right, June's first-round Draft pick has been largely overshadowed by the acquisitions of top pitching prospects Justus Sheffield and Erik Swanson from the Yankees and Justin Dunn from the Mets. Gilbert came down with mononucleosis shortly after signing with Seattle and has yet to pitch professionally, but the 6-foot-6 right-hander definitely figures prominently among the projected group of young arms that general manager Jerry Dipoto is collecting.

Gilbert is currently ranked as the Mariners' No. 6 prospect per MLB Pipeline, which puts him behind Sheffield (No. 1) and Dunn (3) and ahead of Swanson (11), though those three are ahead of him developmentally since they all have considerable pro experience. Gilbert will likely start this season in Class A West Virginia or Class A Advanced Modesto, so he's at least a year or two away from an MLB opportunity.

Saw rumors that the Mariners are pursuing Sonny Gray. Have you heard anything about it? If we did get him, which starter would most likely end up in bullpen?
-- Janae P., Keizer, Ore.

I've seen Seattle mentioned as one of the potential trade targets for the Yankees right-hander in some media reports, but frankly I don't see any chance of that happening. Gray will be a free agent after earning $7.5 million this season, so clearly he doesn't fit the 2020-and-beyond window Dipoto has been targeting. The Mariners were interested in Gray at the July 31 Trade Deadline in '17 when the A's dealt him to the Yankees, but I certainly don't see the club trading away prospects for a one-year rental now.

Video: NYY@BAL: Gray strikes out 7 in 6 1/3 scoreless frames

Who are the Mariners' top catcher and third-base prospects? None I am aware of with MLB potential. If Seattle did find a trading partner for Kyle Seager or expect top prospects for giving up Mitch Haniger, wouldn't these be two position priorities?
-- Hap F., Santa Barbara, Calif.

The catching cupboard isn't as bare as you think, assuming 26-year-old Omar Narvaez lives up to hopes after being acquired from the White Sox for Alex Colome. Narvaez isn't a "prospect" as he's started 177 big league games, but he has four years of team control remaining. The Mariners are also pretty high on Cal Raleigh, June's third-round Draft pick out of Florida State.

Video: MLB Now on Colome to White Sox, Narvaez to Mariners

I don't think Seager (or Haniger) will be traded this year. But since you asked, Joe Rizzo, a second-round pick in 2016, is the top prospect at third base, though he's still a ways off as a 20-year-old who played at Class A Advanced Modesto last year. In the shorter term, recently signed veteran free agent Tim Beckham will likely start out at shortstop, but he's capable of playing third base if needed.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners

Curletta uses '18 to launch onto Mariners' radar

Seattle prospect earns organization's Minor League Hitter of the Year Award, invite to big league camp
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- While much has been made of the Mariners' newly acquired youngsters this winter, there are a few returning prospects to keep an eye on when Spring Training opens next month in Peoria, Ariz., as well.

One of those will be hard to miss, given Joey Curletta stands in at 6-foot-4 and 245 pounds, making him one of the biggest Mariners in camp in size, if not name recognition.

SEATTLE -- While much has been made of the Mariners' newly acquired youngsters this winter, there are a few returning prospects to keep an eye on when Spring Training opens next month in Peoria, Ariz., as well.

One of those will be hard to miss, given Joey Curletta stands in at 6-foot-4 and 245 pounds, making him one of the biggest Mariners in camp in size, if not name recognition.

Curletta isn't a hyped prospect. He's yet to crack the Mariners' Top 30 list from MLB Pipeline and hasn't advanced past Double-A despite being just about a month shy of his 25th birthday. But the Arizona native put together a breakout year last season for Double-A Arkansas, discovering new-found success and earning Texas League Player of the Year honors after restructuring his swing in an effort to better elevate the ball.

Whether there's a spot on the Major League club for Curletta this year remains a question, but the Mariners chose to promote him to their 40-man roster this winter rather than let him get away as a six-year Minor League free agent.

And with Nelson Cruz now departed and Edwin Encarnacion on the trading block, it's not crazy to think the Mariners might find some designated hitter at-bats somewhere in the future, if not a shot at first base should Curletta provide any hint that he could be part of the future nucleus general manager Jerry Dipoto is looking to build.

A sixth-round Draft pick of the Dodgers in 2012, Curletta didn't quite find his footing until midway through his first season with Seattle after he was acquired from the Phillies for switch-pitcher Pat Venditte in '17.

"It really started toward the tail end of 2017 in [Class A Advanced] Modesto," said Andy McKay, the Mariners' director of player development. "That second half, [Curletta] really started putting things together. You could see there was a bit of a transformation going on there.

"And he really never stopped in Double-A this past year. He just kept getting better. The Texas League is a really good league, and to be named the best player in that league is really saying something. We're very happy for him. Obviously we re-signed him and are glad he's still a Mariner."

Curletta slashed .282/.383/.482 with 23 homers and 94 RBIs in 129 games for Arkansas, by far the best numbers of his career. Despite the jump to Double-A ball, he greatly improved his strikeout-to-walk ratio as well, with 81 walks and 130 strikeouts in 556 plate appearances.

"Being OK taking pitches that I don't hit that well, that was a big thing for me," Curletta said after earning Seattle's Ken Griffey Jr. Award as the organization's top Minor League hitter last season. "And trying to hit the ball in the air a little more. As the year progressed, I gained confidence and put it together and started believing in myself more than I had in the past."

Tweet from @ARTravs: #Travs players were honored at Safeco Field prior to the game last Friday for the @Mariners 2018 Minor League awards. Congrats @bradenbishop7 @jcurllll and @mfesta33 !Follow the link below for the 2018 season recap: https://t.co/fYnpIwuaBT pic.twitter.com/6HrrnPxDWt

The Mariners are starting to believe in Curletta as well, which is why they protected him on their 40-man roster. While he's a little older than most developing prospects, McKay notes that the new emphasis on elevating the ball and improving launch angles to increase power has helped unleash increased potential in a few players -- like Mitch Haniger and Braden Bishop in the Mariners' organization -- at later points in their careers.

"Right now, we are kind of in an era where you're able to find quite a few players that have really transformed their careers with some basic swing changes," McKay said. "Probably more so than in my 25 years in the game. The obvious is Chris Taylor, and they're all over the league.

"Basically, players are making a real effort to lift the baseball and get it up in the air, where probably the first 20 years of my life nobody talked about doing that. Now you're seeing players change the trajectory of their careers based on making a few changes. And Joey definitely falls into that category."

Whether he can advance that approach now in Triple-A or the Major Leagues remains to be seen. But after spending the offseason at home in Tempe, Ariz., Curletta will get an opportunity next month to take part in his first Major League camp and see where that leads.

The challenge will be not trying too hard, but just continuing his upward path at his own pace.

"I just have to continue to do what I did this last year, and show people what kind of player I am," he said. "Be true to myself, not try to do too much. Keep progressing in terms of maturity and understanding my swing and myself."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Joey Curletta

First Spring Training workout dates for all clubs

MLB.com @mattkellyMLB

Major League Baseball has revealed the first Spring Training workout dates for pitchers and catchers and those for the full squads for all 30 clubs. MLB also announced game times for all Cactus and Grapefruit League action in February and March.

Major League Baseball has revealed the first Spring Training workout dates for pitchers and catchers and those for the full squads for all 30 clubs. MLB also announced game times for all Cactus and Grapefruit League action in February and March.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

The A's, fresh off their surprise run to the 2018 American League Wild Card Game, will be the first club to have its pitchers and catchers report. They'll do so on Monday, Feb. 11, followed by the Indians and Mariners on Feb. 12 and the remainder of MLB clubs in the days following. Oakland and Seattle will travel to Tokyo to stage two exhibition games each against Japanese teams on March 17-18, followed by the first two games of the 2019 regular season on March 20-21 at Tokyo Dome.

Complete Spring Training schedule

Oakland and Seattle will hold their first full-squad workouts on Saturday, Feb. 16, in Arizona, with the rest of MLB following suit in the days after. The Braves will be the last club to hold its first full-squad workout, doing so on Thursday, Feb. 21. The A's and Mariners open Cactus League action with a matchup on Feb. 21, and the Rays and Phillies open up Grapefruit League action the following day. The Red Sox and Tigers will play exhibition games against college teams on Feb. 22.

Here are first-workout dates for pitchers and catchers and full squads for each team:

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Angels: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Astros: Feb. 14/Feb. 18
Athletics: Feb. 11/Feb. 16
Blue Jays: Feb. 14/Feb. 18
Indians: Feb. 12/Feb. 18
Mariners: Feb. 12/Feb. 16
Orioles: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Rangers: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Rays: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Red Sox: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Royals: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Tigers: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Twins: Feb. 14/Feb. 18
White Sox: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Yankees: Feb. 14/Feb. 19

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Braves: Feb. 16/Feb. 21
Brewers: Feb. 14/Feb. 19
Cardinals: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Cubs: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Diamondbacks: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Dodgers: Feb. 13/Feb. 19
Giants: Feb. 14/Feb. 19
Marlins: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Mets: Feb. 14/Feb. 18
Nationals: Feb. 14/Feb. 19
Padres: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Phillies: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Pirates: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Reds: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Rockies: Feb. 13/Feb. 18

Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.

Long-time pitching coach Stottlemyre dies at 77

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- Mel Stottlemyre, who served as pitching coach of the Mariners in 2008 and is the father of recent Mariners pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr., died Monday after a lengthy battle with bone marrow cancer at the age of 77.

Stottlemyre is a life-long Washington state resident, growing up in Mabton in the Yakima area and retiring in Issaquah with Jean, his wife of 55 years, after his extensive career in Major League Baseball.

SEATTLE -- Mel Stottlemyre, who served as pitching coach of the Mariners in 2008 and is the father of recent Mariners pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr., died Monday after a lengthy battle with bone marrow cancer at the age of 77.

Stottlemyre is a life-long Washington state resident, growing up in Mabton in the Yakima area and retiring in Issaquah with Jean, his wife of 55 years, after his extensive career in Major League Baseball.

"Mel was an outstanding pitcher, earning his place among the best Yankees pitchers ever, and won five World [Series] titles as a pitching coach, as well as the thanks and respect of a legion of pitchers he coached from youth baseball to the Majors," Mariners president and CEO Kevin Mather said in a statement. "But more than that, he was truly one of the great gentlemen of our game.

"I was honored to get to know him when he was our pitching coach and was always pleased to see him in Seattle or in the ballpark when his son, Mel Jr., coached for us. Our thoughts are with his wife, Jean, sons, Mel Jr. and Todd, and his grandchildren."

Stottlemyre was a five-time All-Star pitcher for the Yankees and posted a 164-139 record and 2.97 ERA in 11 seasons in the Majors, then went on to become one of the most-respected pitching coaches in the game while working for the Mets (1984-93), Astros (1994-95), Yankees (1996-2005) and Mariners (2008).

Stottlemyre also worked as a roving Minor League pitching instructor with the Mariners from their inception in 1977 through the '81 season, and did a handful of games as a color commentator on TV with Dave Niehaus in '77.

Stottlemyre was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2000. He underwent a stem-cell transplant and four months of chemotherapy, and eventually remission was attained. But the cancer reappeared in '11. He was honored with a plaque in Yankee Stadium in a surprise ceremony in 2015, saying at the time that he expected it would be his final visit there.

Two of his sons, Todd and Mel Jr., pitched in the Major Leagues. A third son, Jason, died of leukemia in 1981 at age 11.

Mel Jr. worked as the Mariners' pitching coach the past three seasons before being released after the 2018 campaign. He's since been hired as pitching coach of the Marlins.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners

Sheffield among MLB's best LHP prospects

MLB.com @GoldenSombrero

MLB Pipeline will unveil its 2019 Top 100 Prospects list with a one-hour show on MLB Network and MLB.com on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

Jesus Luzardo cracked last year's list of the Top 10 left-handed pitching prospects at No. 8 even though he had logged fewer than 50 professional innings in his return from Tommy John surgery.

MLB Pipeline will unveil its 2019 Top 100 Prospects list with a one-hour show on MLB Network and MLB.com on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

Jesus Luzardo cracked last year's list of the Top 10 left-handed pitching prospects at No. 8 even though he had logged fewer than 50 professional innings in his return from Tommy John surgery.

Flash forward a year and the 21-year-old southpaw now headlines our Top 10 LHP list, ranking as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball after a tremendous first full season in which he nearly reached the Major Leagues.

Video: Top Prospects: Jesus Luzardo, LHP, Athletics

He is one of seven members on our Top 10 who were selected out of the high school ranks, and overall, nine players are products of the Draft. The only non-Draft pick of the group, Adrian Morejon of the Padres, signed for $11 million in July 2016.

Top 10 Prospects by Position

Speaking of the Padres, their organization has four left-handers on this year's list, marking the first time a team has had that many players on a single list in the nine years that we've been putting out Top 10 by Position rankings. Meanwhile, the A's and Rays both check in with two members each.

The Top 10 (ETA)
1. Jesus Luzardo, Athletics (2019)
2. MacKenzie Gore, Padres (2021)
3. Brendan McKay, Rays (2020)
4. A.J. Puk, Athletics (2020)
5. Justus Sheffield, Mariners (2019)
6. Adrian Morejon, Padres (2020)
7. Matthew Liberatore, Rays (2021)
8. Logan Allen, Padres (2019)
9. DL Hall, Orioles (2021)
10. Ryan Weathers, Padres (2021)
Complete list »

Top tools

Best Fastball: Puk (70)
Puk's fastball was sitting in the mid-90s and frequently hitting 96- to 97-mph before he underwent Tommy John surgery last April. He shouldn't have any trouble producing the same type of velocity with a healthy return to the mound in 2019, though as is the case with many Tommy John recipients, his control of the pitch may initially lag behind.

Video: Top Prospects: A.J. Puk, LHP, Athletics

Best Curveball: Gore, Morejon, Liberatore (60)
Gore's curveball is a plus offering, thought it wasn't as sharp last year in the Midwest League as he dealt with a blister issue. Morejon's deuce, on the other hand, took a step forward last year, and Liberatore showcased his plus curve across two levels last year during his pro debut.

Video: Top Prospects: MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Padres

Best Slider: Puk, Sheffield (65)
Puk's slider is one of the best in the Minors, a legitimate swing-and-miss offering that registers in the mid- to upper-80s and is effective against hitters on the both sides of the plate and helped him register 184 strikeouts over 125 frames in 2017. Sheffield's slider is less consistent but earns similar grades and serves as his out-pitch.

Video: Top Prospects: Justus Sheffield, LHP, Mariners

Best Changeup: Luzardo, Allen (60)
Luzardo and Allen earn plus grades for their respective changeups, and both lefties use the pitch to neutralize right-handed hitters. Allen held righties to a a .209/.292/.322 line in 2018, and they mustered just .213/.270/.333 against Luzardo.

Video: Top Prospects: Logan Allen, LHP, Padres

Best Control: Luzardo, McKay (60)
The two-way McKay demonstrated exceptional control last season as he issued just 1.6 walks-per-nine over 78 1/3 frames in the lower Minors. Luzardo is younger and has more gains to make, but he also should have plus control once he's fully developed.

Highest Ceiling: Luzardo
As a 20-year-old pitching for the first time since Tommy John, Luzardo showed all the ingredients needed to become a frontline starter in the big leagues -- and possibly very soon. He has a premium arsenal in a fastball, curveball and changeup that all grade as above-average or better, as well as control and command that allow him to execute each pitch. If it all comes together for him, Luzardo could be one of the game's best left-handed pitchers and a perennial Cy Young Award candidate.

Highest Floor: McKay
McKay has had considerably more success as a pitcher than a position player as a pro and ostensibly stands to reach the Majors faster in that role. While nothing he throws is truly overpowering, McKay can dissect the zone with precision using his entire arsenal, inducing a healthy mix of whiffs, weak contact and very few walks. Altogether, it gives McKay a safe floor as at least a backend starter at the highest level.

Video: Top Prospects: Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, Rays

Rookie of the Year Candidate: Luzardo
Luzardo ascended from Class A Advanced Stockton to Triple-A Nashville last season and nearly reached the Major Leagues before the A's shut him down due to workload. It shouldn't be long before he assumes a spot in the A's 2019 rotation, and many within the organization view Luzardo as one of the best pitching prospects in franchise history.

Highest Riser: Hall
The Orioles' first-round pick from 2017 had his workload limited during his first full season, never eclipsing 90 pitches in an outing, but he made big improvements during a dominant second half in the Class A South Atlantic League, posting a 0.84 ERA with 64 strikeouts and a .171 BAA over his final 53 2/3 frames (11 starts).

Video: Top Prospects: DL Hall, LHP, Orioles

Humblest Beginnings: Allen
Originally an eighth-round pick -- making him the lowest Draft pick on our list -- by the Red Sox in 2015 before joining San Diego in the Craig Kimbrel trade, Allen faced some injury concerns early in his career but put it all behind him with a breakout 2018 campaign. He projects as a high-probability backend starter, perhaps more with better control.

Most To Prove: Puk
Puk was poised to pitch meaningful innings for the A's in 2018 before Tommy John surgery wiped out his year. He showed huge upside before getting hurt, especially in regards to missing bats, and all eyes will be drawn to the 2016 first-rounder when he returns to the mound this season.

Keep An Eye On: Daniel Lynch, Royals
The Royals had Lynch, the No. 34 overall pick in the 2018 Draft, focus on throwing more four-seam fastballs last summer and saw his heater sit at 92- to 95-mph and touch 97 during his impressive pro debut. That uptick in velocity, along with his feel for three average-or-better secondaries, could put Lynch firmly on the prospect radar in his first full season.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Andreoli claimed off waivers by Rangers

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- Outfielder John Andreoli, who was reacquired on a waiver claim by the Mariners earlier this offseason, was claimed by the Rangers on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old played three games for Seattle in 2018, and he spent much of his season with Triple-A Tacoma before being claimed by the Orioles in August. Andreoli was 1-for-5 with a walk in three games for the Mariners, and he batted .287/.397/.401 with three homers, 36 RBIs and 19 stolen bases in 89 games for Tacoma. He hit .232/.279/.268 with no home runs and four RBIs in 61 plate appearances in 23 games for the Orioles in the final six weeks of 2018.

SEATTLE -- Outfielder John Andreoli, who was reacquired on a waiver claim by the Mariners earlier this offseason, was claimed by the Rangers on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old played three games for Seattle in 2018, and he spent much of his season with Triple-A Tacoma before being claimed by the Orioles in August. Andreoli was 1-for-5 with a walk in three games for the Mariners, and he batted .287/.397/.401 with three homers, 36 RBIs and 19 stolen bases in 89 games for Tacoma. He hit .232/.279/.268 with no home runs and four RBIs in 61 plate appearances in 23 games for the Orioles in the final six weeks of 2018.

Andreoli originally was signed by the Mariners as a Minor League free agent after the 2017 season. In eight Minor League seasons, the University of Connecticut product hit .270 with 37 homers and 247 stolen bases in 773 games.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, John Andreoli

The MLB.com Hall of Fame ballot results are ...

MLB.com

Six MLB.com writers were among those eligible to cast ballots in the 2019 Hall of Fame vote conducted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

• Complete Hall of Fame coverage

Six MLB.com writers were among those eligible to cast ballots in the 2019 Hall of Fame vote conducted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

• Complete Hall of Fame coverage

As many as four candidates -- and possibly more -- could be elected, according to the public ballots amassed online. Here's a look at how the six voted, and at the bottom you can see what the totals look like among this group:

T.R. Sullivan
1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Roy Halladay
4. Edgar Martinez
5. Fred McGriff
6. Mike Mussina
7. Mariano Rivera
8. Billy Wagner
9. Larry Walker
10. Michael Young

There are many offensive players who could/should be elected based on their career numbers. I strongly believe McGriff is unfairly overlooked because he was one of the last great hitters before the offensive explosion of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Mussina also thrived as a starting pitcher in the American League right in the thick of that era. It should not have taken him this long to be elected. I'm not big on comparables, but Wagner was every bit as good of a reliever as Rivera or Trevor Hoffman.

Video: MLB Tonight on Mike Mussina's Hall of Fame case

Mark Feinsand
1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Roy Halladay
4. Edgar Martinez
5. Mike Mussina
6. Manny Ramirez
7. Mariano Rivera
8. Curt Schilling
9. Gary Sheffield
10. Omar Vizquel

Three of the players I voted for a year ago -- Vladimir Guerrero, Chipper Jones and Jim Thome -- were inducted into the Hall, so the holdovers (Bonds, Clemens, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Schilling and Sheffield) took up the first seven spots on my ballot.

That left me with up to three open spots to fill. Rivera was an obvious choice for one of them in his first time on the ballot, as was Halladay, who, despite a modest win total (203), was one of the most dominant pitchers of his generation. Although I delved into their statistics to confirm what I already knew, these two were no-brainers.

Video: Roy Halladay's case for the Hall of Fame

The final spot was a little more difficult. After a first examination of the 26 players, I narrowed down my choice to Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Fred McGriff, Andy Pettitte, Scott Rolen, Vizquel, Larry Walker and Vernon Wells. (OK, Wells wasn't really on my list, but he was one of my favorite players I ever covered, so I considered using my last spot for him for about 30 seconds.)

Although I probably would have voted for five or six of these players had the ballot been open-ended and without the 10-man limit, my choice ultimately came down to two: Pettitte and Vizquel.

Pettitte is viewed by many as a borderline candidate, a take I can't argue with. While his candidacy might be seen differently by voters, I think he belongs in the conversation. (Based on my voting history, I'm obviously not holding his HGH admission against him.) Having seen similar players such as Jorge Posada, Kenny Lofton and Johan Santana fall off the ballot in their first years, I considered voting for Pettitte in an effort to help him get the requisite 5 percent for him to be on the ballot again next year.

Ultimately, Vizquel's excellence in the field (he took home 11 Gold Gloves and is in the conversation as the best defensive shortstop ever) won out. He might not have been an offensive force, but Vizquel was far from an automatic out, finishing his career with 2,877 hits. Pettitte had a great career and will likely be in the mix for my vote again next year, but my belief that Vizquel should be in the Hall outweighed my hopes of seeing Pettitte remain on the ballot.

Jeffrey Flanagan
1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Roy Halladay
4. Andruw Jones
5. Edgar Martinez
6. Mike Mussina
7. Manny Ramirez
8. Mariano Rivera
9. Curt Schilling
10. Larry Walker

It was difficult leaving off McGriff and Rolen, but we only get 10 spots, which is why I've always favored a binary system -- simply yes or no to each candidate. As for the PED issue, my stance hasn't really changed: If what they did (or didn't) do is so egregious, the Hall of Fame should take those players off the ballot. Don't make us be the morality judges.

Video: MLB Network debates Bonds, Clemens' merits for HOF

Richard Justice
1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Roy Halladay
4. Edgar Martinez
5. Mike Mussina
6. Mariano Rivera
7. Scott Rolen
8. Curt Schilling
9. Billy Wagner
10. Larry Walker

Easy calls on nine of the 10. All belong in the Hall. As for Wagner, he's one of greatest closers ever, and if they're part of the game (same for DHs), the best of them should be in the Hall. I didn't like leaving off Andruw Jones, Todd Helton, Jeff Kent, Omar Vizquel, Andy Pettitte, Manny Ramirez and Gary Sheffield, who at least deserve to be in the conversation longer.

Jon Paul Morosi
1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Roy Halladay
4. Edgar Martinez
5. Fred McGriff
6. Mike Mussina
7. Mariano Rivera
8. Scott Rolen
9. Curt Schilling
10. Larry Walker

I voted for Bonds and Clemens, as I have every year. For now, at least, my policy regarding players tied to PED use remains unchanged: I do not vote for players suspended under MLB's drug policy from 2005 to present, but I support the best all-around players from the complicated era that preceded it.

Rivera is one of the clearest first-ballot Hall of Famers in history, and Halladay's dominant peak (in a hitter-friendly ballpark, against AL East competition) makes him worthy of the Hall. McGriff, overlooked for far too long, hit more home runs -- with a better adjusted OPS -- than first-ballot Hall of Famers Dave Winfield and Carl Yastrzemski; McGriff is eminently qualified for Cooperstown.

My toughest decision came among Rolen, Vizquel and Sheffield for the last of my 10 spots. I opted for Rolen, given the overall quality of his career, at a position underrepresented in the Hall. Rolen is one of only three third basemen in history with at least seven Gold Gloves and seven All-Star appearances. The others are Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt.

Video: MLB Network on Edgar Martinez's case for the HOF

Chris Haft
1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Roy Halladay
4. Jeff Kent
5. Edgar Martinez
6. Mike Mussina
7. Mariano Rivera
8. Curt Schilling
9. Omar Vizquel
10. Larry Walker

Rivera's career forestalls debate. And if you feel free to vote for closers, you should feel free to vote for other specialists, such as Martinez the designated hitter. I dismounted my moral high horse regarding Bonds and Clemens two or three years ago. I needed some persuasion to vote for Walker; by contrast, I remained stubbornly loyal to Kent. Mussina embodied consistency; Schilling dominated the postseason and Halladay finished 98 games above .500 in just 390 starts. As for Vizquel, I pity those who can't or won't comprehend his excellence.

Vote totals of the 6 MLB.com writers

With 75 percent of the vote needed for entry to the Hall, Bonds, Martinez, Rivera, Mussina, Clemens, Halladay, Schilling and Walker received enough support -- the first six appearing on all six ballots, and the other two appearing on five of six ballots (83 percent) -- from MLB.com writers.

Barry Bonds -- 6 votes
Roger Clemens -- 6
Roy Halladay -- 6
Edgar Martinez -- 6
Mike Mussina -- 6
Mariano Rivera -- 6
Curt Schilling -- 5
Larry Walker -- 5
Fred McGriff -- 2
Manny Ramirez -- 2
Scott Rolen -- 2
Omar Vizquel -- 2
Billy Wagner -- 2
Andruw Jones -- 1
Jeff Kent -- 1
Gary Sheffield -- 1
Michael Young -- 1

Mariners announce '19 Minors coaching staffs

Brown returns to manage at Triple-A; Berg to skipper new Class A affiliate
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- Long-time Mariners coach Daren Brown will be back managing Triple-A Tacoma this season after spending the past three years running the club's Double-A franchise, as the Mariners announced their 2019 Minor League staffs on Monday.

Mitch Canham has been promoted from Class A Advanced Modesto to replace Brown as manager at Double-A Arkansas, and Denny Hocking jumps from Class A Clinton to Modesto.

SEATTLE -- Long-time Mariners coach Daren Brown will be back managing Triple-A Tacoma this season after spending the past three years running the club's Double-A franchise, as the Mariners announced their 2019 Minor League staffs on Monday.

Mitch Canham has been promoted from Class A Advanced Modesto to replace Brown as manager at Double-A Arkansas, and Denny Hocking jumps from Class A Clinton to Modesto.

Dave Berg, who served as Tacoma's hitting coach last season, takes over as manager at West Virginia, the club's new Class A affiliate. Austin Knight -- who joined Modesto's staff as a coach last June -- is the new manager at the Mariners' Dominican Academy.

The two other Mariners Minor League managers will remain in place, with Jose Moreno handling Class A Short-Season Everett for a third straight season, and Zac Livingston returning for his fourth season with the Mariners' Arizona Rookie League club.

Brown takes over at Tacoma for Pat Listach, who resigned in September after four seasons with the Rainiers. Brown, 51, has been in the Mariners' organization for 20 years, including seven seasons as Tacoma's manager, from 2007-13. He worked as the Mariners' interim manager for 30 games at the end of the '10 season after Don Wakamatsu was dismissed, and he also spent time as the Major League third-base coach at the end of the '13 season.

Brown led Arkansas to the postseason last year and was Southern League Manager of the Year in 2016 after guiding Jackson to a Southern League title. He already holds Tacoma's record for the most managerial wins, 433.

Lance Painter, who has been in the organization for the past 13 years, will return as Tacoma's pitching coach. Roy Howell, who spent the past five years on the Double-A staff, has been promoted to Tacoma's hitting coach.

Canham, entering his fourth season in the Mariners' organization, takes over at Arkansas after compiling a 136-144 record in two seasons at Modesto. His club won the California League title in 2017; the former Oregon State standout also led Clinton to a Midwest League-best 86-56 record in '16.

Pete Woodworth has been promoted from Modesto to be the new pitching coach at Arkansas. Kyle Wilson, who ran a private hitting facility in North Carolina the past seven years, has been hired as Arkansas' new hitting coach.

Hocking, a 13-year Major League veteran, takes over at Modesto as he begins his third season in the Mariners' organization. Hocking was Tacoma's hitting coach in 2016 and managed the Clinton club last year. Jose Umbria, who coached in Clinton last year, will be the hitting coach for Modesto, while Rob Marcello enters his first season in the organization as the team's pitching coach after running a private pitching academy in Florida.

Berg will be the first manager of the Mariners' new West Virginia club in the South Atlantic League. This is his third season in the organization after spending seven years on the Marlins' player development staff. Eric Farris, who coached at Everett last year, will be the club's hitting coach. Alon Leichmon, who was with the DSL Mariners last year, will serve as pitching coach.

Moreno returns for his third year managing at Class A Short-Season Everett and his 19th season with the Mariners, but he'll be joined by a pair of newcomers. Joe Thurston will be the AquaSox hitting coach. The 39-year-old played parts of seven seasons in the Majors and has spent the past three years as a private hitting instructor in California.

Ari Ronick joins the Mariners as Everett's pitching coach. Ronick, 32, spent five years as a pitcher in the Giants' Minor League system and most recently ran a baseball coaching facility in Missoula, Mont.

Livingston, who managed the Arizona Rookie League squad to playoff appearances in 2015-16, returns for his fourth year with that club. Yoel Monzon is back as pitching coach for the club, while Connor Dawson begins his first season as hitting coach.

The Mariners' Dominican Summer League squad will be managed by Knight, and his staff will include pitching coach Jose Amancio, hitting coach David Flores and coaches Luis Caballero and Andy Bissell. Martin Valerio begins his ninth season as director of the Dominican Republic Academy.

Seattle also returns the majority of its player development coordinators, who help out at all levels of the Minor League system. Carson Vitale returns for his second season as the Minor League field coordinator.

Two members of the Mariners Hall of Fame -- first baseman Alvin Davis and catcher Dan Wilson -- are back as special assistants of player development, while former MLB veteran Pete Harnisch returns as special assignment pitching coach.

Hugh Quattlebaum returns as Minor League hitting coordinator, while Max Weiner -- who coached in the Indians' organization last year -- is the new Minor League pitching coordinator.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners

Seattle OF among biggest offseason upgrades

MLB.com @AndrewSimonMLB

With only about a month left before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, plenty of potential contenders still have needs to address, and some high-profile free agents remain available.

Still, as quiet as the offseason has seemed at times, there have been some important additions. With that in mind, here is a position-by-position look at which teams have done the most to upgrade weak spots, taking into account both their 2018 production (or lack thereof) and '19 outlook:

With only about a month left before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, plenty of potential contenders still have needs to address, and some high-profile free agents remain available.

Still, as quiet as the offseason has seemed at times, there have been some important additions. With that in mind, here is a position-by-position look at which teams have done the most to upgrade weak spots, taking into account both their 2018 production (or lack thereof) and '19 outlook:

• 10 teams with unfinished Hot Stove business

Catcher: Brewers
The Mets and Nationals certainly deserve mention here as well, after New York landed Wilson Ramos and Washington brought in a combo of Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki. But Milwaukee sits on top because Yasmani Grandal -- who agreed to a one-year deal Thursday -- has easily the highest ceiling, as a true two-way contributor, in that group. His unfortunate postseason scuffles aside, Grandal has been an above-average hitter in every season of his career (117 wRC+) and is one of the game's top pitch framers. Given that Brewers catchers (mainly Manny Pina and Erik Kratz) hit .237/.294/.363 last year, Grandal provides far more upside.

Video: Brewers, Grandal make one-year deal official

First base: Rockies
In 2018, Colorado first basemen (primarily Ian Desmond) finished 28th in the Majors in wRC+ (80) and 29th in FanGraphs' wins above replacement (-1.2), even as the team battled its way into the postseason. Signing veteran Daniel Murphy to a two-year contract was a bit of a risk, given that the left-handed batter will be 34 next season and struggled early in '18 as he came back from a knee injury. But Murphy was one of the game's top hitters from 2016-17 and recovered to slash .315/.346/.498 after the All-Star break. He should be a lot more comfortable defensively after moving from second to first.

Second base: Nationals
It's been a productive offseason for Washington, which has addressed several areas of need -- even with the Bryce Harper situation unresolved. One of the those was the keystone. Last year, Murphy's injury, slow start, and defensive shortcomings limited the club's production at second. Howie Kendrick was lost for the season in May, and Wilmer Difo posted a .650 OPS. Now the Nats have made a low-risk rebound bet by reaching a one-year agreement with Brian Dozier. One of MLB's best second basemen from 2013-17, Dozier slumped last year while fighting a knee issue. Steamer projects a solid 2.6 WAR in '19, and a fully healthy Dozier could contribute with the bat and glove while allowing Kendrick and Difo to come off the bench.

Video: Collier on Dozier's reported deal with Nationals

Third base: Braves
This one may change when we learn where Manny Machado winds up. In the meantime, this selection admittedly doesn't quite fit here, because the hot corner actually was a highly productive spot for the 2018 Braves. Behind a strong year from Johan Camargo, the National League East champs got a 116 wRC+ and 4.3 WAR from their third basemen. With that said, free-agent acquisition Josh Donaldson has the much more robust track record and the much more optimistic projections, with the upside of one of the league's elite third basemen. Meanwhile, Camargo now can see time around the diamond.

Shortstop: Phillies
The baseball world waits to see whether Philly lands one of the offseason's big fish -- Harper or Machado. In the meantime, pulling off a trade with the Mariners for shortstop Jean Segura was a meaningful upgrade for a club looking to take the next step. The 2018 Phillies ranked 27th in wRC+ (75) and 28th in WAR (0.8) from shortstop, with youngsters J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery struggling mightily with the bat before veteran Asdrubal Cabrera arrived at the Trade Deadline. Now Cabrera is a free agent, Crawford is in Seattle and Kingery can move around the field, while Segura stabilizes short with an above-average bat and solid defense.

Outfield: Mariners
It might seem strange to have the Mariners here, in an offseason that has seen them lose Segura and several other key pieces. At the same time, Seattle has complemented rising star Mitch Haniger with Mallex Smith and Domingo Santana, with the former pushing Dee Gordon back to second base and the latter replacing Denard Span and several others. The Mariners, who got little production from center or left last year, also now have Jay Bruce in the mix. But the speedy Smith and talented Santana -- who was blocked in Milwaukee -- look like the biggest prizes and both have at least three years of club control remaining.

Designated hitter: Twins
Minnesota was below replacement level at DH last year, ranking second-to-last in the AL in OPS (.682) and home runs (15). The Twins used 14 players in that role, including three for at least 35 starts: Logan Morrison, Joe Mauer and Robbie Grossman. That trio is gone, with Nelson Cruz now likely to see the vast majority of the at-bats at DH. Cruz, who signed a one-year deal with a club option, leads the Majors with 203 homers over the past five seasons and is tied for fifth with a 145 wRC+. His power could help Minnesota make a run at Cleveland in the AL Central.

Video: Park on what Cruz can add to the Twins' lineup

Starting rotation: Reds
Cincinnati may not be done improving in this area, with a free agent such as Dallas Keuchel or a trade target such as Sonny Gray among the possibilities. But the Reds already have made a pair of moves to solidify a rotation that last year posted the sixth-highest ERA and fourth-highest FIP in the Majors, over the eighth-fewest innings. Of the six Reds who made at least 20 starts last year, none had an ERA below 4.30. However, Homer Bailey (6.09) and Matt Harvey (4.50) are out, and Sal Romano (5.48) likely has been bumped, with Cincinnati trading for Nationals righty Tanner Roark and Dodgers lefty Alex Wood. While both are due to reach free agency after 2019, Roark has been a reliable innings-eater, and Wood owns a career 3.33 ERA as a starter.

Bullpen: Mets
Several clubs have added relief talent, even as Craig Kimbrel, Adam Ottavino and others remain unsigned. But the Mets -- who have been quite busy this offseason -- stand at the top of the heap after landing Edwin Diaz from Seattle. Diaz was arguably the best reliever in the Majors in 2018, with a 1.96 ERA, 57 saves and 124 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings. The hard-throwing 24-year-old can team up with Jeurys Familia, who re-signed for three years after getting shipped to Oakland ahead of the 2018 Trade Deadline. A full season from both righties would do wonders for a Mets bullpen that ranked 28th in the Majors in ERA, 29th in FIP and 23rd in strikeout rate. New York also inked a Minor League deal with southpaw Luis Avilan, who has held lefties to a .581 OPS in his career.

Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.

The 1 player most likely to be a Mariner in '25

MLB.com @williamfleitch

The 2013 season doesn't seem that long ago, does it? It seems like it just happened. (The passage of time is a crazy thing.) But in the world of baseball, it was a long, long time ago. How long? Look at the top 10 hitters and the top 10 pitchers in WAR in '13. Of those 10 hitters and 10 pitchers, only two players on each list (Mike Trout and Joey Votto among the hitters, Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright among the pitchers) are still on the same teams they were just six years ago. That is an astounding amount of turnover, and reminds us how difficult it can be to predict the future.

Nevertheless: Let's try. Today at the Thirty, we attempt to pick the one player on each team's current 40-man roster who is most likely to still be on that roster in six years. Sticking to the current roster raises the level of difficulty. Otherwise, I could just pick Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the Blue Jays, and every other team's top prospect, and be done with it. For this list, you have to be here now and in 2025. The crazy thing about this experiment of guesses: There will be multiple, maybe double-digit, teams that have none.

The 2013 season doesn't seem that long ago, does it? It seems like it just happened. (The passage of time is a crazy thing.) But in the world of baseball, it was a long, long time ago. How long? Look at the top 10 hitters and the top 10 pitchers in WAR in '13. Of those 10 hitters and 10 pitchers, only two players on each list (Mike Trout and Joey Votto among the hitters, Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright among the pitchers) are still on the same teams they were just six years ago. That is an astounding amount of turnover, and reminds us how difficult it can be to predict the future.

Nevertheless: Let's try. Today at the Thirty, we attempt to pick the one player on each team's current 40-man roster who is most likely to still be on that roster in six years. Sticking to the current roster raises the level of difficulty. Otherwise, I could just pick Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the Blue Jays, and every other team's top prospect, and be done with it. For this list, you have to be here now and in 2025. The crazy thing about this experiment of guesses: There will be multiple, maybe double-digit, teams that have none.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

EAST

Blue Jays: Danny Jansen, C
Unlike Vlad Jr. and Bo Bichette, he's already on the 40-man roster; he hit three homers in 81 at-bats last season. Like them, he's currently a top-75 prospect.

Orioles: Trey Mancini, OF
The toughest call on the board. The Orioles are starting over in every conceivable way, and there will be a lot of turnover here in the next few years. The guess here is Mancini, who is a fan favorite already and could maybe hang around long enough to be a platoon or bench bat in 2025, when he'll be only 32.

Rays: Willy Adames, SS
Attempting to guess who will be on the Rays' roster in two years, let alone six, is a fool's errand, but Adames is the centerpiece of everything the Rays are going to be trying to do over the next decade.

Red Sox: Mookie Betts, OF
He's a free agent after the 2020 season, but the Red Sox should never let a star like this get away. And he wants to stay

Video: Betts signs record deal to avoid arbitration

Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton, RF
As the guy who is signed through 2027, he's the obvious pick here. Aaron Judge hits free agency in 2023, by the way.

CENTRAL

Indians: Francisco Lindor, SS
It's tough to imagine the Indians letting Lindor go … though they may have to choose between him and Jose Ramirez.

Video: Lindor gets his second career Silver Slugger Award

Royals: Salvador Perez, C
He survived the last teardown. He's their Yadier Molina -- he'll survive any future ones.

Tigers: Jeimer Candelario, 3B
He's more likely than anyone else here to be a member of the next contending Tigers team.

Twins: Max Kepler, OF
Kepler feels like the type of player the Twins would come to some sort of modest, Paul DeJong-esque extension with, doesn't he?

White Sox: Yoan Moncada, 2B
With any luck, Eloy Jimenez will be there right alongside him.

WEST

Angels: Mike Trout, OF
Put it this way: If Mike Trout isn't on the 2025 Angels, everything about that franchise is radically different than it is right now.

Video: Guardado on the latest between Angels and Trout

Astros: Jose Altuve, 2B
Alex Bregman seems like the most likely extension candidate -- Altuve's deal runs out after the 2024 season -- but the Altuve-Astros relationship feels like one that shouldn't be broken.

Athletics: Matt Chapman, 3B
The ideal extension candidate, Chapman could be the face of the franchise whenever it moves into its new digs.

Mariners: Justus Sheffield, LHP
He made his debut in September, so he's on the Mariners' 40-man, even if he might not start the season in the Majors.

Rangers: Rougned Odor, 2B
He, Elvis Andrus and Joey Gallo will be free agents following the 2022 season. Here's betting Odor is the one who sticks around, if anybody does.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

EAST

Braves: Ronald Acuna Jr.
He'll actually reach free agency after the 2024 season, if you are counting the days. (That's to say: If you're every other team in baseball.)

Video: Snitker on best lineup spot for Acuna Jr. in 2019

Marlins: Lewis Brinson, OF
Considering he remains the primary haul from their trades last offseason, Brinson will get every possible opportunity to prove himself.

Mets: Brandon Nimmo, OF
Though maybe only because first base slugging prospect Peter Alonso isn't on the 40-man yet.

Nationals: Juan Soto, OF
If the Nationals don't extend him, he'll hit the free-agent market with Acuna.

Phillies: Rhys Hoskins, 1B
This answer could very well change depending on how free agency shakes out this offseason.

CENTRAL

Brewers: Josh Hader, LHP
Yes, yes, he's a reliever, but still: He seems like one of the few relievers on earth worthy of talking long-term, under-market extension with, yes?

Cardinals: Paul DeJong, SS
The extension he signed last year gives the Cardinals team options on him in both 2024 and '25, and if he keeps playing like he has been, they'll happily pick them both up. (It's also possible the answer here is Yadier Molina, and may be through 2035.)

Cubs: Kris Bryant, 3B
This will be the most-watched are-they-gonna-extend-him-soon? story in baseball over the next couple of years.

Video: Kris Bryant is the No. 8 third baseman right now

Pirates: Mitch Keller, RHP
He's already on the 40-man, and he might be the best pitcher in an already underrated rotation by season's end.

Reds: Eugenio Suarez, 3B
He's signed through 2024, and the Reds have a club option on him for '25. Also, top prospect Nick Senzel isn't on the 40-man yet.

WEST

D-backs: Ketel Marte, SS
He's already got options for 2023 and '24, and he'll just be into his 30s when the D-backs have to make their next decision on him. Newly acquired catcher Carson Kelly could be the answer here as well.

Dodgers: Corey Seager, SS
Isn't right now the perfect time to start talking extension with Seager?

Giants: Buster Posey, C
As long as Posey is still playing, he'll be a Giant … right, Farhan?

Padres: Franmil Reyes, OF
It's tough to even imagine this kid being 30 someday.

Rockies: Nolan Arenado, 3B
They did a mega-extension with Charlie Blackmon last offseason, so they are clearly willing to go that route. Arenado is eligible for free agency next winter, so we'll find out his long-term fate pretty soon.

Video: Arenado seeks record $30 million in arbitration

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.