Top 100 prospect Young 'in control of the moment'

Shortstop's scorching start to 2023 earns him a spot in MLB Pipeline's overall rankings

April 16th, 2023

SEATTLE -- has been raking as well as any hitter in the Mariners’ farm system, and on Sunday, MLB Pipeline took notice and added him to their Top 100 overall prospect rankings.

Seattle’s No. 3 prospect has followed up his impressive cup of coffee last September with a scorching start in 2023, going 12-for-31 in his first eight games for Single-A Modesto, good for a slash line of .387/.537/.613 (1.150 OPS). He has ripped a triple and five doubles and stolen four bases in as many attempts, and on Wednesday, he had a four-hit game.

“Cole always seems to be in control of the moment,” Mariners director of player development Justin Toole said. “He’s a slow heartbeat kind of guy. He doesn’t let things speed up on him. It’s fun watching him play the game.”

Young has rapidly put backing to director of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto’s assertion last summer that he had “one of the prettiest swings in the Draft” after Seattle took the shortstop with its first-round pick at No. 21 overall. The Mariners didn’t send any of their high school Draft selections to an affiliate last year -- except Young.

Part of that was because all but Young were pitchers, and Seattle puts a huge premium on bridging young arms into pro careers with incredible ease, but the other was that Young impressed enough in a short stint in the Arizona Complex League that the club was prompted to give him a more challenging opportunity.

“He swings at good pitches,” Toole said. “He gets himself into good counts, and when you do that, you give yourself a chance not only for contact, but good contact.”

Young has quickly become a favorite of the Mariners’ mantra to “Dominate The Zone.” And despite his 6-foot frame, the club believes that there is more power potential after he added 12-15 pounds of muscle in its offseason program, leading one scout to suggest that his “power will surprise everybody in baseball.” The glove has also impressed.

“He’s a gamer who controls the zone well,” Toole said. “He’s not afraid to take his walks. He makes great swing decisions, which leads to good productive contact when he gets a pitch he likes. Very exciting player for us who we feel has a very bright future.”

Young is still a long way from “The Show,” but his career is off to as strong a start as the club could hope.

Triple-A Tacoma
After scoring 68 runs in their first eight games, easily the highest figure among the 30 Triple-A teams, the Rainiers scored just 10 in their next four. But they broke out for a 10-2 win on Saturday at Round Rock.

has been a huge sparkplug, leading to him being promoted to the Majors on Saturday to add infield depth after Sam Haggerty was dinged up on a diving play. Caballero made his MLB debut as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning, taking over for J.P. Crawford. The Panama native has played in 10 games for Tacoma, going 9-for-27 with two homers and nine RBIs, good for a 1.143 OPS.

Double-A Arkansas
Bryce Miller (No. 2 prospect, MLB Pipeline’s No. 98 overall) gave up four runs in his second straight start, but he had two impressive strikeouts against Cardinals outfielder Lars Nootbaar, who was on a Minors rehab assignment recovering from a left thumb injury this week.

Emerson Hancock recently opened up on the early-career injuries he’s overcome, as he and his offseason athletic trainers chatted with about how they mapped out a plan to help prevent such issues in the future. He surrendered just one run on four hits over four innings in his second outing on Friday.

High-A Everett
Harry Ford (No. 1) is just 2-for-16 after an impressive debut in which he went 3-for-5. But he’s made up for the lack of production with a few impressive plays in the field, notably on a caught stealing on Wednesday. He’s now thrown out three of the five runners who’ve run on him.

Single-A Modesto
Young has been the headliner, but outfielder Gabriel Gonzalez (No. 7) is also off to a strong start, slashing .371/.439/.486 (.925 OPS) after Saturday’s 8-6 win over San Jose. One thing missing so far is the long ball, as he’s still seeking his first homer. Gonzalez has been touted for having some of the most natural power in the system, with a .491 slugging percentage in his first two years of pro ball.