Since MLB Pipeline started doing farm system rankings, the Mariners have never ranked in the top 10. But thanks to improved efforts in the Draft as well as some big trades bringing in talent, they’re getting ever so close.
In fact, when the farm system rankings expanded to 15 in the re-rank that happened right after the Trade Deadline in 2019, the Mariners came in at No. 11. Improvements have come with impact type players at the top -- the top 5 are all in the Top 100 with 2019 first-round pick George Kirby at No. 6 -- as well as much more depth, giving the organization the most robust Top 30 it’s had in years.
Some of the talent, including four of the top 10, saw time in the big leagues in 2019 and there’s another wave of talent not far behind. One from that wave, Evan White, reportedly agreed to a six-year deal with three club options, a package that could reach as high as $55.5 million, a true sign of the organization’s commitment to the youth moment. And the tandem of Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez at the very top of the list is about as exciting a one-two offensive punch as there is in the game. The Mariners haven’t made the playoffs since 2001, but if they stay the course, they could ride this player development-led movement back there in the future.
TOP FIVE PROSPECTS
- Jarred Kelenic, OF (No. 13 on Top 100)
- Julio Rodriguez, OF (No. 25)
- Logan Gilbert, RHP (No. 48)
- Evan White, 1B (No. 58)
- Justin Dunn, RHP (No. 70)
HITTING & PITCHING PROSPECTS OF THE YEAR
Jarred Kelenic, OF (No. 1): Acquired from the Mets in the Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz deal, the 20-year-old immediately became the club's top prospect and then went out and hit .291/.364/.540 with 23 taters and 20 thefts in reaching Double-A Arkansas in his first full pro season after going sixth overall in 2018.
Logan Gilbert, RHP (No. 3): Selected 14th in the 2018 Draft, Gilbert didn't make his pro debut until this season -- and then he dominated, with a 2.13 ERA, a 0.95 WHIP and 165 K's over 135 frames on his way to Double-A. He's now Seattle's No. 2 prospect and No. 49 overall. More »
Jake Fraley, OF (No. 8): Fraley had trouble staying healthy with the Rays, playing just 30 games in his first full season (2017) and 66 more in 2018, though some of his tools were on display during that shortened campaign. In his first year with the Mariners since coming over in the Mike Zunino trade, he put it all together, hitting a combined .298/.365/.545 with 19 homers and 22 steals between Double- and Triple-A en route to making his big league debut.
Dom Thompson-Williams (No. 26): Thompson-Williams was coming off a breakout 20-20 season in 2018 with the Yankees, so the Mariners were excited to get him as part of the return for James Paxton last November. The move to Double-A didn’t go so well as he finished with a .234/.298/.391 line while striking out in 31.7 percent of his plate appearances.
Draft: George Kirby, RHP, 1st round (No. 6); Isaiah Campbell, RHP, CBB (No. 11); Brandon Williamson, LHP, 2nd round (No. 16); Austin Shenton, 3B, 5th round (No. 29); Levi Stoudt, RHP, 3rd round; Michael Limoncelli, RHP, 6th round.Complete Draft list »
Trade: Taylor Guilbeau, LHP (No. 21), Aaron Fletcher, LHP (No. 26)
The Mariners traded for a pair of Nationals left-handed relief prospects right at the deadline, getting Guilbeau and Fletcher for Hunter Strickland and Roenis Elias. Fletcher then went on to pitch extremely well in the Arizona Fall League. The M’s also added six Drat Top 200 Draft prospects, four of whom are on the current Top 30.
2020 IMPACT PROSPECT
Justin Dunn, RHP: Dunn’s first season in the Mariners organization was a successful one that saw him pitch well enough in Double-A to earn a late promotion to the big leagues. The Mariners could add some veterans to the staff to start the year, but look for Dunn to push his way into the rotation picture sooner rather than later.
Hit: Jarred Kelenic
Power: Kyle Lewis
Run: Jonatan Clase
Arm: Julio Rodriguez
Field: Evan White
Best athlete: Kelenic
Fastball: Logan Gilbert
Curveball: Brandon Williamson
Slider: Sam Delaplane
Changeup: Devin Sweet
Control: George Kirby
HOW THE TOP 30 WAS BUILT
A look at the top 10 gives a snapshot of how the Top 30 was built. Half come from the Draft, with four of them being the team’s last four first-round picks. Four came via trade, with two courtesy of the Robinson Cano deal, one from the Mike Zunino trade and one who came in return for James Paxton.
TOP 30 BY POSITION
If pitching wins championships, the Mariners might be headed in the right direction. Only the Rays and Nationals have more (18) pitching prospects than the M’s, who are tied at 17 with the Red Sox. The Yankees are the only other team in baseball with more pitchers (16) than hitters currently on their list. The Mariners also are comparatively deep in left-handers, with their six trailing only the Rays and Phillies, who each have seven southpaws.