If ever there was a time to jump on the Mariners' train, it might be now.
Sure, the club finished with a losing record for a second consecutive season, but there was progress after the 94-loss 2019 campaign. The '20 Mariners finished with a .450 winning percentage, 30 points higher than the year prior. They made that improvement with a young core led by American League Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis, while pitching prospects like Justus Sheffield and Justin Dunn graduated off of prospect lists and made contributions.
The Mariners still have the No. 12 pick in the 2021 Draft, good news based on how they’ve used the Draft to help build back up the farm system. Their best pitching prospects were all first-round picks, with the one taken in '18 (Logan Gilbert) likely to help out in Seattle next season. And the club has the most exciting outfield prospect tandem in the game in Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez, who should join Lewis soon enough.
Now with six Top 100 prospects for the first time since we started those rankings, the Mariners have both impact-level players and depth in their system, leading to them hitting our top 10 farm systems ranking for the first time before the 2020 season and moving up to No. 4 midseason, even with Evan White graduating. Much of it is starting to pool at the upper levels, meaning there’s more help coming soon and providing reason to believe the Mariners could be competing for an AL West title in the very near future.
FARM SYSTEM RANKINGS
2020 Midseason: 4 | Preseason: 9
2019 Midseason: 11 | Preseason: NR
2018 Midseason: NR | Preseason: NR
2017 Midseason: NR | Preseason: NR
2016 Midseason: NR | Preseason: NR
2015 Midseason: NR | Preseason: NR
Only the top 10 systems were ranked from 2015 to 2019 preseason; the top 15 systems were ranked 2019 midseason.
TOP 5 PROSPECTS
Trade: Taylor Trammell, OF (No. 5)
For the third straight year, the Mariners used their first-round pick to take a college right-hander, getting Hancock, the highest-ranked college righty on our Draft Top 200, at No. 6 overall. Seattle would end up drafting five players total from the Top 200, and there are now five draftees on the team’s Top 30 list. When Trammell was acquired from the Padres at the end of August, it marked the second time the talented Top 100 outfielder was dealt in two seasons.
2021 IMPACT PROSPECT
Jarred Kelenic, OF: Looking for a likely candidate to give the Mariners two straight AL Rookies of the Year? Kelenic, who looked very much ready for the big leagues during his time at the alternate training site over the summer, should join Kyle Lewis in the Mariners' outfield, and it should surprise no one if he puts up numbers right out of the gate.
2022 TOP PROSPECT
Julio Rodriguez, OF: There is a scenario where Rodriguez plays so well that he gets up to Seattle, joining Lewis and Kelenic, and graduates. But given that he’s yet to play above A-ball and only has 622 professional plate appearances under his belt, we’ll give him some time to light the upper Minors on fire before really making an impact in the big leagues in 2022.
Hit: Jarred Kelenic
Power: Julio Rodriguez
Run: Jonatan Clase
Arm: Julio Rodriguez
Field: Braden Bishop
Best athlete: Kelenic
Fastball: Logan Gilbert
Curveball: Brandon Williamson
Slider: Sam Delaplane
Changeup: Devin Sweet
Control: George Kirby
HOW THE TOP 30 WAS BUILT
While the list is very Draft-heavy -- the Mariners are one of 11 teams with 20 or more original draftees on their Top 30 -- the top of the list is different. There are the first-rounders in Hancock, Gilbert, and George Kirby (No. 6) along with draftees Cal Raleigh (No. 8) and Brandon Williamson (No. 10), but there are also three trade acquisitions: Kelenic at the top, followed by Trammell and Jake Fraley (No. 9). The international market brought in Rodriguez and Marte (No. 7), who could eventually be the top prospect in the organization.
TOP 30 BY POSITION
Beyond the dynamic outfield duo of Kelenic and Rodriguez, the Mariners have an impressive group of pitching prospects. That’s both the elite-level Top 100 guys from the last few first rounds and depth, both in terms of starting and relief pitching that could impact the big league staff. Only the Cubs, Astros and Nationals (18) have more pitching on their Top 30s than the Mariners.