All eyes will be on Seattle on Thursday, when two top Mariners prospects are expected to debut: outfielder Jarred Kelenic, the No. 4 prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline, and pitcher Logan Gilbert, who entered the year at No. 33 and is currently ranked 28th overall. Kelenic (pronounced KELL-nick) is the team's top position-player prospect, and Gilbert is the team's second-ranked pitching prospect behind Emerson Hancock (currently No. 26).
That’s a ton of prospect power coming to the Majors for the same team at once. If it feels like we haven’t seen that too frequently, it’s because we haven’t.
This will be just the third time since Pipeline began ranking prospects in 2004 that two preseason top-100 prospects will debut for the same team in the same game the year of those rankings, according to research by MLB Manager of Baseball Research & Development Jason Bernard.
On Sept. 21, 2016, Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe debuted for the Padres, marking the most recent such instance. Margot was the No. 45 prospect in baseball entering that year, and Renfroe was 92nd. Renfroe debuted as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and was intentionally walked before moving to right field. Margot entered the game as a pinch-runner for Alex Dickerson after a double, then played left field.
With both debuting in September and not playing many games, they remained on the list the following season. Margot topped out at 23rd on the Top 100 entering the 2017 season before graduating off the list, and Renfroe was at 42nd entering ‘17.
On July 23, 2013, Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick debuted for the Marlins, the only other time we’ve seen a prospect duo like Kelenic/Gilbert reach the Majors for the same team on the same day. Yelich was the No. 13 prospect in baseball entering the 2013 campaign, while Marisnick was ranked No. 70. Yelich started in left field, batting second, while Marisnick was in center, batting sixth.
Yelich stuck around and graduated off the list, but Marisnick was still a Top 100 prospect entering 2014, at No. 65.
This Mariners duo would be the strongest by prospect ranking. Kelenic and Gilbert’s combined preseason ranking of 37 would be the lowest of the three. Or, put another way, it’s the first time this will happen with two top-35 prospects. Get those shades ready, Seattle -- the future is bright. And the Mariners will get to see two of their top young stars debut in the same game in a way that is unprecedented for prospects ranked this high, and uncommon overall.