Games Mariners Sports

Jerry Dipoto says Mariners now have a top-10 farm system. But, what do the experts thing?

Jerry Dipoto says Mariners now have a top-10 farm system. But, what do the experts thing?

Definitely, the Mariners have improved their farm system perhaps from amongst the worst in the majors to the prime 20. To get to the place they need to be those that consider prospects say they nonetheless want a few extra items, and which may not occur until they commerce Mitch Haniger.

The rankings that he shrugged off and tried to downplay simply over a yr in the past haven’t develop into any extra necessary to common supervisor Jerry Dipoto.  However now, you may hear him reference them a little extra typically in the future since the Mariners gained’t be lifeless final in them.

Whether or not you consider in rating the general prospect expertise of a workforce’s farm system or rating them towards the different groups round baseball, this a lot is obvious after Dipoto’s “stepback” trade-o-rama in the previous few weeks — the Mariners’ farm system is not the worst in baseball.

By buying and selling away 9 gamers from his 2018 25-man roster — Mike Zunino, Guillermo Heredia, James Paxton, Alex Colome, Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz, Jean Segura, James Pazos and Juan Nicasio — Dipoto has been capable of deliver again a cache of prospects that he hopes might be a part of a 25-man roster by mid-2020 and past. It will give the Mariners a baseline roster expertise all of their mid- to late-20s as an alternative of late 20s and early 30s the previous few seasons.

“The only player we’ve acquired in the past month who might be pressed to get on the front side of that window is Jarred Kelenic,” Dipoto stated. “Everybody else should be making their way toward Seattle, if not immediately, then certainly by midseason of 2020. That was the timeline we were trying to set up. And then they join a group of players we already have in house, guys like Evan White and Kyle Lewis and Logan Gilbert and the like. We feel we have a good group here that now is expanded and by midseason 2020, we feel this group will be fun, energetic and a lot of fun to watch.”

Requested how a lot he felt the Mariners’ farm system has elevated itself, Dipoto was optimistic as all the time.

“Whether we were No. 30 or somewhere in the final couple (of organizations) is up to interpretation,” he stated. “We feel we just went from somewhere in the bottom five to somewhere in the top 10, and that’s a pretty swift move in about a month. We are very much looking forward to next year’s draft and the international market and even the ability to continue to look at the idea of turning veteran players into young players. This is the road we’ve opted for and we’re excited to watch these guys play.”

Properly, prime 10 could be pushing it. Two of the main retailers that consider prospects and provide you with rankings are a little extra reserved in the Mariners addition. They consider the Mariners considerably improved their system, however maybe to not a Prime 10 degree.

“This will change as more trades come down and more systems get shaken up a little bit as prospects get moved for veterans, but I think it’s safe to say they are in that middle tier,” stated Kyle Glaser of Baseball America. “They are no longer in that 20 to 30 range, I think they are in the 11 to 20 range. It might be a little closer to 20 than 11. They have potentially three top 100 guys. Three top 100 guys with a two or three guys that have a chance to get there, that’s a solid system. There’s still a shortage of depth. They pale in comparison to other organizations in that way.”

FanGraphs makes use of a system referred to as Future Worth based mostly on the 20-80 scouting scale and putting a Wins Above Alternative worth for a prospect and general greenback worth to a group.

Even with the totally different rating course of, the Mariners’ enchancment is noticeable however to not the top-10 degree.

“The Mariners were at the very bottom,” stated Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs. “Most of that has come from the constant purge of talent as the team has added to the big league club.”

And their potential rating?

“All these guys they have acquired move the farm system up pretty substantially, I know there was some talk from the Mariners ‘that once this was all said and done, we are going to have a top farm system,’ but the math to get there is pretty extreme. The gap from where I think they are now, which is just shy of the median as a farm system and where they have to go to be a top five system is still … like adding a top 30 prospect in baseball and a few other pieces. And unless they move Haniger I don’t see that happening.”

Right here’s a nearer take a look at the gamers they’ve acquired:

Justus Sheffield, LHP

The hard-throwing lefty was the Yankees prime prospect. However there has all the time been a prevailing thought that being the Yankees prime prospect comes with a truthful quantity of undeserved hype. Keep in mind Jesus Montero was the Yankees prime prospect when the Mariners acquired him for Michael Pineda in 2012. However each Glaser and Longenhagen and opposed scouts round baseball consider Sheffield is the greatest prospect the Mariners have acquired in the offseason.

He was rated the No. 22 in all of MLB by Baseball America, No. 39 by Fangraphs and No. 31  by MLB Pipeline.

Sheffield, 22, spent most of 2018 with Class AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre, the place he posted a 6-Four document with a 2.56 ERA (25 ER, IP) with 84 strikeouts and 36 walks in 15 begins and 5 aid appearances.

“A lefty who just had a really good year in Triple A and is up to 97 from the left side and he’ll show two quality secondary pitches,” Glaser stated. “This is a special arm. He’s someone who has performed everywhere he’s been.”

Sheffield isn’t a good prospect. Questions on his fastball command and pitch effectivity have adopted him since being a first-round decide by the Indians in 2016. It’s one thing that some scouts consider might pressure him into the bullpen.

“The player people saw in the Arizona Fall League two years ago is not who really is,” Longenhagen stated. “For six weeks, he was incredible. The command has always been an issue for him but for those six weeks it was not. He was doing everything. But he’s always had command issues. The movement profile of his fastball is more of a sinker and not a bat missing fastball. He’s probably not going to be a strikeout machine.”

Jarred Kelenic, OF

Simply a yr into skilled baseball, the 19-year-old outfielder was the key a part of the commerce that despatched Cano and Diaz to the Mets. Regardless of his minimal skilled expertise, he was a prime 100 prospect for Baseball America (72), Fangraphs (86) and MLB Pipeline (62).

He hit a mixed .286 with an .839 OPS, 10 doubles, six triples, six homers and 42 RBI in 56 video games at the lowest ranges of the minor leagues.

Kelenic was the Mets’ first-round decide in the 2018 draft — taken sixth general — from Waukesha West Excessive Faculty (Wisconsin). The Mariners had Kelenic in for a personal exercise at Safeco Area simply earlier than the draft. However didn’t assume he’d be obtainable at the No. 14 decide.

“We felt hewas the best player in that draft,” Dipoto stated. “Obviously picking where we were, we knew it would be a long shot. We had it narrowed down on our Draft board to he and Logan Gilbert. We really didn’t believe either was going to get to us. We were fortunate that one did and now we’re fortunate to get the other as well.”

Kelenic profiles as a middle fielder, however doesn’t essentially possess blazing velocity.

“He’s pretty thick for a 19-year-old,” Longenhagen stated. “But even if he has to move to a corner outfield spot, he might hit enough that it won’t matter. He hit his whole high school career. He can really hit and play centerfield. He’s pretty advanced for a kid out of high school and could move quickly.”

How good can he be?

“This is someone that if everything clicks, you are looking at .280-.300, 20-25 homers as your every day centerfielder,” Glaser stated. “That’s someone you can build your lineup around. There are no surefire prospects and there are some concerns with that make him not a cinch. But the talent is prodigious and the Mariners were right to have this deal hinge on Kelenic and not pull the trigger if he wasn’t in it.”

J.P. Crawford, SS

The Mariners are going handy him the shortstop job for him to develop into or lose. He won’t be the opening day starter, however it will take a colossally dangerous spring coaching for that to occur. As soon as rated as the No. 6 prospect in MLB by Baseball America in 2015, Crawford has seen that star fall a little in recent times. He had some struggles the MLB degree at the plate and a few sudden miscues in the subject. A forearm points and a damaged hand additionally restricted his recreation motion. It’s led some scouts decreasing his projection to a utility infielder as an alternative of an day by day participant.

However Dipoto doesn’t see that fade.

“He’s still just 23 and despite the fact he struggled, he did OPS .712 last year,” stated Dipoto. “While he didn’t hit for a high average, he controls the strike zone. We feel like with a fresh start in Seattle and working with [new infield coach] Perry Hill and given the opportunity to do the things he does, this is an exciting young player that we’re thrilled to have.”

There’s a perception that a new workforce and a new state of affairs with a workforce that isn’t vying for the postseason in 2019 may permit him to blossom.

That’s a profit,” Glaser stated. “But at the same time, it’s a light bat and he didn’t hit in Triple A and doesn’t cover the outside part of the plate. Good glove, high on-base, hit him No. 8. As an everyday shortstop, I don’t know if it’s a franchise cornerstone. It’s a quality Major League player, but I don’t know if Mariners fans should expect him to blossom into Jean Segura hitting .300 with double digit bombs and an All-Star.”

The protection should discover some consistency.

“I’ve watched Crawford a lot since he was drafted and it’s been an interesting ride,” Longenhagen stated. “He’s graceful and athletic in a very specific way, but he’s not explosive. He’s a below average runner, but he’ll make these beautiful, acrobatic defense plays and then struggle to get to balls that a plus-shortstop should get to and then he’ll boot some easy plays. You see this flair and this ability to make uncommon plays and then he makes easy mistakes.”

Justin Dunn, RHP

Whereas Mets followers lamented the lack of Kelenic, they shouldn’t  overlook the lack of Dunn. The hard-throwing right-hander out of Boston School that was taken with 19th decide of the 2016 draft. The Mariners scouted Dunn so closely that season that he anticipated that Seattle would draft him with the No. 11 decide. Seattle as an alternative took outfielder Kyle Lewis, who wasn’t anticipated to fall to them.

Dunn cut up the 2018 season between Excessive-A St. Lucie and AA Binghamton, combining for a document of Eight-Eight with a three.59 ERA (54 ER, 135.1 IP) with 156 strikeouts and 52 walks in 24 begins. He was a former nearer in school and is being re-acclimated to beginning due to his capability to throw 4 pitches.

“His changeup came on late in the year and because he closed in college, he might just be scratching the surface of some stuff even though he’s in his early 20s,” Longenhagen stated. “HIs breaking ball command is very good and he’s going to get the most out of locating those curveballs and sliders just off the plate against righties. He could be a good mid-rotation starter in a couple of years.”

Erik Swanson, RHP

The fitting-hander wasn’t simply a throw-in for the deal for the Mariners that netted Sheffield. The proper-hander has a probability to make the rotation out of spring coaching and is predicted to make his MLB debut sooner or later throughout the 2019 season.

“He has real stuff himself,” Dipoto stated. “He pitches in the mid 90s. He has two common secondary pitches that he throws for a ton of strikes. He has distinctive command. We really feel he’s Main League prepared.

Swanson, 25, posted a mixed  Eight-2 document with a 2.58 ERA (33 ER, IP) in 22 video games, 20 begins between theClass AA and Class AAA degree. He averaged 10.41 strikeouts per innings (133 SO, IP), whereas limiting opponents to a .204 (85×416) opponents’ batting common.

“He might have some qualities that measurable via Trackman (a pitch tracking software) than his stuff appears tp your naked eye,” Longenhagen stated. “Our theory is that it has to do with fastball plane and spin efficiency and this guy might be pretty good at those two things. We think he’s a backend starter type, but maybe there’s something weird to be something more there.”

Gerson Bautista, RHP

Keep in mind Arquimedes Caminero, who was briefly with the Mariners a few seasons in the past. He threw 100 mph and nonetheless appeared to not strikeout many hitters whereas giving up exhausting contact. Bautista matches a comparable profile. Caminero common Eight.three strikeouts per 9 innings in his huge league profession. Bautista has averaged Eight.Eight strikeouts per 9 innings in his minor league profession to go together with three.9 walks per 9 innings. He allowed 

The fastball is a bit straight and hittable and breaking ball has lacked depth or constant command. However he’s a center reliever and the Mariners have a lack of energy arms of their system that may pitch in center aid. He might be on the 2019 staff sooner or later throughout the season.

Dom Thompson-Williams, OF

Dipoto raved about the 23-year-old outfielder, who was the third participant in the Paxton commerce. He spent most of 2018 with Excessive-A Tampa, hitting .290 with 16 doubles, Four triples, 17 residence runs, 65 RBI and 17 stolen bases in 90 video games. These are high quality numbers to make sure in a league crammed with parks that aren’t hitter pleasant. However Thompson-Williams was about two years older than most of the gamers in that league.

“We are getting a five-tool athlete who has just really broken out and started to scratch the surface of what his potential might be,” Dipoto stated. “He hits the ball really hard.”

Dipoto talked about Mitch Haniger’s uneven path in the minors as a hope for Thompson-Willliams.

“He’s experienced some swing change and it’s resulted in a significant impact,” Dipoto stated. “Whether that is an overhaul swing, it’s not really important as identifying a change in the results. Clearly the results were different for Dom this year. He was hitting the ball a lot harder and a lot more consistently than he has in years past.”

Stated Longenhagen: “When we started calling around, the tools grades were all over the place. There are people that think he’s a plus runner with plus-plus power and he’s ready to explode. But generally think he’s a bench outfielder.”

Jake Fraley, OF

Fraley is just like Thompson-Williams in that he spent most of the2019 season in the Excessive-A Florida State League as a 23-year-old. Because of a swing adjustment, he hit .347 (78 for 225) with 19 doubles, 7 triples, Four residence runs and 41 RBI in 66 video games. He boasted a .415 on-base proportion and a .547 slugging proportion (.962 OPS). A former second-round decide in 2016 out of LSU, Fraley had by no means posted numbers like that in his earlier two skilled seasons as a result of he’s been unable to remain wholesome. He’s handled knee and foot points. 

“Given their age, guys like Fraley and Thompson-Williams will have to show that it’s real at Double A this season,” stated one MLB scout. “They are already behind in their development.”