Baseball America and Fangraphs Prospect Rankings

The Original Jackson 5ive still makes up the bulk of the lists, but Mr. Zuumball is now at the top

Baseball America
 

  1. Mike Zunino
  2. Taijuan Walker
  3. Danny Hultzen
  4. James Paxton
  5. Nick Franklin
  6. Brandon Maurer
  7. Carter Capps
  8. Stefen Romero
  9. Brad Miller
  10. Victor Sanchez


Fangraphs

  1. Mike Zunino
  2. Taijuan Walker
  3. Danny Hultzen
  4. Nick Franklin
  5. James Paxton
  6. Carter Capps
  7. Brandon Maurer
  8. Brad Miller
  9. Stefen Romero
  10. Victor Sanchez
  11. Patrick Kivlehan
  12. Gabriel Guerrero
  13. Tyler Pike
  14. Stephen Pryor
  15. Timothy Lopes


My commentary:

  • That was fast.  I thought I might be ahead of the curve in placing Zunino at No. 1.  So much for the element of surprise.  That’s OK, though.  When a guy comes right out of college and instantly shows leadership, power and plate skills, what can you do?  Of course, moderately wobbly years from The Big 3 make it easier to put Mr. Zuumball at the top of the list.
  • Brandon Maurer was not one of the Original Jackson 5ive (which was Walker, Hultzen, Paxton, Pryor and Capps), but looking at these lists, it appears that, retroactively, we’d have to make it the “Jackson 6ix,” which, obviously, has no zip to it at all.  I’m not down on Maurer (except in relative terms), but I don’t have him up that high.
  • (As we’ve noted here, the actual sixth member of the Jackson 5ive was Randy Jackson … but not that Randy Jackson.  No offense to either Randy, or Maurer, but we’re sticking with our Original 5ive.)
  • Paxton “has a ceiling close to that of Hultzen …” (Fangraphs).  True, it may be “close” but that doesn’t rule out the likelihood that it’s higher (which it is).
  • On the other hand, it’s good to see Fangraphs offer some affirmation of my high regard for three of the Teen Titans: Gaby, Nephew of Vlad, Pike and Lopes.
  • Memo to readers: Don’t fear the stall-out year (when the circumstances are right).  In other words: Vintage Vinnie can still make these guys look wrong.
  • Kivlehan at No. 11?  That’s just showin’ off (I think).  (I’d be happy to be proven wrong.)
  • Not yet on The Morbanwagon?  That’s all right.  Plenty of good seats still available.  It's always cooler to be an early-adopter.
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Comments

The Top Ten Seattle Mariners Prospects
by Baseball Prospectus

1. RHP Taijuan Walker
2. C Mike Zunino
3. LHP Danny Hultzen
4. IF Nick Franklin
5. LHP James Paxton
6. RHP Brandon Maurer
7. LHP Luiz Gohara
8. RHP Victor Sanchez
9. LHP Tyler Pike
10. IF/OF Stefen Romero

Experience with premature rankings of Guillermo Pimental and Phillips Castillo should give pause, but is it possible Luiz Gohara is as good or better than Sanchez? Wow!

1

Hot off the digital press!

Gohara is interesting ... but No. 7 overall is certainly premature.  Maybe they know something we don't, but that's awfully high before he even throws a professional pitch.

I'm quite surprised, but thrilled, to see Pike is already a "consensus" top prospect.

I guess we'll see, but Miller is a huge omission in my book.

2

I have gone through carefully, and have determined (as have others) that Capps and Pryor both will still be eligible for rookie status at the start of the year.  Therefore, they are still eligible for "prospect" lists (at least using the criteria that most use).

I don't know what's behind the BP paywall, so I don't know if they considered Capps and Pryor and chose not to list them, or excluded them because they do have a fair amount of MLB time, just not enough to lose rookie status (September MLB time doesn't count; Pryor had an extended stint on the DL, which doesn't count; Capps didn't come up until August).

Just so you know.

3

the BP lists this year have two little bonus sections after the top 10 - three guys on the rise (usually younger upsidey guys) and three "close to helping" (what it says - guys on the cusp of the majors - tend to get a lot of relievers and utility types here.) they put both capps and pryor in the latter bucket. so they were considered eligible but didn't make the top 10. seems wrong to me but what can you do. prospect value of relievers is all over the map depending on who you ask

4

If you have that kind of a category, I can't really blame them for putting Capps and Pryor there.

I do get the notion that valuing relievers is difficult (see how Brian Moran was left off the 40-man but also unpicked in the Rule 5 draft), but these two are virtually certain to be high-leverage late-inning guys in the majors.

Thanks for chiming in, wily mo! 

5

My own thought is that Miller should be just ahead of Romero, or A&B with him, and they should be with, or just behind Maurer. But seeing Pike and Sanchez ranked is a pleasant surprise (since it could have been Pimental or Ogando or some such that have no real accomplishments to go with the talent). The only one that really looks out of place is Gohara, but there's apparently some praise for him behind the wall. My fear is that the praise is from the same people that praised Pimental and ignored Guerrero.

6

What was it that would transform Gohara from "very interesting international signing" to "ranked ahead of Sanchez, Pike, Miller and Romero"?

I know not.

Actually, if there's a raw sleeper guy that I would toss a high ranking to just for the heck of it, it would be Edwin Diaz, who was wayyyy outperformed by Pike, but did have 9.5 K/9.  Or Seon-Gi Kim, who had the best single game of any pitcher in the whole system, including Paxton (6.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 13 K ... Strasburgian).

***

Don't give up yet on Pimentel and Castillo.  We've just witnessed Julio Morban come out of that same situation with a monster year at age 20.  But, yes, they shouldn't have been in the top 10 at 18, and Morban probably shouldn't have, either.

But we finally have enough real solid prospects that we don't have to reach for teenagers to fill out the top 10 anymore.

But if they were trying to generate discussion and clicks, well they got some, didn't they?

7

Spec - I know you're probably working on your Spec 66 now, but to preempt it a bit, who do you think are the most likely fast movers in the system - a la Seager - the "pre-packaged, ready-made, just-add-water" types as you so aptly put it? Or to put it another way, the NCAA Div 1 types that "settle-in" to pro ball and then move quickly. Do you agree with my assessment in an SSI comment that Landry looks poised to do it? How about Marder? Considering your comment on Kivlehan, how likely do you think it is that he can move up quickly, given all the indications that he "settled in" as the season progressed in Everett?

8

Assume you mean other than Zunino, who seems to be as "ready-made" as you can get.

-- Brad Miller looks like a statistical clone of Seager, except that he plays short

-- Everyone else may have abandoned ship, but I still view Catricala as the hitter closest to major league success.  Stall-out years are more common that people think.

-- Like you, I'm a Landry believer.  If he can play CF in the majors, then he's got great potential.  I wish he walked more, but he makes up for it with zip in his bat.  Not sure he makes it as a corner, though.  He and Marder will be closely watched at AA.

-- Kivlehan is just an odd duck due to his history.  He got much better as the year went along, but he's got a loooong way to go in my book.

9

By the bye, Gabe Guerrero, Edwin Diaz, and Jordan Shipers are mentioned along with Miller, Pryor and Capps in the supplemental analysis of the Ms system (got a gift sub to BP for Xmas). Looks like Mr. Parks did a pretty good job going through the system; but I'm now fascinated by Gohara - could Sanchez and Gohara BOTH be the real deal at 17? Looks like Engle left some parting gifts!

10

Shipers gets a fair amount of love, but I'm much higher on Landazuri, based on what they've done so far.

We'll obviously keep a close eye on Gohara..

 

11

Yes, but Pries is two years older and played major-college ball at a high level, so we can't judge too much from the fact that he was strong in the low minors.

13

Spec - hope this is O.K. - but I like to see how different sites rank the Ms prospects. So having one place to see them may be helpful to others. They still need to go to the sites for the commentary and vids.

To keep this thread alive as the Rankings thread, I found some other lists up from sites that have a good rep (Bullpen Banter is Conor Dowley's current gig). These sites have overlapping staff, but the commentary is different, and they have some good video clips for most, but not all, of the main prospects.
www.bullpenbanter.com
www.mlbdirt.com

Bullpen Banter

1. Taijuan Walker
2. Danny Hultzen
3. Mike Zunino
4. Nick Franklin
5. James Paxton
6. Carter Capps
7. Victor Sanchez
8. Brad Miller
9. Brandon Maurer
10. Stephen Pryor
11. Stefan Romero
12. Joe DeCarlo
13. Tyler Pike
14. Martin Peguero
15. Leon Landry

additional mention

Gabriel Guerrero
Chris Taylor
Guillermo Pimentel

MLB Dirt

1.Taijuan Walker
2. Mike Zunino
3. Danny Hultzen
4. Nick Franklin
5.James Paxton
6. Brad Miller
7. Victor Sanchez
8. Carter Capps
9. Brandon Maurer
10. Stefan Romero
11. Tyler Pike
12. Stephen Pryor
13. Joseph DeCarlo
14. Jack Marder
15. Edwin Diaz
16. Leon Landry

14

Keep 'em coming.

-- Everyone likes Maurer more than me, but that's fine.  I'm glad to see Pike right there with him.

-- Maybe at some point I will be the only person in the world who is still writing about Vinnie Catricala, but so be it.

-- I love the Chris Taylor honorable mention.

-- Except for Martin Peguero not really showing anything yet (and apparently being moved off shortstop), I can't quibble too much.  People are converging on the same names more or less.

15

I, too, think there's a good chance Vinnie turns it around - in fact I think that he started to in the AFL. Granted, those pitchers weren't consistent AAA quality. But the talent has been there; I don't think he lost it. As you say, stall years aren't uncommon. If he turns it around, that's another chip in the pot.

As to Smoak, pushed as fast as he was, I'm inclined to see if the last month's hitting with the two-handed stroke was his turn-around. Even if he has to start at AAA to make the initial roster work, I'm looking forward with some interest to see him groove in his swing.

Ackley, as I noted in another comment, is not that far below where other perennial all-stars were at the same point in their careers. We fans are a tough crowd, but I think he's not far away from a breakthrough, either.

I do think that a mature power hitter will help the others. In that sense, the signings of Bay and Ibanez and acquiring Morales make sense to me. If you look at it in that light, if Ibanez and Morales can help teach Montero how to DH on the days he doesn't catch, and these other guys can pick it up to their promise, things may look much better by mid-year.

Tacoma, with an infield of Catricala, Franklin/Miller, Romero, and Smoak from left to right, an outfield of Thames, Almonte, and whoever, and Zunino catching a rotation of Hultzen, Paxton, Maurer, Fernandez, and Walker or Carraway, is going to be scary-good. Then by mid-year, Landry and Marder start the next wave. Absolute joy to contemplate.

16

This is another smaller site that has a good collection of vids of prospects; more of a clearinghouse than an authoritative scouting site. Nonetheless, their rankings are interesting. They go 20 deep, which also allows for some different names to be brought up. Very little discussion, mostly links to stats and vids.

www.mlbprospectportal.com

1. Taijuan Walker
2. Mike Zunino
3. Danny Hultzen
4. Nick Franklin
5. James Paxton
6. Brad Miller
7. Stefan Romero
8. Carter Capps
9. Victor Sanchez
10. Brandon Maurer
11. Stephen Pryor
12. Erasmo Ramirez
13. Timothy Lopes
14. Gabriel Guerrero
15. Tyler Pike
16. Vinnie Catricala
17. Chance Ruffin
18. Jabari Blash
19. Francisco Martinez
20. Guillermo Pimentel

While I might put Marder, DeCarlo, Landry, Diaz, or Taylor on in place of the last three, it again shows the depth of the Ms system.

17

Using Sickels system of ranking, this is how I see the Ms system -

A
Taijuan Walker
Mike Zunino

A-
Danny Hultzen
James Paxton
Gabriel Guerrero
Victor Sanchez

B+
Nick Franklin
Brad Miller
Stefan Romero
Carter Capps

B
Erasmo Ramirez
Brandon Maurer
Stephen Pryor
Jack Marder
Leon Landry
Carson Smith
Anthony Fernandez
Tyler Pike
Timothy Lopes
Joe DeCarlo

B-
Julio Morban
Vinnie Catricala
Ji-Man Choi
Chris Taylor
Isaiah Yates
Chance Ruffin
Patrick Kivlehan
John Hicks
Marcus Littlewood
Luiz Gohara (by rep only)

C+
Carlos Triunfel
Yoervis Medina
Daniel Paolini
James Jones
Brian Moran
Bobby LaFromboise
Francisco Martinez
Jordan Shipers
Stephen Landazuri
Seon-Gi Kim
Jordan Pries
Edwin Diaz
Kyle Hunter
Matt Brazis
Dario Pizzano
Rich Poythress
Gabrial Franca
Filipe Burin

C
Steven Proscia
Taylor Ard
Logan Bawcom
Andrew Carraway
Dylan Unsworth
Mario Martinez
Forrest Snow
Jamodrick McGruder
Martin Peguero
Guillermo Pimental
Danny Almonte
Phillips Castillo
Jabari Henry
Jabari Blash
Cavan Cohoes
Josh Corrales

Order of names within levels is not firm

So, Spec - whaddayou think? Any egregious errors or omissions? Think I should post it when Sickels opens it up for the Mariners preliminary discussion?

18

Of course you should chime in with Sickels.

At first glance, the only omission I note is Mike McGee.

My guess is that Sickels will have most of your guys a notch or two below, grade-wise, but probably similar names.

Keep it up, Bat

19

This is for anyone who wants to chime in - I'm doing this to deepen my own understanding of the Ms system, not as a vanity project. Gordon, thirteen, anyone, wanna weigh in?

After looking at Sickel's lists for years, I think my A, A-, and B+ grades are pretty consistent with the type of guys he's given these grades in the past, including some of the listed guys, even if it looks aggressive. The Ms system is now at the level of systems like Toronto which had 8 B+ or better in previous years. Sanchez and Guerrero are obviously reaches, but the rest, I think, could be justified. When you get to B and B-, there are obviously too many.

If I take the C and call them Others, C+ make C, and re-sort the B/B-, who would you consider the true 'B' 'spects and who would you call B- or C+? Which of the B/B- group doesn't belong at all? Spec, where would you put Mike McGee, i.e., which guys should he group with (since actual ranking is beyond me).

Spec - I know you're working on your Spec 66 (or 88), so I hope this helps rather than hurts if we get a discussion going now.

20

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Tacoma RainI think we all agree that we need one more OF, and that player needs to be a stud with at least 25+ HR power... thus we have one too many OF's, so Jack will probably trade either Ackley, Saunders or Jackson... I think Jackson brings back the most, and I highly doubt Jackson signs in Seattle long term any way.51 min 58 sec ago
SABR MattI keep Jackson - his trade value is low right now (lower than it was when he was worth Nick Franklin...Nick Franklin isn't that much)...get his swing back a bit if you can...dump him if he struggles again. Jones can play second fiddle until he proves he can hit a curve ball.1 hour 22 min ago
rick82I'm not sure why you want Jackson over Jones in CF at his time. But...he's headed into a walk season. Lloyd says they can fix his swing. I wouldn't trade him, but I'd ride his motivation to do what he can to have a good season. Jones is a good backup option.1 hour 31 min ago
moethedogWould you consider trading Austin Jackson? He's going to run you about $8M+ next year and is a FA the year following. Assuming his 2012 year was an outlier, he's a 100 OPS bat (maybe). I saw nothing this year that made me lust after more of him, but his Seattle stint was particularly ugly for him, even with a .333 BABIP in the 2nd half. He's due a bounce back, for sure.....but is he worth more in what he can get us than he is in what he will give us? Is Seattle willing to go LT on him, following this season?2 hours 16 min ago
SABR MattSlomo is a better mental fit for this park...it happens2 hours 19 min ago
SABR MattYep...I think we've seen the last of Smoak. Now he'll go sign with Texas and hit .315 with 45 homers.2 hours 20 min ago
moethedogAccording to MLBTR: Justin Smoak‘s contract to avoid arbitration last year contained a rare club option, and Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times writes that it’s a virtual lock that the Mariners will buy out his $3.65MM option for $150K and non-tender the first baseman. Smoak, the centerpiece of an ill-fated Cliff Lee trade with the Rangers, hit just .202/.275/.339 and has failed to establish himself as a regular in four seasons with Seattle. Also from Divish’s piece, GM Jack Zduriencik called the decision to pick up Hisashi Iwakuma‘s $7MM option a “no-brainer,” which certainly isn’t surprising.2 hours 24 min ago
MtGrizzlyI just don't want an all-LA World Series.3 hours 33 min ago
DaddyODitto re: Giants. I so wanted Pittsburgh to break through to the World Series. I like to see perennially downtrodden franchises rise and make a name for themselves, probably because it give the Seattle Mariners hope of some day doing the same thing. Cardinals? Giants? Red Sox? Yankees? Rangers? Phillies? Fuggettaboutit. All have had multiple moments in the sun over the last decade or so.12 hours 46 sec ago
SABR MattIf the Giants win the WS again...I'm gonna get irritated.12 hours 20 min ago
MtGrizzlyI'm in favor of the pitch clock. If I have to watch Yoeris Medina throw a pitch every 35 seconds through one more nine pitch AB, I'm gonna lose it.12 hours 37 min ago
mojicianReverend, Panda and Co. appear to be on one of their patented out of nowhere tears.12 hours 55 min ago
DaddyO"Heck, if you outlawed batting gloves you could probably shorten the game by 20 minutes." Now THAT is a funny line, and probably true!14 hours 2 min ago
Bat571And the HP ump can allow time after a WP, PB, or foul that the catcher removes his mask, so everybody can get resituated.14 hours 39 min ago
Bat571And the umps can grant time for fouls that hit one of the three of them (batter, catcher, ump) or after 5 pitches, but otherwise, the at-bat proceeds. Mound conferences with the catcher should be limited, probably twice per inning, plus once for a replaced pitcher but only if a runner gets to second, and if more attend than the catcher it should count as a coaching visit. Then just let the umps enforce it.14 hours 43 min ago
Bat571I don't want to change the rules of the game (balls/strikes/fouls/pickoffs) - I just want the batter to get in the box and the pitcher to throw the ball. The step-outs and timeouts are out-of-hand. Starting with Hargrove and Garciaparra, it's degenerated. Once the batter steps in, he can't step out for the first 5 pitches, then every 3 pitches after, max time 5 seconds. If your gloves really are loose, you can tighten them in 5 seconds. But get in and hit. The pitch delivery rules are fine, if enforced. And again, make a rule that the crew chief can request a clock be displayed if a pitcher or hitter is dawdling, so the fans can get on him, but don't make it a regular feature. If Josh Beckett had the whole stadium counting down for him, he'd start doing it right, and it wouldn't be needed. 2 warnings from the HP ump and it goes up on the big screen for folks to sing along.14 hours 53 min ago
SABR Mattthe problem, of course, is that there's no way in hades that MLB can cut down the commercial breaks...all of their revenue deals assume those breaks14 hours 56 min ago
SABR Mattthe time out between half innings was, in the 80s, 90 seconds, and is now 125 seconds.15 hours 7 min ago
moethedogI'm with Bat: Simply don't allow a batter to step out of the box, unless knocked out, etc. And I agree with Daddy about the un-need for a "shot" clock. To shorten a game by 30 minutes you need to shorten every inning by just 3 minutes and change. Shorten every 1/2 inning by 90 seconds and you get there. I don't see pitchers as being the problem. I do see the batter's ridiculous routine, especially with batting gloves as a problem. Heck, if you outlawed batting gloves you could probably shorten the game by 20 minutes. And TV is partially to blame, as it is with the delays in any sport. TV timeouts have ruined the flowing nature of the NBA and college b-ball. How much longer is the between inning gap today, compared to 20 years ago? With nearly every game now being televised it must certainly have driven up the average between-inning time.16 hours 4 min ago
SABR MattDaddyO...I would be all for your suggestion if I didn't know that, at present, the average distance a pitcher misses the catcher's mitt is 11". :)16 hours 7 min ago