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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SABR Mattblah.4 hours 47 min ago
SABR MattSaunders hasn't even gone on rehab assignment yet...he's at least 3 weeks away.8 hours 20 min ago
Bat571I think Hart gets put on waivers tonight, and if he clears, gets offered to Milwaukee for considerations. That saves some face, and if he is done, lets him announce it wearing a Brewers' cap. But his roster spot will be needed soon for Saunders.9 hours 8 min ago
Bat571Romero and Jones to Tacoma with the flat statement they will be back up September 1 - classy; send 'em out, but make sure they know you appreciate them. McClendon apparently told the reporters that the move for Paxton would come from the pitching side. I expect to see Bawcom (or possibly Leutge) DFA'd and maybe Leone (someone they've already used an option on) go down for a week to 10 days and they'll rotate through the BP for rest.9 hours 11 min ago
SABR MattFor now, the Mariners have a few decisions to make before game time tonight. Denorfia and Jackson must be added to the active roster. Stefen Romero and James Jones seem like the likeliest bets to go down to AAA for that. Then the Mariners need to clear a 40-man roster spot for Paxton...to do that, I recommend DFA'ing Corey Hart for now.9 hours 34 min ago
SABR MattMike Carp DFA'd by Sox. he worth a look?10 hours 29 min ago
SABR MattThe real issue with the trades, from Beane's perspective, has got to be that he has no room to add POWER to his line-up...and he's only got three power threats. Moss, Donaldson, Norris. The 2015 team, unless he trades Samardzija or something like that, is going to be a pitcfhing/defense club relying heavily on OBP and small ball.10 hours 34 min ago
SABR MattGLS: http://blogs.seattletimes.com/mariners/2014/07/31/video-mariners-general-manager-jack-zduriencik-discusses-trades/10 hours 37 min ago
SABR MattWith no additions next year, their line-up would look like: LF) Crisp DH) Vogt/Jason 3B) Donaldson 1B) Moss C) Norris RF) Reddick CF) Gentry 2B) Sogard SS) Punto OF4) Fuld IF) Freiman BC) Jaso PH) Barton Rotation) Gray/Samardzija/Kazmir/Chavez/Parker Bullpen) Cook/Doolittle/O'Flaherty/Abad/Pomeranz/Scribner/Lindblom10 hours 53 min ago
GLSWhere is that video?11 hours 1 min ago
SABR MattAgreed with csiems that Beane does not get to kee his payroll at +25 mil form norm. If you look at the permanent pieces in Oakland for next year, they've got Kazmir (13 mil), Cris (11), Samardzija (~9), Moss (~8), O'Flaherty (5.5), Reddick (~4.2), Jaso (~3.7), Punto (3 option), Gentry (~2), Chavez (~1.8), Barton (~1.5), Donaldson (~1.4), Abad (~1.1), Fuld (~1), Sogard (~0.8), Cook (~0.8), Parker (~0.7), and, if they made no other additions, the rest would all be 0.5 roster spots (4). Which totals 72.5 million dollars. I think they will be capped somewhere juuuust north of there around 75 million. The minimum wage players include Gray, Scribner, Pomeranz, Norris, Doolittle, Freiman, Vogt, Lindblom. They have both of their catchers, 1B, 2B, 3B, CF, LF, RF, DH, all five rotation spots, and their entire bullpen filled. They would need to acquire a cheap fourth outfielder and SS.11 hours 1 min ago
csiemsYou could be right, Terry. Oakland still has Norris, Donaldson, Gray, and Doolittle all pre-arb next year. Crisp and Kazmir, though aging, are under contract for ~$11 mil each. Jaso (Arb3), Moss (Arb2), Samardzija (Arb3) and Chavez (Arb 1) are getting expensive though. Lester, Hammel, Gregerson, and Lowrie are all free agents and leaving holes. My guess is that Beane is exceeding his normal payroll because they are going for it this year and he will have to slough off some salary in the offseason.11 hours 29 min ago
SABR MattHow many of you all have overcome unfair obstacles, reached the end of a task successfully and then turned to your enemies and said "NOW WHAT??? WHAT DO YOU HAVE FOR ME NOW??? HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW??? EAT IT, SUCKA!!!" That was, IMHO what Z did yesterday.11 hours 30 min ago
SABR MattI re-watched the video from Zduriencik...I didn't have the same viscerally negative reaction that Doc did regarding his tone. It feels to me like he was really...REALLY ticked off at the offers he kept getting in trades...like he wanted to do more within his budget than the rest of baseball would even come close to allowing him to do, and like he felt he and his organization were being systematically targeted for particular disrespect. I also think he was responding to the back-channel leaked "Z is a bad dealer" comments. I'm not totally excusing him...but I think what we're seeing here is a guy trying to defend himself, getting a very creative and positive deal accomplished, and feeling justifiably VERY proud of his accomplishments...and then ROARING at the naysayers cathartically. Not the most productive thing to do...but certainly understandable.11 hours 33 min ago
SABR MattI think we should let Kuma walk and take the draft pick and make a trade for another young, controllable starter in his place. But I agree that extending K-Money and Jackson should be the top priorities in the offseason along with adding an outfielder (even if it has to be another flier like Hart was...they don't all flop and adding one is better than NOT adding one).11 hours 38 min ago
MtGrizzly...or there will not be an OF splurge and we will get another 'plug the holes with old vets and reclamation projects'. That would not surprise me one bit. Extending Jackson and maybe Kuma plus signing Seager to a longer term deal just about have to be priorities.11 hours 41 min ago
SABR MattSpec...I'm guessing their OF splurge will be a Cuban (Castillo) or a flier again...or they may use Walker in a trade in the offseason.12 hours 7 min ago
SpectatorThe interesting thing will be whether the M's make a free-agent run at Lester. (I think they'll lose Kuma after 2015.) The free-agent OF list is pretty much the same names we've been hashing over in July (Willingham, Rios, Gomes, etc.). The issue, as always, will be whether they take on a third big contract.12 hours 20 min ago
phxterryCsiems, I wouldn't count Billy Beane out yet for 2015. Now that he has more payroll allotment to work with, he can be active in the free agent market to offset trading away a number of good prospects. E.g., BB made a very savvy FA pickup last offseason with the signing of Kazmir to a 2-year deal to bolster the A's starting rotation. Ditto for the Nick Punto signing. And he did these signings early in the off-season, while teams like the M's were just dithering. If BB makes 1 or 2 similar deals in this coming offseason, he can fill roster holes without the benefit of good prospects.12 hours 42 min ago
csiemsAn unmentioned silver lining to this deadline is that Oakland is going to have to dismantle its team in the offseason and they won't have much to fill the holes. Lester is leaving without a comp pick and they traded their competitive balance pick to Boston. They've lost one of their best bats in Cespedes and their best prospect in Russell. Gomes is a free agent and won't be offered a qualifying offer. Samardzija will have two years left, so Beane could possibly trade him. I'm not giving up on this year, but 2015 looks a little bit rosier for the M's.14 hours 4 min ago