Baseball Prospectus Unveils Mariners Top 10

It is that time of year where the top prospect lists start to come out. Baseball Prospectus chimes in with their Mariners Top 10 this morning with an in-depth analysis of the Mariners Farm System. While the complete run-down is available only to subscribers (which is a great resource for baseball fans), here is the top 10 list and a peak at the detailed profiles of Taijuan Walker and D.J. Peterson. We’ll post additional prospect news/lists when Baseball America, MLB.com and any others publish their rankings.

Baseball Prospectus – Seattle Mariners Top 10 Prospects

by Jason Parks

Prospect rankings primer
Last year’s Mariners list

The Top Ten

  1. RHP Taijuan Walker
  2. 1B D.J. Peterson
  3. LHP James Paxton
  4. RHP Victor Sanchez
  5. RHP Edwin Diaz
  6. LHP Luiz Gohara
  7. SS Chris Taylor
  8. LHP Tyler Pike
  9. Tyler Marlette
  10. OF Gabriel Guerrero

1. Taijuan Walker
Position: RHP
DOB: 08/13/1992
Height/Weight: 6’4” 210 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2010 draft, Yucaipa HS (Yucaipa, CA)
Previous Ranking: #1 (Org), #9 (Top 101)
2013 Stats: ERA 3.60 (15 IP, 11 H, 12 K, 4 BB) at major league level, 3.61 ERA (57.1 IP, 54 H, 64 K, 27 BB) at Triple-A Tacoma, 2.46 ERA (84 IP, 58 H, 96 K, 30 BB) at Double-A Jackson
The Tools: 7 FB; 7 CT; 5 CB; future 5 CH

What Happened in 2013: Walker started at the Double-A level and finished his season with three starts at the major-league level, displaying not only high-level stuff but also the necessary makeup to stand on a major-league mound as a 21-year-old.

Strengths: Electric fastball from easy release; works in the 94-96 range; can get more when he needs more; good movement to the arm side; cutter is a monster pitch; 89-93 with late horizontal movement to the glove side; curveball has big depth in the 73-76 range; average but effective offering; excellent pickoff move; big competitor.

Weaknesses: Command is below average; lacks plus projection; can work up in the zone too often; curveball has nice shape but can get soft; tendency to start it too high in the zone; will struggle to be effective unless it plays with sharper fastball command; changeup can get too firm; lacks quality fade.

Overall Future Potential: 7; no. 2 starter

Realistic Role: 7; no. 2 starter

Risk Factor/Injury History: Low risk; ready for majors

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: One of the top fantasy pitching prospects in the game, Walker has the type of arm that can help contribute strongly across all categories. I’m not sold that he’ll be someone who sits near the top of the league leaderboard in strikeouts, but there will be enough to go around (think around 190-200 at his peak).

The Year Ahead: Walker needs to refine his command and his secondary arsenal, but the fastball is a high-end major-league pitch, and the cutter can bail him out of situations. Oddly enough, the curve that received all the minor-league hype received the least amount of industry love, at least as far as major-league projection is concerned. Don’t rule out his changeup becoming a much better pitch than people are projecting; it doesn’t look good now, but he has feel for pitching and the power of the fastball will assist in the deceptive elements of the offering. I wouldn’t be shocked if it develops into a plus pitch down the line. Give it time.

Major league ETA: Debuted in 2013

2. D.J. Peterson
Position: 1B
DOB: 12/31/1991
Height/Weight: 6’1” 190 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2013 draft, University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM)
Previous Ranking: NR
2013 Stats: .293/.346/.576 at Low-A Clinton (26 games), .312/.382/.532 at short-season Everett (29 games)
The Tools: 6 potential hit/power

What Happened in 2013: It’s a small sample, but Peterson did exactly what a polished college bat should do in the lower minors, which is slug .553 over two spots, including 13 home runs is 55 games.

Strengths: Natural hitter; easy to the ball; good extension; uses the entire field; shows plus power potential; doesn’t sell out for the tool; strength to lift the ball; arm is strong enough for third.

Weaknesses: Glove is below average at third; below-average range; likely home is across the diamond at first; has work ethic to improve at position, but the bat is the carrying tool; has to hit.

Overall Future Potential: 6; first-division third baseman

Realistic Role: 5; second-division first baseman

Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate; difficult profile but good polish at present with plus projections on hit/power.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: The key with Peterson is how long he can maintain that 3B eligibility, even if his future eventually lies across the diamond. If his bat comes close to maxing out, that’s the difference between a stud at the hot corner and a back-end starter at first base. However, it’s a tough task to put up big power numbers as a right-handed bat at Safeco.

The Year Ahead: Peterson could be ready to move fast, possibly reaching Double-A by summer. The bat is his ticket to a first-division future, and the reports since he signed have been very positive; his bat-to-ball is very easy, and the power is already showing up in game action. He’s going to hit. The big question is: Will he become a 6/6 hit/power type or will he fall short of those projections? Falling short with the stick could come with an even bigger sting if he does in fact shift over to first at some point in the development process, a move that my sources seem to think is a likely outcome.

Major league ETA: 2015

For the rest of the rundown on the top 10, please visit BaseballProspectus.com.

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