Results tagged ‘ Nick Franklin ’

5 Mariners Among Top 100 Prospects

We blogged earlier today that and MLB Network would unveil their top 100 prospects.

And we just found out that 5 Mariners are ranked among the top 100.

  • C Jesus Montero (#12)
  • LHP Danny Hultzen (#16)
  • RHP Taijuan Walker (#18)
  • INF Nick Franklin (#52)
  • LHP James Paxton (#77)

The Mariners were one of five organizations to place at least 5 prospects on this year’s Top 100 list. The Padres, Rays and A’s each had six prospects on the list. But they ranked the highest with 329 Prospect Points (100 points to the team with the No. 1 prospect, 99 to the team with No. 2 and on down).

Top Prospect Points
 1.  Seattle               329
 2.  Kansas City           290
 3.  Pittsburgh            276
 4.  Atlanta               267
 5.  Arizona               253 writer T.R. Sullivan caught up with Danny Hultzen and General Manager Jack Zduriencik in his piece on Jonathan Mayo also breaks down the top 100 prospects in this detailed article.

And we can also note that 4 of the 5 players (Montero, Hultzen, Walker, Paxton) will be in town this weekend at FanFest.

– JE

Winter League Roundup

Many baseball fans are curious about winter league ball, what it is, and why players would leave the comforts of an off-season at home to go play. It is a chance for players to continue their development into  Major League players. Teams usually send young players, someone who need more work because he didn’t get a full season in the minors, needs a little more experience, or a player coming off  an injury who needs  more playing time. has a comprehensive list with statistics from most of the Mariners farmhands that participated in Winter Leagues this off-season.

Mariners minor league OF prospect Denny Almonte is hitting .299 with 10 home runs in the Australian Winter League (SMP Images / Ben Southall).

The Arizona Fall League provides all Major League organizations the opportunity to continue  the development of their top prospects. Each club contributes players to make up the league, which consists of six teams, each stocked by five Big League clubs. The Mariners top prospects play for the Peoria Javelinas, along with players from the  Brewers,  Mets, Padres and Cardinals.

LHP Danny Hultzen, the Mariners first-round selection in the 2011 June draft, made his professional debut in the AFL. Hultzen was joined on the Peoria roster by right-handed pitchers Steven Hensley and Forrest Snow, left-handed pitcher Brian Moran, catcher Adam Moore, infielder Nick Franklin and outfielder Chi-Hsien Chiang.

Snow led the AFL in ERA (1.10), while finishing second in opponent average (.167) and WHIP (0.80). Snow, Moran (1.32) and Hultzen (1.40) finished 1-2-3 on the Peoria Javelinas in ERA. Hultzen and Franklin helped lead the West Division All-Stars to an 11-2 win over the East Division in the 6th-annual AFL Rising Stars Game. Hultzen earned the win after tossing 2.0 shutout innings. Franklin went 4-for-5 with 3 runs scored, 2 doubles, 1 home run and 4 RBI to earn MVP honors. He became the first player in AFL Rising Stars game history to record 4 hits, 4 RBI, 3 extra base hits or 2 doubles in the game. Hultzen was also named to the Arizona Fall League 2011 Top Prospects Team, going 1-0 with a 1.40 ERA (3 ER, 19.1 IP) in 6 starts.

Danny Hultzen went 1-0 with a 1.40 ERA in the Arizona Fall League (Jordan Megenhardt/

Winter ball is also played in Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Mexico. At the end of the season, the champions of each league play each other in the Caribbean Series.  The Mariners have a working agreement with teams in each league and send minor league players and coaches to help teams. It is also an opportunity for the Mariners organization scout talent from those countries as well as American players playing in Latin America. Some of the Mariners top prospects participated the winter leagues, including pitchers Erasmo Ramirez and Stephen Pryor, infielders Alex Liddi, Carlos Triunfel and Francisco Martinez and outfielders Johermyn Chavez and Carlos Peguero.

Peguero led the Dominican Winter League in home runs (11), extra-base hits (20), total bases (85), runs scored (29), intentional walks (9) and HR/AB ratio (1/15.09), while ranking 2nd in slugging percentage (.512) and 3rd in RBI (26). Overall he hit .259 (43×166) with 29 runs scored 9 doubles, 11 home runs and 29 RBI in 45 games with Gigantes del Cibao.

Ramirez went 2-1 with a 1.48 ERA (5 ER, 30.1 IP) in 6 starts with Lara in the Venezuelan Winter League before being shut down due to number of starts.

Down under, Mate! If it is snowing in Seattle it is likely warm and sunny in Australia. The Australian Baseball League is another popular destination with Mariners farmhands. Right-handed pitcher Jandy Sena, outfielders Denny Almonte, James Jones and James McOwen and catcher Carlton Tanabe are currently wrapping up the ABL.

James Jones is batting .302 for the Adelaide Bite in the Australian Winter League (SMP Images / Ryan Schembri).

Almonte (1×4, 2 R, HR, RBI, BB) and McOwen (3×4, R, 2B, BB) represented Team World in the inaugural Australian Baseball League All-Star Game, where the country’s best homegrown talent, Team Australia, took on the best international players in the ABL in Perth on December 21. Almonte was also named Australian Baseball League Round 5 Player of the Week (Dec. 1-3 – .563/9×16, 3 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 4 G), while McOwen was named Round 6 Player of the Week (Dec. 8-10, .533/8×15, 3 R, 3 2B, 3B, 3 RBI).

Almonte ranks amongst the league leaders in home runs (T5th, 10), total bases (6th, 90), runs scored (4th, 33), RBI (T3rd, 35), extra base hits (5th, 21) and at-bats (3rd, 171). McOwen currently leads the league in stolen bases (14) and tied for the lead in triples (2).

Looks like everyone will arrive in Arizona for Spring Training ready to compete for a roster spot. We look forward to seeing these young prospects in a Mariners uniform very soon.

– KM

Several Mariners Ranked Amongst Top MLB Prospects

A few of the Mariners top minor league prospects have garnered some national publicity lately as’s Jonathan Mayo is taking a look at baseball’s top 10 prospects at each position.’s Top 50 Prospects list has been expanded to 100, and will be unveiled on Wednesday, Jan. 25, on as well as on a one-hour show on MLB Network, airing at 7 p.m. PT.

So far, has looked at what they consider the top crop of right-handed pitchers, left-handed pitchers and shortstops, and the Mariners are represented on each list.

Starting with the right-handed pitchers, Taijuan Walker ranks No. 8. Walker, who doesn’t even turn 20 until Aug. 13, was the Mariners first selection in the 2010 Major League Baseball June Draft, taken 43rd overall in the supplemental first round. Walker is coming off a phenomenal first full professional season, earning Mariners Minor League Pitcher of the Year honors and being named the Midwest League’s top prospect by Baseball America. The 6-4, 210-pound native of Yucaipa, Calif., went 6-5 with a 2.89 ERA (31 ER, 96.2 IP) in 18 starts with the Clinton LumberKings. Here is the excerpt from on Taijuan:

With the way Walker pitched in his first full season, the Mariners will quickly forget they didn’t have a first-round pick in 2010. The SoCal high school product was a multi-sport star and, as a result, is really focusing on pitching full-time for the first time as a professional. So far, so good, as Walker has been dominant as the Mariners have been cautious with him up until this point. The stuff is there, with a mid-to-high 90s fastball and excellent curve. His changeup is rapidly improving. That three-pitch mix, his size and athleticism could all add up to a frontline starter in the future.

Taijuan Walker was the Mariners Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2011 (Paul R. Gierhart/ ).

 A pair of Mariners are listed amongst the top 10 left-handed pitchers: Danny Hultzen (No. 3) & James Paxton (No. 8).

Hultzen had a dominant debut in the Arizona Fall League, posting a 1-0 record with a 1.40 ERA (3 ER, 19.1 IP) in 6 starts with the Peoria Javelinas. He was the No. 2 overall selection in the 2011 June Amateur Draft out of the University of Virginia. His college career included a 32-5 record with a 2.08 ERA. Here is the excerpt from on Danny:

While most thought the Mariners would go after Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon with the No. 2 overall pick of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, they actually had their sights set on Hultzen all along. The University of Virginia product is the kind of college lefty who is expected to move quickly, but he’s more than just a command/pitchability type. Hultzen’s velocity increased in his junior season, giving him a plus fastball from the left side as well as a plus changeup. His breaking ball — a slider — isn’t quite as good as those first two, but it’s a serviceable pitch, and Hultzen is the type of player who will work to improve it. If his performance in the Arizona Fall League is any indication, he should indeed be able to move quickly through the Mariners’ system.

Danny has been a busy guy recently. He recently attended Major League Baseball’s Rookie Career Development Program at the Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, VA (along with Paxton, Steve Delabar & Erasmo Ramirez). You can watch an interview with him at the Rookie Development Program talking about his performance in the Arizona Fall League and what is goals are for the 2012 season. And Danny also caught up with David Heck at for a fun Q&A.

Danny Hultzen went 1-0 with a 1.40 ERA in the Arizona Fall League (Jordan Megenhardt/

Paxton was listed as the No. 8 top left-handed pitching prospect, and could be one of the most intriguing names on the list. James didn’t sign with the Mariners until March, after being selected in the 4th round of the 2010 June Draft. He quickly made a name for himself as one of the premier strikeout pitchers, ranking ranked 2nd in the minor leagues with 12.41 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched. Here is the excerpt from on James:

Paxton didn’t sign with the Mariners until March 2011, but he made up for lost time quickly by double-jumping from low Class A to Double-A during the season, pitching well at both levels. His two best pitches are his fastball — a truly plus offering he can crank up into the upper-90s — and an excellent power breaking ball. The improvement he’s shown with his changeup is a big reason why the Mariners are even more excited about his potential as a Major League starter. He was shut down a bit early last year, more as a precaution than anything. Seeing him Seattle’s rotation soon is not out of the question.

James Paxton ranked 2nd in the minors averaging 12.41 K/9.0 IP (Paul R. Gierhart/

Nick Franklin was ranked as the No. 6 shortstop prospect. Despite missing an extended period of time in 2011 with a concussion after being hit in the head with a bat, Nick still had a solid “sophomore” campaign batting .281 (99×352) with 64 runs scored, 13 doubles, 7 triples, 7 home runs and 26 RBI with the AZL Mariners, High Desert Mavericks and Jackson Generals. He capped his 2011 season being named the MVP of the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game, going 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and a home run. Here is the excerpt on Nick:

After Franklin went 20-20 in his first full season, everyone was excited to see what he would do in year No 2 in the Mariners system. But the 2011 season really never got going for the infielder because he was hit in the face with a bat during batting practice in June. He did eventually return and played well in the Arizona Fall League, named the No. 14 prospect there by Some feel a move from shortstop might be in Franklin’s future, but he’s played well enough to stay there for the time being. With 2011 now firmly behind him, Franklin will finally get the chance to show that 2010 was no fluke.

Nick Franklin was rated by as the No. 6 top shortstop prospect (Ben VanHouten/Mariners).