Jerry Dipoto’s propensity for trading keeps the Mariners’ farm system in a constant state of change. A number of intriguing prospects have been acquired or developed and then shipped off in exchange for major league talent within the last calendar year. Acquisitions of Dee Gordon, Ryon Healy, Mike Leake, Yonder Alonso, Marco Gonzales, David Phelps, and Drew Smyly have cost the Mariners depth in the minor leagues and leaving the cupboards relatively bare. There is little in the way of impact talent with only one player firmly in my Top 100 prospects, and not much left in terms of depth and high-upside talent.
Recently, the Mariners have leaned towards drafting college prospects in the MLB Draft. Evan White (Kentucky), Wyatt Mills (Gonzaga), Kyle Lewis (Mercer), Bryson Brigman (San Diego), Andrew Moore (Oregon State), and Braden Bishop (Washington) account for all but three of the Mariners Rounds 1-3 picks since 2015. Dipoto and team bucked this trend by ponying up and paying overslot to acquire an exciting high school pitcher, Sam Carlson, in Round 2 of the 2017 draft. This strategy of targeting college graduates should lead to quicker development timelines and promotions to Seattle. Some key international signings have also started to show signs of fantasy relevance as Julio Rodriguez, Luis Liberato, and Greifer Andrade look to make big steps in 2018.
- Kyle Lewis - OF
- Evan White - 1B
- Sam Carlson - RHP
- Dan Vogelbach - 1B
- Julio Rodriguez - OF
- Braden Bishop - OF
- Joe Rizzo - 3B
- Max Povse - RHP
- Luis Liberato - OF
- Greifer Andrade - OF
Kyle Lewis - OF
The only Top 100 prospect in the system, Lewis is still more tools and projection than a finished product. Most of this can be attributed to the knee injury that kept him out the first part of 2017, but as a 22 year old in High-A his production still left something to be desired. That said, there are not many prospects who can match Lewis’ athleticism and power, and if it all comes together he’s a future 1st round fantasy pick in re-draft leagues.
He was selected 42nd in a recent minor league dynasty draft and that feels like the appropriate spot for him. I’m more than comfortable rolling the dice on Lewis at that spot and altering my make believe franchise with a single pick. 2018 looks to be a make-or-break year for Lewis as he repeats Hi-A at 22 years old and there will be pressure for him to deliver. Let’s hope he can use that to fuel a rise to the top of prospect charts for 2019.
Evan White - 1B
The 17th overall pick in the 2017 draft, Evan White is a polished bat that is not a 1B-only prospect despite the positional label above. White can handle the OF, but if the power he showed in his brief 2017 debut is for real, it won’t matter where he ends up playing. White’s season was cut short due to a quad injury, so don’t be concerned seeing a 21 year old only get to short-season ball. I expect White to make it to AA next year and with a good season, could be on the back half of Top 100 lists for 2019. White went 119th overall in my minor league dynasty draft, and that’s right about perfect value for him.
Sam Carlson - RHP
The Mariners 2nd Round pick in the 2017 draft, Sam Carlson was a first-round talent who slipped due to sign-ability concerns. Seattle was able to convince Carlson to forgo college in favor of a $2 million signing bonus. Carlson only threw three innings last year, but the scouting reports hint at a bright future. Largely considered the best combination of stuff and polish in the 2017 draft, Carlson’s 6’4” frame has frontline starter written all over him. Carlson went 138th overall in a recent dynasty draft, and I really like him at that spot.
Dan Vogelbach - 1B
Vogelbach has been waiting in the wings since 2015 when with the Chicago Cubs, and we’re starting to see some prospect fatigue in his stock value. Not much has actually changed for Vogelbach, and I do find him being undervalued in my of my dynasty leagues. He has the power and plate discipline to stick at 1B or DH, and he just needs the opportunity to start producing. He’s still undrafted through the first 216 picks of a minor league dynasty draft, and I believe Vogelbach is worth a flier at that price.
Julio Rodriguez - OF
One of the 2017 July 2nd signings for the Mariners, Rodriguez has yet to debut stateside. He’s 6’3” and 205 lbs at 16 years old and a lot of his future position eligibility relies on how his body matures. Scouts are between a future RF or maybe 1B, but the good news is the bat should be able to handle a move down the defensive spectrum. Rodriguez is touted for his approach at the plate and ability to hit to all fields. The power is developing, as would be expected for any 16 year prospect. Could be a mover in fantasy circles with a big debut in 2018.
Braden Bishop - OF
Bishop emerged as a deep sleeper in the Mariners organization. A 3rd round pick in 2015 from University of Washington, Bishop had always produced in his minor league career but always with the caveat of a college grad playing against younger competition in the lower minors. This year, Bishop shed that tag by performing at a high level in AA at the end of the year. It was only a 145 PA sample, but large enough for me to want to begin investing in Bishop in dynasty formats. Bishop is a speed-first fantasy prospect and his glove should get him to fill at least a 4th outfielder role, with a chance for much more if his hit tool continues to develop.
Joe Rizzo - 3B
While the stats to date don’t tell the exact same story, every scouting report I see on Rizzo has positive notes on his approach and contact ability. As a 19-year old in Hi-A Rizzo had an aggressive assignment last year, and I expect him to return where he left off for 2018. He is a breakout candidate in this system, and I’ll be interested to see if he can develop more in-game power to make him a very interesting fantasy prospect.
Max Povse - RHP
A brief cup of coffee in 2017 didn’t reveal much about Povse’s future fantasy value. Povse features a fastball in the mid 90s, a great changeup, and average curveball. At 6’8” he’s a presence on the mound, manages average command, and limits his walks. He’s likely a back end of the rotation guy, but his proximity to the big leagues gives him a higher floor than some of the names below him on the list.
Luis Liberato - OF
He’s still mostly projection at this point, but Liberato has shown flashes of a power/speed combo that could put him on dynasty owner’s radars. He’s 21 and has yet to receive exposure to the upper minors, but Liberato has some swing-and-miss issues to work through before being exposed to AA pitching. If you’re in a super deep league, take a flier on Liberato otherwise check back in during our mid-season updates and his stock may have improved dramatically.
Greifer Andrade - OF
Greifer Andrade has had a deliberate 4 year development in the Mariners organization, and is starting to show signs of an excellent international free agent signing. Andrade is able to barrel just about any pitch, and do so with power. Holding Andrade back is his refusal to draw a walk with any consistency - he has 31 walks in his first 695 plate appearances (4.5% walk rate). Another guy in the list who is a breakout candidate.
Ronald Rosario - OF
Anthony Jimenez - OF
Oliver Jaskie - LHP
Nolan Perez - 3B
What do you think? Any other prospects that need to be on the radar for fantasy owners this season? Leave a comment below or don’t hesitate to reach out via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Twitter