Tag Archives: nick franklin

A Look at Nick Franklin So Far

nick franklin

In 99 plate appearances (as of Sunday morning) since being promoted by the Mariners, Nick Franklin has been a very effective hitter. Franklin has been walking, not striking out very much, and hitting for power. He is swinging through pitches a lot less than average, making more contact than average, and not chasing pitches, in fact, he is not swinging at much of anything at all, showing a very discriminate approach.

Franklin is, of course, a switch hitter, so we have to evaluate him from both sides of the plate. Below are his average locations as a left-handed hitter:

Nick Franklin as a Lefty

This is obviously his most used side, since there are more right-handed pitchers than left-handed pitchers. Pitchers are trying to keep the ball low and away from him, almost at an extreme, which isn’t that unusual for a rookie. For the most part, he isn’t going to swing at the pitches that are that far away, evidenced by both his whiffs and contact (which are in pretty standard spots, the contact being higher and the whiffs being lower) being closer to him.

More: Mariners Prospect Report

Here are his average locations as a right-handed hitter, a smaller sample size:

Nick Franklin as a Righty

Clearly his weaker side (with some really bad splits) in the minors, his contact is coming almost exactly where his average pitch seen has been located, which is good news. The whiffs are on balls that are down and in on him, which is a little weird (because you would expect, since he has the platoon advantage, he should see arm side changeups more often than glove side breaking pitches). He only has 5 swinging strikes against left-handed pitching, a very good ratio, with one being a change, a sinker, a curve, and two sliders. Only one of the contact plays as a right-hander has been on a slider, which seems more like an oddity than something predictive (as we will see, he isn’t having problems with breaking balls).

Via Brooks Baseball, here is Franklin’s spray chart as a right-handed hitter

Franklin Spray as LH

He seems to have a little power to center and right-center, with pull power, but an overall balanced spray chart, meaning he will use all fields.

Here is his spray chart as a left-handed hitter:

Franklin Spray as RH

While there is some balance to left-field, he is mostly a pull to right-center hitter. A lot of ground-outs to 1st and 2nd, with not many of them going through. He is hitting fly-balls and line drives all over the field.

More: Russell Wilson a Top 5 NFL QB?

Overall, Franklin has seen 44 pitches over 94 MPH,  made contact with 7 of them, with 3 swinging strikes. So he seems to be handling velocity okay. As for breaking balls, he has seen 41 pitches below 80 MPH, 3 in play pitches, with just 1 swinging strike. Basically, pitchers have not exposed any glaring weaknesses in Franklin’s approach or abilities at the plate. That obviously doesn’t mean there aren’t any, but he is showing he can hit at the big league level and hit well. He will have to keep making adjustments as pitchers make more adjustments and start pitching him differently, but he doesn’t look like the guy I watched struggle making contact in Tacoma last season. Franklin’s defense is another question, and I don’t think Dustin Ackley provides much value as an outfielder, especially when he was plus defensively in the infield, but if Franklin is going to hit like this, then I think the Mariners don’t have to worry about offense from the 2nd base position.

2013 Seattle Mariners Top 5 Prospects

mariners top prospects

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Five Seattle Mariners were named in MLB‘s top 100 prospect rankings. Taijuan Walker, not surprisingly, was the very first Mariner on the list at #5. All of baseball considers the 20 year old RHP as one of the very best and that was proven when the Diamondbacks were willing to part with Justin Upton in a trade that would have also landed them the #47 overall prospect, Nick Franklin. It’s looking like more and more of a miracle that Upton rejected the trade and allowed the Mariners to keep their top young talent. Many analysts agreed, saying the package the Mariners were going to give up was too great, even for a young skilled outfielder such as Upton.

Danny Hultzen was the second Mariner, ranked #18, to be included and gives the Mariners the top RHP and LHP duo in the minor leagues. Hultzen is 23 years old, and although Walker is the higher rated prospect – it’s expected that we’ll see Hultzen in the big-leagues first because of his age and development while playing college baseball at the University of Virginia. Hultzen would have been ranked higher had he not had serious command issues in AAA, and had a reputation as a command pitcher when drafted. Hultzen will begin the season in Tacoma (AAA) and will likely get a call up sometime near the middle of the season if he shows he has greater control of his pitches.

One of the fastest players to shoot up the list is the latest Mariners #1 selection from the 2012 draft, Mike Zunino (23). A catcher from the University of Florida, Zunino had been known as a defensive catcher with great ability as a hitter. While spending his first season only playing 44 games, Zunino has shown more skill offensively than behind the plate. One of the major appeals to Zunino is his ability to handle a pitching staff, and with guys like Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen and James Paxton coming up along with Zunino, that will be a huge benefit to the organization.

The former Gator will also start the season in AAA, unless he absolutely outperforms Jesus Montero and the newly sign Kelly Shoppach in spring training. Either way, Zunino will get time in the majors in 2013. Lets hope we don’t have another Jeff Clement scenario.

The other offensive player on the list is Nick Franklin. Franklin is currently playing shortstop in the Mariners organization – while many think he’ll eventually move to second base, the M’s are sticking with him as Brandan Ryan‘s eventual replacement, especially with Dustin Ackley as the teams current long-term option at 2B. Off course Ackley could always move back to the outfield where he spent his college career. Franklin did struggle a bit once he was called up to Tacoma, however at just 21 years old he’ll have time to work on everything he needs to improve before the Mariners ask him to contribute with the big club.

The last Mariner to make the list is the final member of the “Big Three” pitchers in the M’s organization. Paxton has two pitches, his fastball and curveball, that would allow him to have success at the MLB level. If he can continue to improve his changeup his chances of staying in a big league rotation will be much greater. Paxton has a solid strikeout rate and some see his future as a star reliever. The Mariners will try to keep him on a path as a starter as best they can. Paxton is also projected to start the year at the AAA level.

The Tacoma Rainiers will start the year with one of the most impressive rosters in all the minor leagues. Three future pitching stars as well as Zunino and Franklin will make them the early favorites to win at the AAA level. By July, and certainly September, it is very likely that all five will be seeing time down the road in Safeco Field.

Here is what MLB.com had to say about each player:

2013 Seattle Mariners Top 5 Prospects

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Mariners Win the Arizona Fall League

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The Arizona Fall League club that the Mariners’ prospects played on, the Peoria Javalinas (which also contained prospects from the Reds, Twins, Phillies, and Padres) won the Arizona Fall League championship on Saturday. Since the game was televised on MLB Network, here are some notes on the 3 Mariners that played in the game:

Reliever Carson Smith was the only Mariners’ pitcher to play in the game, and his max effort delivery made others remark and marvel. It is definately a weird arm action, but it hasn’t come with an injury history (at least not yet).

Smith threw the 84-86 MPH slider that sometimes broke like a splitter, diving straight into the dirt (though he can throw it for strikes), quite a bit. He also threw 92-93 MPH (got down to 90-91 MPH) on his fastball with good downward movement. It is good stuff, and the delivery isn’t overly hard to repeat (despite the arm action). If he continues to have command over his stuff and is able to stay healthy, he should be a decent (but not a real impact arm) bullpen piece, being especially strong against righties (his slider/split gives him a chance of getting out lefties as well).

Mike Zunino:

Peter Wardell of Bullpen Banter and Baseball America sees him as a .270 hitter with 20 homers (and good defense behind the plate). Brian Cartwright of the Hardball Times says his MLE (minor league equaivalents) have him hitting nearly 30 homers a year with a .250 ISO! There hasn’t been a Mariner with a .250 ISO in a significant amount of plate appearances since Russell Branyan in 2010 and also 2009 before that. Before Branyan, Richie Sexson had a .278 ISO in 2005. There were just 9 qualified hitters in all of the MLB that had an ISO of .250 or better in 2012. Just one, Ryan Braun, had a positive UZR, though Josh Hamilton used to be a good defender. Cartwright does not see him walking a lot though.

In the game, Zunino showed a short stoke in his first at-bat. His swing wasn’t long, and he took advantage of a pitch left over the plate. He did a good job, repeatedly, of making very quick swings on breaking balls that turned into solid contact. He did struggle with the velocity that lefty Santos Rodriquez was able to throw to him (he topped out for 95 MPH) and he eventually whiffed on a change.

Behind the plate, he still looks like the calm receiver I saw in Florida before he was drafted, making just subtle moves with his glove when catching the ball. It did look like he was trying to block pitches with his glove, which can cause some problems (and we have heard about this being a problem). While he didn’t throw out the runner, he showed off his good arm on a throw to 2nd on the only attempted steal

Nick Franklin:

I got 4.03 to first from the left side, which is faster than I thought he was. That little lunge we have seen in his swing seemed to be hurting him at the plate though. Unlike Zunino, he really struggled with breaking balls, chasing them out of the zone. This was on both sides of the plate. Jonathan Mayo called him “just about ready” (meaning ready for the Majors) and said he showed some really good raw power in batting practice. He was getting under the ball in the game, and popped out to the infield a couple times, as well as grounding into a couple of double plays. It certainly was not his best game, and Zunino definitely was the one that looked more ready for the Majors (though both could get a shot in 2013).

Mariners in the Arizona Fall League

A couple of weeks ago, the Arizona Fall League had the “Rising Stars Game”, where some of the better prospects (a somewhat subjective group) played on MLB Network. The Mariners sent 3 players that played in this game, Nick Franklin, Mike Zunino, and James Paxton. This will be just a video heavy post instead of me writing a lot (since I feel like I have already written about these players quite a bit).

Here is Nick Franklin’s 1st at-bat:

Nick Franklin At-bat 2:

So you can see that he is still having the contact problems.

Nick Franklin At-bat 3:

Defensively, it looked like he was handling everything at 2nd pretty well, though he wasn’t really tested with anything too difficult.

Mike Zunino:

He has such a quick swing, and you can see why I was a big Zunino fan before the draft. He ran 4.45 to first, which is more trivia than anything. He is a catcher, he is not supposed to run fast.

Zunino at-bat 2:

James Paxton:

His fastball didn’t exactly light up the radar gun as much as we are used to during the game (it was the end of the year for Paxton), but was effective, kept it up high. His command wasn’t great though, but it was okay.

He hrew that curveball for strikes consistently. I saw just a couple of changes and they weren’t anywhere close to the strike zone. The MLB Network announcers mentioned that a move to the bullpen is possible for Paxton because of the injuries, command issues, and lack of 3rd pitch. I can’t imagine the Mariners would move Paxton to the bullpen just to get him closer to the big leagues, especially since it seems that he is the best pitching prospect the Mariners have that is close to the Majors. I think he would have to massively fail in 2013 before the Mariners even consider that kind of move before he makes the Majors.

Paxton eventually started throwing the moving fastball that was sub 90 MPH and he had bad command of it. The command got to him, along with the lack of velocity (he did reach 94 MPH at least once), and he eventually loaded the bases. However, he got a big strikeout of Austin Romine even though he didn’t have the platoon advantage:

He would get Corey Dickerson to tap it back to him to get out of the inning.

All-Star Games and Hultzen and Franklin March On

Generals

The big news is that Nick Franklin and Danny Hultzen have been promoted from AA to AAA. I don’t have a lot of room for numbers, but Hultzen was nothing short of dominant in AA with a 1.19 ERA/2.84 FIP/3.35 SIERA. He gave up line drives just 11.4% of the time, leading to a .460 OPS against. Franklin hit .323/.396/.507 (the slugging and on base percentage professional career highs) but has still has work to do defensively. Hultzen will start for Tacoma on Saturday. To make room for Franklin and Hultzen, Tacoma put Cesar Jimenez on the DL. They also released Johan Limonta, who was poor defensively without a real position with a very mediocre OPS of .726.

Francisco Martinez and Rich Poythress are about ready to come off the DL for AA Jackson, but Johermyn Chavez and Daniel Carroll are still pretty far off from coming back.

Danny Hultzen threw the first inning of the Southern League All-Star game. He was having a little bit of control issues to start the game, as he walked the 2nd hitter he faced on 4 pitches, mainly outside to the righty. However, he started by blowing 2 fastballs past the first hitter for swing and misses and a strikeout. He followed the walk by getting a double play to end the inning.

Denny Almonte worked a full count in his first at-bat and then pounded a homer on a low outside pitch. He hit another medium deep fly-ball in his next at-bat. Joe Dunigan was getting shifted on, and his first at-bat ended when he chased breaking balls to strikeout. In his 2nd at-bat, he whiffed on 2 straight fastballs, then hit some fouls before missing on another fastball. Nick Franklin walked in the first as Tyler Skaggs wasn’t throwing many strikes, and then stole a base on a curve. He hit a ball to the warning track the other way and had a 1 pitch ground-out to pitcher. His final at-bat was ugly, as he had a bad looking swing before he chased a breaking ball for a strikeout. His defensive woes continued when he made a bad throw on a potential double play. Another ball took a hop and gave him a lot of trouble. Jesus Sucre was the starting catcher, but he certainly didn’t look like an all-star at the plate. Sucre got fooled on a bad change and then on a high fastball (that he fouled off). He ended up flying out to left field on a breaking ball in the dirt. In his 2nd plate appearance, he hit the first pitch he saw for a hard ground-ball to 2nd base. Defensively, he didn’t look very good either, as a bad throw was stopped by Franklin with a good block. Another ugly throw by Sucre cost the team a run.

Taijuan Walker also got to make an appearance. He gave up a hard double and then hit the next batter. He did get a whiff on his fastball and a looking strikeout. A decent curveball turned into a ground-ball hit and his 2-seamer was getting called strikes. Carter Capps got to face one batter and he hit 99, 99, 100, then 99 MPH on the radar gun. He got a chopper ground-ball to Franklin and Franklin promptly threw it in the dirt, almost committing an error.

In the California League versus Carolina League all-start game, 5 members of High Desert were on the California League team. Julio Morban and Jack Marder did not play thanks to injuries. Stephen Romero was scheduled to start but came off the bench instead thanks to being hit in the head with a pitch on Saturday. He took over at 2nd and missed the first ball hit to him. In his first at-bat, he chased the first pitch and fouled it off. He then hit a weak ground-ball that got through and motored into 2nd thanks to some lazy defense. His 2nd time up he struck out swinging. Brad Miller came in to play 3rd base and made a good play there. Offensively, he pulled a low pitch for a double and had a walk against Dylan Bundy after the previous 2 hitters struck out. He swung and missed on the first pitch, but hit a couple of fouls. A 2-2 pitch just missed before a full count pitch wasn’t even close. In batting practice, he put on a show that caught several people’s eyes. John Hicks started at catcher and he lined out in his first at-bat. In his second, he had a big whiff on 3-0 on a high fastball. He then missed another before chasing one out of the zone for a strike. He made a not very good throw on a stolen base defensively.

Jamal Austin lead off in the Midwest All Star game and walked to lead off the game. He also had two hits, including a triple. Jordan Shipers got 2 outs but gave up an unearned run with a strikeout.

The AAA Tacoma Rainiers faced Trevor Bauer and the Reno Aces. Andrew Carraway started for Tacoma and got ahead of rehabbing Stephen Drew 1-2 before falling into a full count. He ended the at-bat by getting a called strike on a low and away fastball. He had an easy 2nd inning, and it looked like hitters couldn’t time his fastball. He struck-out Mike Jacobs on what looked like a high changeup for his 4th strikeout to start the 3rd inning. A hanger was hit for a line drive but turned into an out. Drew lined out to left his 2nd time up. The first baserunner Carraway gave up was starting the 4th, when Adam Eaton hit a weak ground-ball up the middle. A bloop hit with the runners going tied the game after a mediocre throw by Trayvon Robinson was not stopped by Vinnie Catricala even though he really should have stopped it. Carraway started the 5th with a swinging strikeout on a high fastball. His 6th and final inning was an easy 3 ground-ball inning.

Trevor Bauer was hitting 92-95 MPH on his fastball but was really wild for the most part. The Rainiers made him throw 24 pitches in a scoreless first. He did get a lot of late swings on the fastball. Robinson got up 3-1 but struck out on a 94 MPH fastball. Luis Jimenez banged a ball of the wall for a hard double, and had another long at-bat before a curve at the bottom of the strike zone was a looking strikeout. Alex Liddi had a walk and then hit a solo homer just over the right field wall. He then struck out on a breaking pitch way out of the zone. Carlos Peguero walked and mashed a long homer to right field. Catricala struck out looking but got a breaking ball up for a hit. Adam Moore walked but chased a breaking ball for a strikeout. Luis Rodriguez creamed a line drive double. Against Zach Kroenke, Catricala smashed a hard liner but it turned into an out.

Against Mike Demark, who was hitting 92-94 MPH, Jimenez was shifted on, but got up 3-0. Jimenez took a big hack and then took an outside breaking ball to walk. A hanging breaking ball was hit hard by Liddi for a single. Demark got Peguero to whiff on a pitch, then broke his bat on a foul and then whiffed on a ball up and in. After a good luck Mike Wilson infield single, Catricala took, then whiffed on fastballs for strikes before whiffing on another.

Steven Hensley took over for Carraway in the 7th for Tacoma. Hensley immediately walked Ryan Wheeler to lead off the inning on a long at-bat. Geoff Blum then hit what looked like would be a double play, but the umpire said that Luis Rodriguez (who has been excellent defensively) wasn’t on the bag. Hensley was throwing quite a bit of soft sliders, which isn’t a great looking pitch. He got a looking strikeout to end the inning. Hensley came out to pitch the 8th, and was hitting 94 MPH on his fastball. The fastball looked pretty good when he had command of it. He got a whiff on a slider that really didn’t look that good. A 3-2 fastball behind the batter was another lead off walk for Hensley. He followed it with a swinging 3 pitch strikeout on a slider. Eaton then got a slap single on a slider, and it could have been worse as Liddi almost didn’t get to the ball out in left field. He got a weak fly-ball out before being replaced by Steve Delabar.

Delabar got Stephen Drew to swing through a change in the dirt. In the 9th, he got a whiff on his fastball, but gave up a bloop single and then walked Blum. All of the sudden, he had massive control issues. A ground-ball loaded the bases before a wild pitch and a walk was followed by a strikeout on a high fastball. He then induced a weak grounder back to himself and fielded it and made a nice throw to home. However, Adam Moore dropped it and they didn’t get an out. Another grounder turned into out 2, but brought another run home. He got to 1 pitch away from getting out of the inning, only to give up a triple past Peguero. Scott Patterson then came in to face Drew. After putting a curveball in the zone to get ahead 0-1, the next 4 pitches were all balls. Drew then stole 2nd and the runner on 3rd tried to score. The throw home was good and ended the inning, but not before the runner (in a 4 run AAA game in the 9th) trucked Adam Moore. Moore had problems getting up, but there has been no announcement as far as an injury goes.

Mariner Minor League Notes: Sorce, Hultzen, Hobson, and Robinson

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Danny Hultzen was originally scheduled to start against Diamondbacks prospect Trevor Bauer. Bauer was promoted to AAA before the game, and started on Friday night. This was baffling for many people, and some speculated that the Diamondbacks didn’t want the pitchers facing each other, although that makes no sense to me. Hultzen had probably his best start, going 7 innings and walking just 1 while striking out 8 (just 1 run allowed).

After a few days off because of an apparent injury, Nick Franklin returned to the lineup in Jackson on Friday and went 4 for 4 (3 extra base hits) and a walk. He had a .840 OPS before the game, which according to my projections, would translate to a .704 OPS in the Majors.

Chris Sorce of High Desert has retired due to a wrist injury. His final start was the crazy 26-11 game last week. I guess if you have to go out, go out on a bang right? Sorce made 8 starts for the Mavericks this year, posting an ERA of 7.11 but a FIP of 3.44. Amazingly, Sorce posted a lower FIP than ERA in every stop he made. The Mariners drafted him in the 26th round in 2009. Last year, he started 27 games for High Desert, throwing 165 innings, striking out 105 batters and walking 43.

To replace him, Cam Hobson was promoted to High Desert and started Thursday. His start didn’t go very well, as he went 4.2 innings and gave up 7 hits and 7 runs with 2 strikeouts and 1 walk.

On Friday night, Andrew Carraway made his 2nd career AAA start, facing the Omaha Storm Chasers (Royals). He showcased a moving fastball that he likes to keep low. It has some pretty solid movement, but not real great velocity. He also showed off a curveball that really had hitters missing. You can see how he could be a very effective ground-ball pitcher. In the first, he walked a guy and then got a single to get the runners 1st to 3rd, but then got a double play to end the inning. He got another GIDP in the 4th, and got lots of weak contact overall (other than a hard double off an inside fastball in the 2nd) He walked the lead-off hitter in the 5th, which came back to bite him even though he didn’t give up hard contact. The 5th ended up being a long inning for him as another walk killed him. Obviously he was erratic at times and had some control problems, and this was probably embodied when he attempted and botched a pitchout. As the game went along, his breaking stuff was staying higher and higher. He wasn’t “lucky”, but it did seem like his results were better than his command and stuff. I am not sure whether he can get such weak contact in the Majors.

Vinnie Catricala continues to be an easy out at the plate, as he popped up in the infield in his first appearance. After a strong spring that made him a household name as a bat only prospect, Vinnie isn’t doing the one thing he usually does well, and that is hit. Carlos Triunfel made an incredible jumping catching to save a hit and a run. Offensively, he chased a pitch that bounced before it hit the plate, and then struck out later in the at-bat on a breaking ball way out of the zone. I wish I had video of that at-bat to show all the silly anti-Brendan Ryan fans/bloggers that want Triunfel in the Majors. A similarly frustrating prospect, Trayvon Robinson, had a similarly frustrating game. He struggled big time with breaking balls, but also showed off his speed tool by reaching on an infield single, stealing 2nd, and scoring on a bloop Luis Rodriquez single. He then made an extremely goofy play out in center field. Carlos Peguero hit a monster home run and Luis Jimenez hit a big double.

The Venezuelan summer league team has started their season. There isn’t really anyway to keep up with them live, the best way I know how is to just check this page every day. The team has started off hot at 4-0 (the Pythagorean W-L has them at 3-1 for what it’s worth). The average pitcher on the team is 19 years old, 2nd oldest in the 4 team league (the Tigers team’s pitchers are 18 years old, the Phillies are 19.2 innings). The hitters are 18.8 years old on average, oldest in the league. Pedro Okuda is the oldest player on the team at 22 years old. As a general rule, when a player is older than the other player’s in his level, he is not considered a prospect and his statistics should be taken with a grain of salt, as they are more physically developed than their peers. The team has 4 batters at age 17, Gianfranco Wawoe (which is much more fun to say than type),  Jhonbaker Morales, Georvic Perez, and Danilo Sojo. 2 pitchers, Ugueth Urbina (the son of the former MLB pitcher) and Carlos Rodriguez are 17 years old. I will be honest, I don’t know much about these guys.

Franklin, Sherrill and other Spring Training Notes

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Nick Franklin fell out of Kevin Goldstein’s top 101 because of a drop in 2011 performance, injury problems, defense and a concern with his swing (leaving him off was one of Goldstein’s more controversial decisions). That is quite a laundry list of things. Franklin played in 4 different levels of the minors in 2011, playing in 88 games and having a .352 OBP and .770 OPS. 64 of those games were played at the Mariners’ A+ affiliate, where he had a .329 Neutralized (BABIP set at .300) OBP.

This obviously isn’t enough offense, especially when you consider his ISO of just .136. At AA he had quite a bit of success, but it was just in 21 games and it was with a .397 BABIP, so it is impossible to take anything from it. He has a decent walk walk rate in his minor league stints, but has struggled with strikeouts. Defensively, he has played mainly shortstop but also has significant time at second base. At shortstop, he has a below average range factor, and well below average fielding percentage. At second base, the story is pretty much the same.

Other Mariners Notes: Hisashi Iwakuma threw his first bullpen session on Monday (most of the rest of the pitchers did as well), and here is a video of him throwing courtesy of the Seattle Times

 

Greg Johns reports that George Sherrill didn’t throw his scheduled bullpen on Monday, and had a wrap on his shoulder afterward. Manager Eric Wedge says its a pre-cautionary measure, but the 34 year old reliever raises concerns. Sherill appeared in 51 games for the Braves in 2011, striking out 9.5 per 9 innings with an ERA of 3.00 and a FIP – of 81. 2010 was much less successful with a FIP – of 134. He has done a good job preventing homers with .75 HR/9IP, even though he gives up more flyballs and groundballs.

When he has really struggled, it has been because of his walks, as he has given up 4.26 BB/9IP in his career, while giving up almost 6 walks per 9 innings in 2010 (giving up just 3 walks per 9 innings in 2011). Even though his SIERA was 2.82 in 2011, he threw less than 88 MPH. Sherrill missed the final month of the season in 2011 as the Braves collapsed, and the Mariners gave him a 1 year 1.1 million dollar deal.

Keith Law prefers  Francisco Martinez to Kyle Seager and Alex Liddi (in that order) in terms of upside. Martinez came over the Mariners from the Tigers in the Doug Fister trade.

Mariners Top 10 Prospects 2012

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Baseball America has released it’s Top 10 Prospects list for the Seattle Mariners organization. There really aren’t any surprises at the top of the list, however the list will be changing relatively soon because a few of the key names are expected to be making an impact at the major league level as early as this season.

Mariners Top 10 Prospects for 2012

1. Jesus Montero, c
2. Taijuan Walker, rhp
3. Danny Hultzen, lhp
4. James Paxton, lhp
5. Nick Franklin, 2b/ss
6. Francisco Martinez, 3b
7. Chance Ruffin, rhp
8. Tom Wilhelmsen, rhp
9. Vinnie Catricala, 3b/1b/of
10. Phillips Castillo, of

Jesus Montero had time in the majors last season with the Yankees but still retained his rookie status for this upcoming season. Many expect Montero to compete for the AL Rookie of the Year award and the Mariners have already informed the media and fans that they will be focusing on developing his bat, rather than his catching abilities. Montero is still expected to get reps behind the plate even though the Mariners have John Jaso and Miguel Olivo on the roster.

Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen and James Paxton are three highly touted prospects in the Mariners system and are partly the reason the team felt comfortable trading away Doug Fister and Michael Pineda. Hultzen is the most seasoned of the three with his experience in college but may not necessarily be the first one called up.

The Mariners are no doubt being built from the ground up. The team is full of young talent that if developed fully, can be a strong contender for a long period of time. Guys like Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero and Hultzen will be expected to play large roles in the Mariners becoming a “team to watch” in the MLB once again.

Mariners fans are in need of a winning team again and the Mariners have made it very clear it’s not going to be something that can be done overnight. Since his tenure as Mariners General Manager, Jack Zduriencik has certainly turned a 180 with the Mariners farm system and made it one of the best in all of baseball.

 

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