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Top Ten Prospects: Seattle Mariners
Complete Index of Top 10s

By Jim Callis
December 17, 2004


Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2005.

Scouting reports for the Top 10 Prospects (Subscribers only) -- Click Here to Subscribe


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TOP TEN PROSPECTS
1. Felix Hernandez, rhp
2. Jeremy Reed, of
3. Shin-Soo Choo, of
4. Clint Nageotte, rhp
5. Matt Tuiasosopo, ss
6. Travis Blackley, lhp
7. Chris Snelling, of
8. Adam Jones, ss
9. Wladimir Balentien, of
10. Asdrubal Cabrera, ss/2b
BEST TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average Jeremy Reed
Best Power Hitter Wladimir Balentien
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Jeremy Reed
Fastest Baserunner Jamal Strong
Best Athlete Matt Tuiasosopo
Best Fastball Felix Hernandez
Best Curveball Felix Hernandez
Best Slider Clint Nageotte
Best Changeup Cesar Jimenez
Best Control Bobby Livingston
Best Defensive Catcher Rene Rivera
Best Defensive Infielder Oswaldo Navarro
Best Infield Arm Adam Jones
Best Defensive Outfielder Jamal Strong
Best Outfield Arm Shin-Soo Choo
TOP PROSPECTS
OF THE DECADE
1995 Alex Rodriguez, ss
1996 Jose Cruz Jr., of
1997 Jose Cruz Jr., of
1998 Ryan Anderson, lhp
1999 Ryan Anderson, lhp
2000 Ryan Anderson, lhp
2001 Ryan Anderson, lhp
2002 Ryan Anderson, lhp
2003 Rafael Soriano, rhp
2004 Felix Hernandez, rhp
TOP DRAFT PICKS
OF THE DECADE
1995 Jose Cruz Jr., of
1996 Gil Meche, rhp
1997 Ryan Anderson, lhp
1998 Matt Thornton, lhp
1999 Ryan Christianson, c
2000 Sam Hays, lhp (4th round)
2001 Michael Garciaparra, ss
2002 *John Mayberry Jr., of
2003 Adam Jones, ss/rhp
2004 Matt Tuiasosopo, ss (3rd round)
* Did not sign
LARGEST BONUSES
IN CLUB HISTORY
Ichiro Suzuki, 2000 $5,000,000
Matt Tuiasosopo, 2004 $2,290,000
Ryan Anderson, 1997 $2,175,000
Kazuhiro Sasaki, 2000 $2,000,000
Michael Garciaparra, 2001 $2,000,000
Bill Bavasis first year as Seattle general manager couldnt have gone much worse. Succeeding Pat Gillick, whose clubs averaged 98 wins and reached two American League Championship Series in four years, Bavasi presided over the Mariners plummeting to 63-99 and finishing last for the first time since 1992.

Most of Bavasis offseason acquisitions didnt work out. Eddie Guardado got hurt, while Rich Aurilia and Scott Spiezio were disasters. Making matters worse, the addition of Aurilia led to the trade of Carlos Guillen, who became an all-star in Detroit. Bavasis best move came in June, when he traded pending free agent Freddy Garcia for young catcher Miguel Olivo and two of the White Sox top prospects, outfielder Jeremy Reed and shortstop Michael Morse.

By that point, there was little to cheer for outside of Ichiros successful pursuit of the single-season hits record. The Mariners soon gave up on the season and began taking a look at their young talent, as a club-record 16 players made their major league debuts. Lefthander Bobby Madritsch turned in the best performance among the rookies, using a deceptive changeup to go 6-3, 3.27. Cult hero Bucky Jacobsen whacked nine homers in 42 games before having knee surgery.

Not all the debuts went so swimmingly. Seattles two most advanced pitching prospects, righthander Clint Nageotte and lefty Travis Blackley, didnt go after big league hitters, constantly fell behind in the count and got ravaged.

Seattles biggest phenom didnt make it to Safeco, though righthander Felix Hernandez might have acquitted himself well had he been given his chance. He conquered every other challenge thrown his way, dominating high Class A and Double-A and establishing himself as the games best pitching prospectall at the age of 18.

Hernandez sits atop a Top 10 Prospects list that once again has a heavy international flavor. Six of the players were signed on the international market, coming from Australia, Curacao, Korea and Venezuela. Seattle may have the most diverse organization in baseball, also featuring players from Aruba, Canada, China, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Japan, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, South Africa and Taiwan.

The foreign players stand out, in part, because the Mariners havent drafted well. They were without a first-round pick for the fourth time in five years in 2004, but scouting director Bob Fontaine Jr. found an equivalent talent in third-rounder Matt Tuiasosopo. A heralded quarterback recruit, Tuiasosopo signed for $2.29 million and quickly stood out among Seattles deep crop of shortstops.

New manager Mike Hargrove will need a lot of new talent to turn around a club that finished 26 games out of third place. The Mariners will have to move on without Roger Jongewaard, who retired. Jongewaard became Seattles scouting director in December 1985 and was in charge of both scouting and player development from 1989-2003.


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