BAPR Plus: Seattle Mariners

As Opening Day nears, we’re going to take a tour around the leagues to take a look at which prospects have a shot of making major league Opening Day rosters. Think of it as commentary on our Baseball America Prospect Report. Since we usually release the Top 10 Prospects from East to West, we’re going to reverse that for these updates, moving from West to East to give our left coasters a shot at being first. We’ll start with the Seattle Mariners, where last year’s first rounder is on the fast track.

Who’s Hot: Thanks to his eight Ks and only two BBs and two hits allowed in six scoreless innings, 2006 first-rounder Brandon Morrow has been the Mariners’ spring surprise. One story compares him to Ken Griffey Jr. for his ability to make an instant impact, while another says that his improving splitter may help him land a spot on the Opening Day roster–he has 16 total minor league innings.

“We’ve always thought this kid had the ability to come quick,” manager Mike Hargrove said. “He’s done nothing in this camp to make us think otherwise. Is he real close? Yeah, he’s real close.”

Morrow isn’t the only prospect with a chance to make the roster. He appears to be battling Rule 5 righthander Sean White and Jon Huber for the final spot in the M’s bullpen.

Who’s Cold: No. 1 prospect Adam Jones has struggled as he carried .129/.161/.222 numbers into Thursday’s game. That comes on the heels of his less than impressive September. Add it up and he’s ticketed for Triple-A Tacoma, especially now that Ichiro has shifted from right field to center field.

Say Goodbye To: Jesse Foppert, once one of the best prospects in baseball, was released by the Mariners during spring training. Foppert has never seemed to bounce back Premium after Tommy John surgery in 2003. He allowed six runs in only one inning of work this spring.