2023 Seattle Mariners Top 10 Prospects Chat

Kyle Glaser hosted a chat to discuss the Mariners system. You can read the transcript here.


Kyle Glaser: Hey everyone, look forward to chatting with you all today. Let’s get started.

E-Dub (Cbus, Oh):

     Thanks for the chat, Kyle. I’m intrigued by the idea that Gabe Gonzalez is only a future fringe average to average hitter. While he does offer at pitches out of the zone occasionally, he shows a good eye and intent (hunts his pitch), hits to different parts of the field, and statistically presents as an above average hitter. His Low-A performance as an 18-year-old was precocious, and he actually raised his walk rate there while slightly lowering his already promising strikeout rate. Not to compare them, but he reminds of Julio Rodriguez, in that both are celebrated for their thump but are hitters with power. What are you hearing from scouts that would put a 45 on Gonzalez’s hit tool?

Kyle Glaser: Gabriel Gonzalez is a very promising prospect and there are a lot of things to like about him as a hitter. He’s strong, he’s got plenty of bat speed, he hits the ball very hard and he doesn’t swing and miss a ton. The reason evaluators both inside and outside the Mariners organization see him as a 45-50 hitter universally is because his swing path leaves him vulnerable to pitches above the belt and he’s very, very aggressive and swings at a lot of pitches he can’t drive. Higher-level pitchers are going to exploit those enough to keep him more in the 45-50 hitter range rather than anything more. As for as him vs. Julio, there’s no real comparison. Julio was a completely different level of hitter and athlete. Gonzalez is a good prospect with a lot to like, but he’s not anywhere near that type of a player.

JY (Chicago):

     Here’s your obligatory question of where, if even generally, the prospects we’ve traded since the beginning of 2022 (and mostly to the Reds) would fit if they were still around.

Kyle Glaser: It’s tough to say with certainty because they weren’t discussed much because they’re no longer part of the system. Generally speaking, Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo would probably have been in the top three with Harry Ford, Brandon Williamson and Connor Phillips probably would have been somewhere in the 6-8 range and Levi Stoudt probably would have been around No. 10. Adam Macko and Andrew Moore would have been sprinkled in probably somewhere in the teens.

SCJH (Denver):

     What are you hearing about Axel Sanchez? He seemed to pop up out of nowhere at midseason after Arroyo was traded, but once he was up it looked from the outside like he was flashing a plus MI glove along with some serious power. Is there impact potential there?

Kyle Glaser: Axel Sanchez’s defense is the real deal. He was one of the more impressive shortstops I saw all year defensively. Instincts, athleticism, ability – it’s all there for him to be a plus defensive shortstop. The power spike at Modesto was impressive…and unexpected. Even Mariners officials aren’t convinced it will hold. He’s still mostly a ground-ball contact guy and there are some concerns about how the swing will play at higher levels, so he mostly projects to be a glove-first shortstop whose bat is a little light when all is said and done. That said, he exceeded all expectations last year and it shouldn’t be ruled out that he can do it again.

Travis (Omak, WA):

     I’m curious where you would rank Montes in the system and can you give us a couple notes on him?

Kyle Glaser: Lazaro Montes is in the 11-15 range of the system (you can find out exactly where when you get your Prospect Handbooks). He has huge power and can do some freakish things in the gym strength-wise, but he really struggled to make contact with anything above his belt in the DSL and he’s a below-average runner and defender who is limited to a corner. He’s going to have to make a lot of strides as a pure hitter. This year will be a good test for him as he moves stateside.

Travis (Omak, WA):

     What is the industry consensus on Cade Marlowe and what is the best case scenario for his pro career? Do you think he contributes to the mariners this season.

Kyle Glaser: That Marlowe is going to be a valuable reserve who can run, play all three outfield positions and hit for power. And yes, I think it’s highly likely he contributes in a bench/reserve role for the Mariners this season.

Travis (Omak,Wa):

     Who is a hitter in the Mariners system who could have a breakout season and burst on to the prospect scene?

Kyle Glaser: He’s already in the Top 10 here, but keep a close eye on Michael Arroyo. He’s a really promising young hitter and has a chance to take off in 2023.

Travis (Omak, WA):

     What has contributed to Hancock being considered a #2 starter when he was drafted to now being profiled as a number #4 or #5 starter? It in injuries alone or are there additional concerns?

Kyle Glaser: Injuries and the stuff just hasn’t missed bats as expected. That all said, it’s not like he’s a bad prospect just because he hasn’t lived up so far to his draft slot. Teams need good back-end starters to win. If Hancock can be one for the Mariners, that’s a positive outcome.

Jon (WA):

     Emerson Hancock’s report is pretty soft for the #6 overall pick. Is there a development path available to get him more in the mid-rotation range? He looked very good in his 1 inning stint in the Futures Game. Might he be more valuable as a reliever if he showed that well in short stints?

Kyle Glaser: To follow up on Hancock, his stuff would really have to take a jump for him to get into the mid-rotation range, especially his slider. Relief is a possibility for him, especially with his delivery and the durability concerns it creates, but a solid No. 4-5 starter is generally more valuable than a 7th-8th inning reliever, so exhausting all avenues to keep him as a starter is the right way to go.

Scary T (DC):

     Someone is a Harry Ford fan! When the scouting report talks about benevolence you know you are reaching. This is one of those cases where you are lowering the offensive bar because he is a catcher, but the reality is that he is probably not a catcher. That sounds a lot like a utility player. Given the hype that he is getting I would expect him to start playing CF. That is the process for trying to create value in a player – you have to keep him at premium defensive positions so the offense plays. Here is an alternate report – The Mariners reached for him in the 2021 draft selecting him 11th overall. Filled out frame without room for projection. Walks are his carrying skill and he has problems with strikeouts. Lacks a defensive home.

Kyle Glaser: Your opinion is not shared by evaluators across the game, nor myself having seen a lot of him this year with Modesto. You’ll notice from June 1 through the end of the season, which coincides with when Ford returned to full strength after battling some early season injuries, he hit .300/.446/.496. He showed contact skills, patience, gap to gap power and impressive speed and athleticism. He absolutely has work to do defensively and you’re correct he doesn’t have a ton of physical projection remaining, but even from the start of the year through his stint with Great Britain at the WBC qualifier, he visibly got much stronger. As for the benevolence part, makeup is a critical part of who players are and their likelihood of success. We write about makeup every year – you’re welcome to go back and read Julio Rodriguez’s report from last year, in which I wrote about his makeup extensively. I don’t think anyone would call that one reaching.

Danny V (Hartford, CT):

     Zach Deloach put in a solid campaign at AA Arkansas. Was he considered for the Top 10?

Kyle Glaser: DeLoach is in the teens of the Mariners system. He continues to hum along and not be overly exciting but gets the job done. There is still a concern that his lack of tools will catch up to him, but his plate discipline and on-base skills from the left side give him a chance to valuable in a reserve or platoon role.

Michael (Raleigh):

     Gabriel Gonzalez. Given his age and the progress he has shown already why do I see your scouting report as a bit inconsistent. Given his strengths in the strike zone, will not better pitch selection potentially lead to much higher ceiling than a fringy to average hitter? Thanks.

Kyle Glaser: As mentioned earlier, Gonzalez’s swing path as it currently stands is going to lead to some holes at higher levels that will keep him in more of the average-ish hitter range. That said, we’ll see what adjustments he makes as he moves up. He’s a good prospect and someone to watch.

Ken (Lakewood CA):

     Thanks Kyle. Always look forward to your chats. Kelenic is no longer a prospect, but at 23 is still very young. He hits AAA pitching very well, but with 500 MLB AB, he has seasons of .181 and .141 – which can’t be seen as good. How much more do the Mariners have to see before moving on from him as a future big league OF for them?

Kyle Glaser: That’s going to be up to Kelenic and what adjustments he makes. If he comes out this year having made meaningful changes and starts to show signs of improvement, he’ll get a longer leash. If he doesn’t, it’s going to be hard for him to get any meaningful playing time for a Mariners team trying to get back to the postseason.

John (Kirkland):

     60 grade hit tool on Arroyo is very exciting for his age…is he on a T100 trajectory if he hits the ground running in the ACL? Any updates on other big bonus guys from last year like Lazaro Montes and Martin Gonzalez?

Kyle Glaser: Arroyo could be. He’s a really intriguing young hitter that has a lot of people excited. Jumping him into the Top 100 with a good ACL performance would be aggressive, but if he continues to do it in full-season ball, it’s not out of the question. I addressed Montes and his initial impressions earlier. As for Gonzalez, his pro debut was a disaster. He was just completely helpless at the plate. The Mariners are already very concerned about that signing.

Warren (New London):

     Milkar Perez was completely overmatched at Modesto, which is all the more concerning in that it seems like a great place to hit. Is the problem an overly passive approach (he did draw a lot of walks), or is it something more fundamental?

Kyle Glaser: Perez has never really made hard contact and he hasn’t shown any interest in trying to drive a baseball. He mostly just goes out, looks to walk and plays pepper when he does put the bat on the ball. The Mariners internally are pretty down on him, as is pretty much anyone who saw him last year.

Tom (Portland, OR):

     Did Robert Perez show enough at Everett to move up to AA?

Kyle Glaser: Yes. Perez will be in Double-A next year barring an injury or unexpected development.

Ken (Lakewood CA):

     With that eye catching BB to K ratio, Cole Young is off to a great start. Ford has a year head start on him, but could you see Young passing him and becoming the Mariner #1 prospect by next year? Could he be that good or am I reading too much into what he has done so far? Obviously what each player does this year will factor into this.

Kyle Glaser: Cole Young is very promising and someone who could definitely end up the Mariners No. 1 prospect. He projects to be a pretty special hitter, but again, projecting to be something and going out and doing it over a full season are two different things. Everything he’s shown so far has been positive though. He’s a good player.

Frederick (Boston):

     Hi Kyle, thanks for the chat today! I know Taylor Dollard is never going to be a high strikeout guy, but can his advanced control and command be enough to vault him into a mid-rotation arm over the back-end/long relief predictions that have been put on him. Could something like prime Kyle Hendricks or even Cliff Lee be possible?

Kyle Glaser: Never say never, but that’s not really what anyone sees, even the Mariners internally. Collin McHugh, Brad Peacock, Nick Martinez…more a guy like that who can slide back and forth between the back of the rotation and relief as needed. Those pitchers are valuable and if Dollard can be that for the Mariners, they’ll be very happy with that outcome.

Warren (New London):

     Axel Sanchez is listed as the best defensive infielder in the system, and he also hit very well at Modesto. What kept him out of the top 10?

Kyle Glaser: Lot of Axel Sanchez questions here. I talked about him earlier and will try to sum it all up here. Sanchez is a very good defensive shortstop and someone to watch in the system. The bat is a lot further behind than the stats he put up in Modesto indicate. You have to keep in mind the pitching in the Cal League was horrendously bad last year and he did it all from August on, facing the guys who weren’t good enough to be promoted. There are a lot of concerns about his swing and a lot of doubts that he’ll make quality contact consistently against better arms. Evaluators both internally and externally see him as more of a utilityman than a true everyday shortstop because of those concerns about his bat, which is why he’s outside of the Top 10.

Stuart (Boise, Idaho):

     Bryce Miller’s role in the future could be as a starter or as a reliever. For me, his arm speed and action stretched out over 170 innings per season sounds like an injury waiting to happen. Am I being an alarmist?

Kyle Glaser: A bit. Miller consistently held his stuff throughout his outings and held strong throughout the year, including tossing seven innings in his final start of the year. He has outings where he looks like a starter and others where his delivery looks more reliever-ish, but he’s holding his stuff and command and he’s got the strength and athleticism to make it work for him. Both the Mariners and opposing evaluators see him as a starter, and potentially a pretty darn good one.

Zac (NYC):

     Hi there, Does Kaden Polcivich’s versatility make him somebody who could find his way to Seattle as a contributor? Will he be in the top 30?

Kyle Glaser: Polcovich is at the back of the Top 30. He has a shot to get to Seattle for sure, he’s just more in the up-down utilityman world than a true bench piece who stays in the majors and provides steady contributions.

Ben (Fort Wayne):

     In 6 months how much will the team regret not having Lazaro Monte’s in the top 10? I can respect Ford being their #1 prospect, but how does a guy compared to Yordan Alvarez, regardless of age, not become a top 5 prospect minimum based on upside alone?

Kyle Glaser: Because Montes struck out 33% of the time in the DSL and can’t hit anything above his belt. No one is comparing him to Yordan Alvarez now that he’s actually played a professional game. He’s got huge power and he’s strong as heck, but the contact concerns are very, very pronounced.

Mr. Dipoto (Portland):

     Is Ford a top hundred guy at the end of the year? Anyone else?

Kyle Glaser: We have our Top 100 coming out later this week. You can see if and where Ford and other Mariners prospects slot in then.

Kevin (Home):

     Any hope left for Sam Carlson?

Kyle Glaser: Nothing prodigious. You’re just kind of hoping he can continue to stay on the mound and maybe one day he surfaces as an up-down relief type.

Warren (New London):

     Jonatan Clase had a quadruple double (2B,3B,HR,SB) at Modesto and was named the fastest baserunner in the system. How close is he to the top 10, and how worried are you about his size?

Kyle Glaser: Clase is a very exciting player and he’s not far off the Top 10. His size isn’t really the concern. The concern is he swings and misses a ton.

Rival GM (Greenlake):

     Who are the helium guys for the coming year? Montes? Woo? Pinto? etc….

Kyle Glaser: If Bryan Woo stays healthy and proves he can hold his stuff over a full season, he could rise fast. Keep an eye on Tyler Gough. He really impressed Mariners officials after signing and is a breakout candidate to watch.

HeathBP (AR):

     Which arms do you like best for potential back-end of bullpen? Berroa appears to have 2 plus-plus pitches. Potential fast mover as RP? Miller likely mid rotation or high leverage RP?

Kyle Glaser: Berroa is the obvious guy. He has the stuff to pitch in high-leverage relief and has a decent shot of fulfilling that potential. Miller is going to develop as a starter and has a chance to be a mid-rotation starter, but if something goes sideways, he certainly has the stuff to be dominant out of the bullpen.

Bob (New York):

     Did Alberto Rodriguez take a step back last year and what does he need to do this year since he was already added to the 40 man last year and the Mariners likely don’t want to waste a spot on a player that isn’t going to contribute all that soon?

Kyle Glaser: Alberto Rodriguez took several steps back last year. Most of it was related to his conditioning, which has long been a concern with him. He’s a DFA candidate as soon as they need a 40-man roster spot. Both the Mariners and external observers were extremely disappointed and underwhelmed with him.

Matthew Sims (California):

     How good is Bryce Miller?

Kyle Glaser: Bryce Miller has a chance to be very, very good. His fastball is dominant and his strike-throwing is improving rapidly. His secondaries are merely good, not great, but that’s enough with how vicious his fastball is. He has a chance to be a mid-rotation starter as long as he keeps up the progress he showed last year.

Jacob (Olympia):

     The Mariners drafted 3 very projectable HS pitchers in 2022. What order would you rank them based on current stuff and also future potential? Walter Ford Ashton Izzi Tyler Gough

Kyle Glaser: You can find out the order in the Prospect Handbook. All three are ranked in the Top 30.

Jacob (Olympia):

     In 2009, the Mariners drafted Kyle Seager in the 3rd round. I remember at the time he was viewed as guy who could be a fringe-starting player at the big league level but didn’t have any strong tools apart from hitting. While not an exact comparison, Josh Hood seems to have be similar from what I can tell. What is your take on Josh Hood’s future prospects?

Kyle Glaser: That’s not who Josh Hood is at all. He’s the exact opposite. He has a bunch of strong secondary tools but real questions about how much he’ll hit. Good runner, good defender, strong arm, has power, but he’s a below-average hitter who swings and misses a lot. His 100 percentile outcome is Chad Pinder, which is obviously a valuable player, but there’s also a lot of risk he won’t make enough contact.

Michael (Rochester):

     Cole Young – how far away from the majors? ETA? What is his ceiling? Occasional All star?

Kyle Glaser: Cole Young was just drafted out of high school. We’re talking 4-5 years until he sees the majors. His ceiling is a bat-first second baseman who hits for a high average and gets into some power and that type of player typically ends up making an All-Star game or two. But again, he’s very far away from that and there is a lot of development to go. A lot can and will happen between now and then that will determine whether he actually gets there.

JD (AZ):

     What can you tell us about Starlin Aguilar? Is the lack of power a concern for the organization?

Kyle Glaser: Aguilar is trending in the wrong direction. He’s really limited athletically and there’s just no impact when he connects. He kind of softly sprays balls around, which might have a chance work if he was a 70-80 runner, but he’s not. He’s also really bad defensively at third base. It’s not great right now.

Kyle Glaser: All right everyone, that will do it for today. Thanks for coming out, and have a good rest of your week.

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