Seattle Mariners 2024 International Review


The Mariners have signed a slew of promising international prospects who are congregated at the lower levels of the minor leagues. Outfielder Lazaro Montes is a Top 100 prospect and one of the top young power-hitting prospects in baseball. Outfielder Gabriel Gonzalez ranked right behind him as the No. 5 prospect in the organization before the Mariners traded him to the Twins in January in the deal that brought second baseman Jorge Polanco to Seattle.

Shortstop Felnin Celesten and second baseman Michael Arroyo are two of the top young position prospects in the organization, while 18-year-old righthander Jeter Martinez is coming off an excellent pro debut last year in the Dominican Summer League and has seen his velocity jump to touch 98 mph this year. 

Top Of The Class

The Mariners signed Dominican shortstop Dawel Joseph for $3.3 million, the fourth-highest bonus for an international player in 2024. Early in the scouting process, Joseph stood out for his athleticism, bat-to-ball skills and well above-average speed. As he’s grown bigger and stronger, his skill set and projection have shifted. Joseph is 6-foot-2, 185 pounds with broad shoulders and above-average raw power from the right side. His swing has changed, shifting from a flatter path to a plane that’s more uphill to add loft. While that’s led to more swing-and-miss, he has good balance at the plate and has shown a solid grasp of the strike zone for his age. Now an above-average runner, Joseph has the hands, range, actions and plus arm to give him a chance to stick at shortstop, though depending how much bigger he gets there’s a chance he could slide to third base. 

The Mariners also gave a seven-figure bonus to another Dominican shortstop, Leandro Romero, who signed for $1 million. He’s a quick-twitch athlete who does everything fast. Romero is 6-foot-1, 170 pounds with a lean, athletic frame and a dynamic aspect to his tool set, with plus speed and arm strength from shortstop. He has good range for the position, though he’s still learning to play under control and make the routine plays consistently in addition to the flashy ones. At the plate, Romero’s explosiveness shows up in his bat speed. He whistles the barrel through the zone and can drive the ball for damage to all fields with the potential for plus raw power. He has shown signs of recognizing spin, though with a tendency to fly open early that leads to some swing-and-miss from the right side. 

Names To Know

Zeus Nuñez, 3B/SS, Dominican Republic: Nuñez, who signed for $550,000, added considerable strength to his upper half over the last couple years, going from a lean shortstop to a more powerfully built 6-foot, 185 pounds. The extra strength helps him drive the ball with extra-base impact from an uphill swing geared to drive the ball in the air from the right side, albeit with swing-and-miss risk that leads to a power-over-hit offensive game. Nuñez trained at shortstop as an amateur and could see time there early in his career, though he looks like a better fit defensively at third base, where he has a tick above-average arm.  

Gabriel Guanchez, C, Venezuela: Signed for $500,000, Guanchez has been a major up-arrow player with the improvements in his offensive game. Guanchez (6-foot-2, 195 pounds) early on showed soft hands, a strong arm and the ingredients to stick behind the plate with a chance to hit for power. Over the past year, Guanchez has been one of the better offensive performers in Venezuela as he’s shortened his righthanded swing while gaining bat speed. Guanchez will show flashes of above-average raw power, though with a flatter swing path and an approach geared to wear out the opposite field. He’s a high-contact hitter who should rack up plenty of doubles, with a chance for more of those shots to start going over the fence as he continues to add strength and learns which pitches to try to turn on for damage. His catch-and-throw skills remain strong for his age, with his arm now at least plus and earning plus-plus grades from some scouts. 

Anderson Jimenez, RHP, Dominican Republic: A $280,000 signing, Jimenez (6 feet, 160 pounds) is young for the class as he’s still 16 until Aug. 3. He throws from a lower release height with a lively fastball that has been up to 92 mph, playing above its velocity with good deception. He shows feel to spin a curveball that has slider-like break at times but is an effective pitch and could turn into a bat-missing weapon, with his breaking ball ahead of his nascent changeup. 

Juan Cazarez, RHP, Mexico: Cazarez is 18, so he was previously eligible to sign, but he had been training as an infielder up until around a year and a half ago. Once he moved to the mound, he became a more intriguing prospect, signing with the Mariners for $105,000. At 5-foot-11, 172 pounds, Cazarez doesn’t stand out for his size, but he has already been up to 95 mph and shown feel for a potential plus breaking ball. His changeup is below-average, so with two pitches and his size, some scouts see reliever risk, but he should have some of the better stuff among DSL pitchers this season.

Sleeper Watch

Venezuelan outfielder Manuel De Cesare, who signed for $100,000, is 6-foot-4, 185 pounds with a chance to be a power-hitting corner outfielder. He’s a typical long-limbed hitter with length to his righthanded swing, so while strikeouts will be part of his game, he has shown the ability to draw walks to help offset those whiffs, along with the leverage in his swing and flashes of plus raw power that should climb as he fills out.

Jheifer Ramirez, signed for $70,000, is a 16-year-old righthander from Venezuela with a wiry frame (6 feet, 155 pounds) who generates a lot of extension with his long stride into a fastball that has touched 92 mph. He’s athletic, has good arm speed and is a good strike-thrower for his age, showing enough feel for a short slider and a changeup that will give him a chance to start.

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