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Walker returns to the Mariners' No. 1 prospect ranking after dropping to No. 2 for one season, 2013, behind catcher Mike Zunino. He concentrated more on basketball at Yucaipa High, when he had the nickname "Sky Walker" and averaged 21 points and 15 rebounds as a senior. But he also played baseball for coach Jeff Stout, who has worked with big leaguers such as Mark Teahen, Corky Miller, Matt Carson and Walker's former prep teammate, Diamondbacks prospect third baseman Matt Davidson. The Mariners made Walker their first pick in the 2010 draft, selecting him 43rd overall, then signing him for $800,000. He's a quick learner and hard worker, which combined with his outstanding athletic ability has allowed him to become one of baseball's top pitching prospects. Walker turned heads at the Futures Game in both 2012 and 2013. The latter was particularly special because it marked the first time Walker's father had a chance to see his son play in a professional game. Walker has two plus pitches, a fastball with plus armside action and a slider/cutter hybrid. The fastball ranges from 93-98 mph and usually sits at 95-96, while the slider is in the 88-92 range and has good, late break. Scouts consider his slider his best pitch, even over his fastball. Walker also throws a curveball and changeup. The latter has a chance to be an above-average pitch if he can learn to throw it for strikes more often and subtract more velocity to add differentiation from his fastball. He has a hard time commanding his mid-70s curveball, which can be a sharp pitch but is his fourth offering. All of Walker's pitches tend to catch a little bit too much of the plate at times, and he needs to work on honing his command, which has improved quite a bit since he first entered pro ball. As one would expect from a former basketball star, Walker is agile. That not only helps him repeat his delivery but has enabled him to improve his pickoff move and defense. Walker made his major league debut in September 2013, getting three starts before being shut down after reaching 156 innings for the season. The Mariners were so impressed by how he handled his first taste of the big leagues that he figures to slot in near the back of their rotation to begin 2014. He has the raw ability to be a No.1 starter and at least settle in as a fine wing man for Felix Hernandez.
The Mariners drafted Peterson in the 33rd round in 2010 out of Gilbert (Ariz.) High, but he went to New Mexico instead and hit .414 with 35 homers in his final two seasons,prompting the Mariners to take him 12th overall last year. He quickly signed for the slot value of $2,759,100. His younger brother Dustin signed with the Padres as a second-round pick out of high school in 2013. Peterson was considered by many to be the best power bat available in the draft, and that is where his value lies. He can drive the ball to all fields with his big swing, but he keeps it under control well enough that he may not strike out as much as most sluggers. Peterson most likely will shift across the diamond to first base at some point, as he did at New Mexico in 2013. His arm is strong enough to play third base, but he lacks the range and footwork necessary for the position. He is a below-average runner. Peterson was thriving in his debut until Aug. 22, when a pitch hit him in the jaw, breaking it and requiring two surgeries. The Mariners expect him to be ready for spring training, with a probable 2014 assignment to high Class A High Desert, putting Peterson on course to reach Seattle by late 2015.
Paxton took the long road to Seattle, the team he grew up rooting for in British Columbia. A supplemental first-round pick in 2009 by the Blue Jays, he didn't sign and didn't return to college after Jays president Paul Beeston told a Toronto newspaper he had negotiated with Paxton's agent Scott Boras, effectively ending Paxton's eligibility. He went on to play independent ball, and the Mariners drafted him in 2010, finally signing him for $942,500 in March 2011. Paxton's fastball runs anywhere from 91-98 mph, though his velocity fluctuates because the long-limbed lefty can have trouble repeating his mechanics. His hammer curveball is a plus pitch, sitting in the low 80s at its best, but Paxton also has trouble throwing it for strikes consistently. His cutter and changeup lag behind the other two pitches. Paxton tightened his delivery considerably late in 2013, which allowed him to pitch well when he was called up to the major leagues for the first time in September. Paxton will get a chance to win a spot in the big league rotation in spring training. If he throws enough strikes, he could be a mid-rotation starter. If he moves to the bullpen, he has the stuff to pitch high-leverage innings.
Gohara was a baseball rat from the time he was young and began playing in national tournaments in Brazil by age 10. The Mariners signed him for $800,000 in 2012 and, in a rare move, had him skip the complex leagues and assigned him to Rookie-level Pulaski as a 16-year-old in 2013. He held his own again older competition, though he was slowed by a sore shoulder. The big-bodied Gohara has good stuff, but he must refine his secondary pitches. His fastball sits at 92-93 mph, occasionally reaches 96, and probably will sit more consistently at the upper range with more experience and strength. He throws a curveball and slider and both are inconsistent. Gohara's command of the changeup is also erratic but it has a chance to be a plus pitch because of its late fade. His delivery is sound and advanced for his age. However, Gohara tends to put on weight despite still being a teenager, and some scouts see a body type along the lines of a shorter version of C.C. Sabathia. He pitched just 22 innings in 2013 because of the balky shoulder. The Mariners don't want to greatly increase his workload in 2014, so he probably will be held back at extended spring training before a return trip to Pulaski. Based on his velocity and clean mechanics, Gohara has a chance to be at least a mid-rotation starter, and maybe more.
The Mariners signed Diaz for $300,000 as their third-round pick in 2012. Pitching is in his bloodlines. His cousin Jose Melendez was a reliever with the Mariners, Padres and Red Sox from 1990-94. Diaz grew up idolizing Pedro Martinez and wears No. 45 in his honor. He has two above-average pitches in his fastball and slider. The fastball had sneaky velocity, usually sitting 90-94 mph, and he'll occasionally ramp it up to 96. Diaz has strong command for such a young pitcher, locating his fastball to both sides of the plate. The slider became a plus pitch when the Mariners had him raise his three-quarters arm slot, which allowed him to throw on more of a downhill plane. Like most young pitchers, Diaz needs to work on his changeup because he still is learning how to throw it at the same arm speed as his fastball. Diaz is on the thin side, even though he has gained 20 pounds since signing, and he tired at the end of 2013 at Rookie-level Pulaski. Diaz has a ceiling to rival any pitcher in the organization other than Taijuan Walker. He profiles as at least a potential mid-rotation starter or a strong late-inning reliever if stamina becomes a long-term issue. He should be ready for a jump to low Class A Clinton.
The Mariners needed to go well over the recommended slot value for the 49th overall pick in 2013 to sign Wilson and keep him from returning to Stanford for his senior season. He missed half the college season with a stress reaction in his right elbow and wound up singing for $1.7 million, which was $590,000 over slot. Wilson is a physical specimen and has the raw tools to match. The most intriguing tool is the one that hasn't fully developed yet--power. He hit 20 homers total in college but worked to add loft in his swing after signing with Seattle and hit five of his six home runs at short-season Everett in August. A poor bet to hit for a high average, Wilson has the type of raw power to make that tradeoff acceptable. He has a very strong arm and is an above-average runner, making him a natural for right field. He would need to tighten his route-taking to be able play center. The Mariners will take it slowly with Wilson and have him begin 2014 at low Class A Clinton with an eye on an in-season promotion to high Class A High Desert. Wilson is still somewhat raw for a college player, but his tools, intelligence and work ethic give him a chance to potentially become a first-division regular.
Sanchez began making his mark when was 12 while playing for Venezuela in international play, and the Mariners signed him for $2.5 million in 2011. He got a late start at low Class A Clinton in 2013 as he returned from offseason appendicitis, but he recovered to throw a nine-inning no-hitter on July 18 against Lansing. Sanchez's wife and mother witnessed the gem as they had flown in from Venezuela the day before. What stands out most about Sanchez is his thick, barrel-chested body. However, he is much more muscular than overweight, and one scout compared him physically to former NFL linebacker Ray Lewis, a nickname his short-season Everett teammates hung on him in 2012. Sanchez pitched well with less stuff in 2013, pitching off an 88-91 mph fastball that touched 94. His changeup, which flashes above-average, and curveball also were ordinary. What makes his three pitches play up, though, is pinpoint control. He pounds the bottom half of the zone and throws them all on a downhill angle. Sanchez will move up to high Class A High Desert in 2014, a difficult environment for even the best of pitching prospects. He'll have to tighten up his secondary stuff to achieve his mid-rotation ceiling, but he has the pitchability to move quickly if he does.
Marlette had a strong amateur career, including a home run at Petco Park in the 2010 Aflac All-American Game in San Diego. The Mariners' $650,000 over-slot bonus in 2011 convinced him to pass up a scholarship to Central Florida. Marlette is a bat-first catching prospect at this stage of his career. He has a good approach at the plate with a relatively good eye and a willingness to hit the ball the other way. He showed very good raw power as an amateur, which started to manifest more as doubles power with low Class A Clinton in 2013, where he also made good strides defensively. Marlette shows signs of being a potentially plus player behind the plate because his receiving skills are improving. However, his throws tend to sail at times because of improper footwork. He has a strong arm, though, and threw out 38 percent of basestealers, third in the Midwest League in 2013. With a squat body and thick lower half, Marlette will have to work hard to monitor his conditioning and avoid becoming a baseclogger. The Mariners will move him to high Class A High Desert in 2014, where he'll try to increase his workload while maintaining his offensive production.
Taylor signed for $500,000 in 2012 following his junior season at Virginia, almost double the recommended slot of $264,000. His father Chris Sr. and uncle Armand both wrestled at Virginia Tech, and the former held the school record for fastest pin, while the latter was a three-time conference wrestler of the year. Taylor was considered a glove-first prospect when he entered pro ball, but he hit his way to Double-A Jackson in 2013. He handles the bat well, sprays line drives to all fields and also is willing to be patient and take walks. However, he does not possess over-the-fence power, and his willingness to go deep in counts also results in a lot of strikeouts for someone with minimal power. He can be induced to chase two-strike pitches out of the zone. A stolen-base threat despite being just a tick-above-average runner, he has good instincts on the bases as well as in the field. He plays a good shortstop because of his range and hands, but some scouts question whether his fringe arm strength will force him to second base. Taylor has a chance to begin 2014 at Triple-A Tacoma with a good spring training. Seattle's middle-infield depth makes Taylor a better fit for them as a utility player.
Hultzen's parents are both doctors--his father is a neonatologist and his mother a psychiatrist. He saw too much of doctors in 2013, however, after being shut down twice and eventually needing surgery in October to repair a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder. His pre-surgery stuff played up because he had outstanding deception in his delivery. However, that deception was created by severely throwing across his body, a motion that many other teams felt could lead to injury eventually. It remains to be seen how much Hultzen will need to change his delivery once he recovers. His best pitch is an outstanding changeup that he throws with the same arm action as his fastball, which sat 90-92 mph and touched 95 when healthy. He also has a curveball and a slider, which he uses primarily against lefthanders. The Mariners didn't get a star with Dustin Ackley as the No. 2 overall pick in 2009, and Hultzen could be another No. 2 overall miss if he struggles to come back from his surgery. Seattle expects him to miss the 2014 season, and their lofty investment--including an $8.5 million major league contract and team-record $6.35 million signing bonus--could be in jeopardy.
The Mariners have long sought the next Ken Griffey, but with Morban they might have to settle for production more along the lines of Griffey senior than junior. Viewed by scouts as the top hitter available on the international amateur market in 2008, Morban signed with the Mariners for $1.1 million, and his level, lefthanded swing produces power, though not necessarily the loft to profile as a top-end home run threat. He generates above-average power with a wide-open stance and should be a threat to annually hit 15-plus home runs as a major league regular. Improved selectivity could help Morban hit for a consistently high average and improve his walk total. He's aggressive to a fault, especially against lefthanders, batting .241/.310/.329 against them at Double-A Jackson in 2013. After the first four years of his career were marked by injury and inconsistency, Morban started putting things together in 2012 at high Class A High Desert and had another strong year at Jackson in 2013 before breaking the fibula in his right calf in mid-August on a slide into second base. His below-average speed and range limits him to a corner-outfield spot, perhaps left field even though his arm is good enough for right. A member of the 40-man roster, Morban will start 2014 at Triple-A Tacoma.
Kivlehan did not play baseball at Rutgers until his senior year, stepping away from the sport for three years while concentrating on playing safety for the Scarlet Knights football team. He has certainly made up for lost time, winning Big East Conference player of the year honors in 2012, his lone college season on the diamond, and quickly working his way into prospect status as a pro. Kivlehan surprised scouts by hitting for more average than power in 2013, while making fairly consistent contact by using an all-fields approach. He hasn't learned to pull the ball for power yet, but most coaches consider that easier to teach, and he has as much power to the opposite field as the pull side. Kivlehan has had his struggles at third base because he lacks first-step quickness and his arm is erratic. However, the Mariners like his work ethic and want to give him every chance to succeed at the hot corner before moving him to first base. He's a fringy runner but will steal an occasional base. Kivlehan struggled in the Arizona Fall League, going 10-for-61 (.164), but likely will be ticketed for Double-A Jackson in 2014.
The comparisons between Gabriel Guerrero and his uncle, nine-time all-star outfielder Vladimir, were inevitable from the moment Gabriel signed for $400,000 in 2011. While he isn't quite as toolsy at Uncle Vlad, he's pretty close. They both have very similar hitting styles, including not wearing batting gloves. Gabriel is a free-swinger who is adept at hitting pitches out of the zone, and yet he doesn't strike out copiously because he can handle breaking pitches fairly well. He has an outstanding arm, earning 70 grades on the 20-80 scouting scale, and that gives him a chance to be an above-average right fielder. He also runs well. The Mariners aggressively promoted Guerrero in 2013, assigning him to low Class A Clinton, and he survived even though his raw power didn't play. He puts on batting practice displays, but his lack of discipline keeps him from getting to his power in games. A probable assignment to high Class A High Desert is in store for 2014.
Smith thrived as a starter at Texas State, going 19-7, 2.52 in two seasons, but his slinging, low-slot delivery prompted the Mariners to make him a reliever once he signed for $215,000 as an eight-round pick in 2011. He's succeeded in the role, and Seattle selected him as its minor league relief pitcher of the year for 2013. Smith works off a hard sinker/slider combination. The fastball usually parks in the 91-93 mph range, which is nothing special for a reliever, but what makes it a plus pitch is its outstanding movement. The slider sits 84-88 mph, and Smith sometimes has a hard time controlling the break on it. He consistently forces hitters to beat the ball into the ground, however, as evidenced by a well-above-average 4.13 groundout/airout ratio at Double-A Jackson in 2013. The biggest concern about Smith is his delivery, because his max-effort mechanics are difficult to repeat and often find him slinging the ball more than throwing it. He continues to work on smoothing out his motion, and he walked just 3.1 per nine innings in 2013. Smith likely will begin 2014 at Triple-A Tacoma and should graduate to the big league bullpen at some point during the season.
Romero broke through in 2012 when he earned the Mariners' minor league player of the year honor, batting .352/.391/.599 with 23 homers between high Class A High Desert and Double-A Jackson. His production went backward in 2013, but he still earned a spot on the club's 40-man roster. Romero suffered a strained left oblique muscle when he swung at and missed a breaking pitch during 2013 spring training, an injury that caused him to miss the last four weeks. A second and third baseman previously, he shifted to left field at Triple-A Tacoma in 2013, though he still played two games at the keystone. Romero can hit for average and has average power, but his speed and arm are just adequate. He draws high marks for his makeup and work ethic. He will go back to Triple-A Tacoma in 2014 to try to hit his way into a crowded Mariners outfield picture.
The Mariners went nearly half a million dollars over slot to convince Pike to forego a scholarship to Florida State, signing him for $850,000 in 2012 as a supplemental third-round pick. He has met expectations and then some to this point, falling just four outs short of having enough innings to lead the low Class A Midwest League in ERA (2.37) in 2013. Pike's fastball sits in the 88-91 mph range, and he has good feel for his changeup at a young age, as well as decent deception in his delivery. However, his slow curveball is erratic and he will need that pitch in order to have a varied enough arsenal to be a major league starter. Pike tends to throw everything to the outer third of the plate and is hesitant to pitch inside or to contact. That approach to pitching works against lesser competition, but most scouts believe Pike is going to need to learn to use the inner half of the plate. The hitting environment of high Class A High Desert will be a difficult proving ground. Some Mariners officials see the athletic Pike as a future No. 4 starter, but he's far from reaching that ceiling.
Acquired from the Yankees for reliever Shawn Kelley on the eve of spring training 2013, Almonte benefitted from the change in scenery. He made his major league debut on Aug. 30 and started 18 times over the season's final month. Managers voted Almonte as the Double-A Eastern League's fastest baserunner in 2012, and he swiped 20 bases in 27 attempts at Triple-A Tacoma in 2013. The switch-hitter plays with energy, hits for solid average and shows some pop from the left side, and with 11 home runs in 2013 he more than doubled his previous single-season high. Almonte can be too aggressive both at the plate and in the field, where he generally runs good routes in center field and has a strong arm. His best tool is 60 speed, and he's an excellent, if inefficient, basestealer. Almonte will have a chance to win a bench job with the Mariners this spring, but he has the look of a late-bloomer who could work his way into a part-regular role.
The son of former Mr. Canada bodybuilder Terry O'Neill, Tyler carries the nickname "Tank" for his sturdy physique. The Mariners liked him enough to give him a $600,000 bonus as their third-round pick in 2013. Though he hit only one home run in his first 100 at-bats in the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2013, O'Neill has the strong hands and arms to become a power hitter as he matures and learns to put a little more loft into what is currently a pretty--but level--righthanded swing. While he has plenty of muscle, O'Neill is not a one-dimensional player. He is anaverage runner and a good enough athlete to have played shortstop in high school in British Columbia. Short of range and with an average arm, O'Neill's long-term position figures to be left field or perhaps first base. Though he grew up in Maple Ridge, the same town as all-star outfielder Larry Walker, he reminds many scouts of another B.C. native, Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie. He will begin 2014 at low Class A Clinton.
Despite playing little baseball while growing up in the Virgin Islands, Blash was drafted three times as an amateur, first by the White Sox out of high school in 2007. Following a year at Alcorn State, where he was ineligible, he was drafted in each of his years at Miami-Dade CC, finally signing with the Mariners for $140,000 as a 2010 eight-rounder after being kicked off the junior-college team in mid-April. Scouts can dream on Blash because he has an athletic build--he draws comparisons with Eric Davis--along with plenty of tools. He has big-time power potential, runs well and has a plus arm, though at times his throws lack accuracy. However, Blash has yet to have his production match his tools. He's streaky at the plate, has a hole in his swing middle-in and gets caught cheating on fastballs by savvy pitchers. The Mariners have been patient with Blash because athletic righthanded power hitters are hard to find. He likely will begin 2014 back at Double-A Jackson, where ended 2013. Left off the 40-man roster, Blash has profile right fielder upside but remains raw more than 1,200 at-bats into his pro career.
Signed for $100,000 in 2010, Marte made his full-season league debut in 2013 by playing both middle infield positions at low Class A Clinton. His best attributes at this stage are speed and defense. He is a well-above-average runner who grades as a 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale. Marte also is a good defender with plus range and a strong arm, though he appears more comfortable at second base, where he turns the double play well, than shortstop. The biggest question about Marte is the hit tool. He consistently puts the bat on the ball and does not strike out much for a young player. However, he also draws few walks and swings at too many bad pitches. Marte will begin 2014 at high Class A High Desert. He could develop into a prototype No. 2 hitter capable of playing either middle-infield position or, more likely, a utility player and pinch-runner.
After playing his first two seasons in the Dominican Summer League, Martinez made a big splash in his domestic debut in 2013, leading the Rookie-level Appalachian League with 12 home runs. He has the power to hit tape-measure shots and figures to get even stronger once his body completely fills out. Most of Martinez's power is to the pull side at this stage, and his righthanded swing tends to get long at times. Like most young hitters, he needs to work on his plate discipline, but the Mariners are willing to trade off some strikeouts for home runs. Power isn't Martinez's only tool as he has above-average speed and a plus arm. Though he may lose a step as he matures, he should remain a plus runner, and his arm makes him a natural fit for right field. Martinez took a big step forward in his development in 2013 and he will get his first taste of full-season ball in 2014 at low Class A Clinton.
Leone has proven to be a late-round find for the Mariners, reaching Double-A Jackson in 2013 only a year after being a 16th-round draft pick. In three seasons at Clemson, Leone started and relieved, helping the Tigers reach the College World Series once and regionals two other times. Passed over for 15 rounds primarily because of his slight stature and 5.25 ERA as a junior, Leone nonetheless throws his fastball in the 89-94 mph range and also has an effective slider up to 85 mph and a cutter that can break bats. He thrived in the Arizona Fall League, leading the circuit with six saves but more importantly posting a 15/1 SO/BB ratio. His above-average control separates him from other relief candidates in the organization. Leone will begin the 2014 season at Triple-A Tacoma but likely will make his major league debut in season. His stuff may be just a tad short for closing, but he has a chance of being an effective set-up man.
Hicks was Danny Hultzen's catcher at Virginia and one of three Cavaliers the Mariners drafted in 2011, along with first baseman Steve Proscia. Noted primarily for his defense, Hicks wasn't even a full-time catcher until pro ball. The Mariners see him as a strong catch-and-throw receiver, and he led the Double-A Southern League in percentage of basestealers caught (47 percent) but also in passed balls (19). He needs reps to improve his blocking skills. Hicks draws high marks for his ability to work with pitchers, his work ethic and his personality. While his intangibles are off the chart, one tangible aspect of the game he must work on is his hitting. He has bat speed and has shown the ability to make adjustments, but he lacks power and expands his strike zone too often. Hicks profiles comfortably as a backup catcher with more polished receiving and blocking. He could report back to Jackson for 2014.
Lopes seemed rock-solid in his commitment to play collegiately at UC Irvine before the Mariners went far over slot to sign him for $550,000 as a sixth-round pick in 2012. His older brother Christian plays second base in the Blue Jays system. Timmy is less physical than Christian and has a lower ceiling, but he plays the game with savvy and skill. He has a mature hitting approach, looking to make contact and use the entire field. He has a decent batting eye for a young player, though it could still use some improvement. His power is fringe-average at best, though, and home runs won't be a part of his game. Lopes has seamlessly made the transition from shortstop to second base as a pro, where his average arm plays better, and has above-average range and defensive ability. He's an average runner. Nagging injuries cut into his playing time at low Class A Clinton in 2013, and shoulder soreness ended his season two weeks early. Lopes still has youth on his side, and he will be 19 when the 2014 season opens, so the Mariners might have him repeat Clinton.
Choi had a breakout season in 2013, starting at high Class A High Desert, making stops at Double-A Jackson and the Futures Game along the way. He ended the year at Triple-A Tacoma. All of that happened while he was making the conversion from catcher to first baseman, and he wound up being protected on the 40-man roster in November. Choi made a splash in 2010 when was the MVP of the Rookie-level Arizona League, but his career stagnated until he became a full-time first baseman and also put together a better plan of attack in the batter's box. Already possessing a good eye, Choi has become even more selective and laid off the pitches he could not drive. He struggles with lefthanders and lacks profile power for a first baseman, instead spraying line drives to the gaps at his best. Choi fits the second-division regular description and is in an organization that continues to chase power at first base. He'll likely man the position at Tacoma in 2014 unless he's needed in Seattle.
The Mariners seem to have a production line of scrappy middle infielders with middling power who draw raves for their baseball IQ. Reinheimer is the latest in that line after being drafted in the fifth round in 2013 and signing for $327,600. The shortstop doesn't have one clearly above-average tool, though he opened eyes by stealing 18 bases in 66 games last season at short-season Everett. However, the stolen bases are more a result of instincts than pure speed, because he is just a tick-above-average runner. Reinheimer also is a solid defender at shortstop despite having average range, hands and arm. He makes all the routine plays and has an accurate arm as well as a good internal clock. The big question is whether he will hit enough to play in the major leagues. He doesn't have a lot of pop or make consistent contact, though he does show a willingness to take a walk. Reinheimer will spend 2014 at low Class A Clinton.
A draft prospect as both a pitcher and hitter in college, Jones signed for $267,300 after a poor junior season in 2009 at Long Island dropped his stock on the mound. He still looks the part more than he produces, but he did enough to earn a spot on the 40-man roster in November. Jones has good raw power, but a stiff, lefthanded swing leads to more soft contact than over-the-fence power. He does offer plus speed, having hit 10 triples with Double-A Jackson in 2013 to lead the Southern League, and has learned the short game, improving his basestealing and bunting ability. Jones' arm has backed up since college, when he threw 94-95 mph off the mound, and he missed time in August with a triceps injury. He still has enough arm to play right field and played all three spots in 2013. Jones has an infectious, positive personality that managers want in a reserve and fits the fourth outfielder profile well. He should progress to Triple-A Tacoma in 2014.
The Mariners signed Huijer for $170,000 in 2011 after he served as the top pitcher on the Dutch junior national team. He spent his two first years in Rookie leagues before acquitting himself well at short-season Everett in 2013, showing three effective pitches that all have a chance to be average to a tick above as he continues to develop. His fastball ranges from 85-90 mph now, and he does a good job keeping it in the bottom half of the zone, making it difficult for hitters to square up. Huijer also figures to add a little more velocity as his body fills out. He has good feel and deception on his changeup and a slow curveball that he is able to throw consistently for strikes. Though he showed some signs of fatigue late in 2013, Huijer has the poise and polish to make the jump to low Class A Clinton in 2014. He projects as a back-end starter now, but he has the potential to be more than that.
Despite signing for $2 million in 2009 and ranking as the No. 1 prospect in the Rookie-level Arizona League the following year, Pimentel has been passed by a multitude of other young prospects in the Mariners system. He has yet to deliver on his power potential, primarily because he lacks plate discipline and struggles to recognize pitches. Making matters worse, Pimentel takes his struggles to heart, which can result in sulking and ultimately putting more pressure on himself. His value is wrapped up in his power because below-average arm strength and range consign him to left field, and he also is a below-average runner. Pimentel provided a glimmer of hope late in 2013, when he homered in his first three games after being promoted to high Class A High Desert. Granted, High Desert's home ballpark is the best hitting environments in the domestic minors, but it was a small sign of progress. The Mariners hope a full season at High Desert will give Pimentel the confidence to unlock his prodigious power.
Unsworth took command to a new level in 2013 with 28 SO/BB ratio, striking out 56 and walking just two in 72 innings. Though none of those innings were logged above the low Class A level, it shows how far he has come since signing in 2009 after spending time at MLB's International European Academy in Italy. Unsworth gained confidence by pitching six strong innings for South Africa against Israel in a 2012 World Baseball Classic qualifier, a game in which he struck out six and allowing five hits, including a solo homer to big leaguer Nate Freiman. The slightly-built Unsworth doesn't overpower hitters, as his fastball usually sits 85-88 mph and tops out at 90. However, he spots it to all four quadrants of the strike zone, and he also is developing a changeup and curveball. Considering he did not face strong competition growing up in South Africa, Unsworth has made considerable strides since signing with the Mariners. While he won't light up any radar guns, his command at least gives him a chance to reach the high minors, and possibly pitch his way to a big league trial.
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