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Jackson hit most everything in high school-- except a slump. He belted 17 home runs as a sophomore and finished his career with 47 at famed Rancho Bernardo High in San Diego, becoming a three-time Baseball America High School All-American and the first two-time Under Armour All-American. Jackson was BA's High School Player of the Year and the premier prep batter in the 2014 draft class, and he slipped to the Mariners at sixth overall only because of the wealth of arms ahead of him. He signed for $4.2 million, shifted from catcher to the outfield, and was rated the Rookie-level Arizona League's top prospect during his brief professional debut. That history of success made Jackson's lackluster first full season in 2015 all the more puzzling. Perhaps it was the combination of a nagging shoulder injury, an aggressive assignment to the Midwest League and his first experience playing in cold weather that led to a poor showing with low Class A Clinton-- which included an 8-for-53 stretch before he was sent down to extended spring training in May. Jackson worked on getting back to basics in Arizona, including controlling the strike zone and getting his bat-to-ball skills in better sync, before returning to the field with short-season Everett. He showed more flashes of the above-average bat-- including nine multi-hit games and finishing tied for fifth in the Northwest League with eight home runs--but closed the season on a 2-for-19 skid that sank his batting average to .239. His last full month, August, in the Northwest League saw him level off a bit. He hit .262/.388/.600 over those 20 games with six home runs and 13 RBIs. The home run total was second on the circuit, placing him behind only Hillsboro's Trevor Mitsui. The slugging mark led the league. Despite Jackson's up-and-down full-season debut, the Mariners have to hope there is no reason for alarm. The toolset that made Jackson a prep sensation remains intact, and it may very well be a matter of him putting the pieces together with a fresh start in 2016. Jackson combines tremendous bat speed and hand-eye coordination with strength to produce a thunderous swing. At his best, he is an advanced hitter who uses a disciplined approach to wait for his pitch and then punish it. He has above-average power to his pull side, and by the end of the season began to show the ability to drive the ball to all fields. He got out of sync in the Midwest League by being overly aggressive and chasing pitcher's pitches out of the strike zone early in the count. Jackson was noted for a tremendous work ethic in high school, and he has used that to make an easy transition from behind home plate to right field. He has plenty of arm strength, and uses his natural athleticism and instincts to take good routes on fly balls. Some observers believe that Jackson often took his first experience with failure into the field with him, sometimes showing a lack of interest or desire. Others believe it's the same casual style that he has used in a game that has come easy to him most of his life, and that only the results were different this year. Jackson is a below-average runner but doesn't clog the bases. Jackson will get a shot to prove 2015 was merely a bump on his road to Seattle when he returns to low Class A at the start of next season. He has middle-of-the-order potential but needs to show he can make the adjustments to reach it and help turn around Seattle's system.
Diaz has added weight and velocity since signing for $300,000 as a sixth-rounder out of Puerto Rico in 2012. A stronger lower half, better balance and an improved slider keyed his development in 2015, which started with seven strong starts for high Class A Bakersfield and ended with him earning Mariners minor league pitcher of the year honors. Developing feel for the tight, mid-80s plus slider has proven to be an effective counter to his plus fastball that sits at 93-95 mph and tops out at 98. Toss in a below-average changeup that he's starting to master but lacks confidence in and Diaz has emerged as a promising--though inconsistent--pitcher. He was at his best in a July 23 outing against Montgomery, when he struck out seven consecutive batters (one shy of matching a Southern League record). He throws strikes but still struggles to command pitches within the zone while learning that he can't rely on overpowering hitters as he moves up the minor league ladder. When he misses, he tends to leave the ball over the plate. Diaz's level-by-level rise will continue in 2016 when he makes his Triple-A debut with Tacoma at age 22. Further improvement of his command gives him No. 3 starter potential.
Jackson left scouts scratching their heads more than licking their chops as an amateur after he turned down the Giants in the 37th round of the 2012 draft to attend Stanford. The younger brother of former Cubs outfielder Brett Jackson, Drew had long tantalized observers with tools but showed little feel to hit during his first two years with the Cardinal, including an unspiring turn in the Cape Cod League. He missed the first 15 games of his junior season with a hand injury before putting the pieces together at the plate. He hit safely in 20 of his final 23 games before signing with the Mariners as a fifth-round pick for $335,400. He carried that hot streak through his professional debut, with new contact lenses being a key to his turnaround. Jackson worked with Everett hitting coach Brian Hunter on shortening his swing and keeping the ball out of the air to better take advantage of his plus-plus speed. It paid off with Jackson earning Northwest League MVP honors while hitting a league-high .358 and stealing bases at will (47-for-51). He's a top-ofthe- order hitter with gap power. Jackson is a steady defender at shortstop with soft hands, average range and a plus-plus arm. He sometimes relies on his strong arm too much instead of charging the ball and needs to improve his footwork on throws, but he has the tools to stay at shortstop. He's an aggressive basestealer with first-step quickness and a knack for reading pitchers. It's just half a season, but Jackson gives the Mariners something the system otherwise lacks--an up-the-middle athlete who has a chance to hit. Jackson could be a disruptive force at the top of the lineup and will make his full-season debut in 2016, either at low Class A Clinton or high Class A Bakersfield.
Over the first three months of the 2015 season, O'Neill did little to live down his reputation as a free swinger with premium bat speed who never met a breaking pitch out of the zone that he wouldn't take a hack at. He left to play for host Canada in the Pan Am Games in early July after hitting .238 with 87 strikeouts in 256 at-bats with high Class A Bakersfield. O'Neill hit three homers in the tournament, including a decisive three-run blast in a win over Cuba, to help the Canadians take home gold, then took off upon returning to Bakersfield in late July. He hit 16 homers over the final six weeks of the season to finish with 32--tied for second-most in the minors. O'Neill has lightning-quick bat speed and plus raw power, so balls disappear over the outfield fence when he makes contact. That qualifier, however, has been his downfall. O'Neill recognizes breaking pitches but has struggled to lay off them for most of his career. He did a better job later in the season after tweaking his stance to better incorporate his lower half and get a better understanding of how pitchers were working him off the plate. He's equally aggressive in the field, where his above-average arm strength plays in right field. He's raw but has improved his routes and instincts. He runs well enough to fill in in center field, and has become a threat on the bases. He'll be tested next season with Double-A Jackson.
Neidert got the Mariners' attention in an October 2014 outing at the World Wood Bat Championships, when he tossed a two-hit shutout in a duel with eventual Blue Jays second-rounder Brady Singer (who did not sign). He missed time during his senior season with elbow tendinitis but returned later in the spring, and the Mariners signed him away from a commitment to South Carolina with a $1.2 million bonus as the 60th overall pick. The slight righty, who draws comparisons to Tim Hudson, brings an advanced approach and feel to pitch with a fastball/ changeup combination. He hits his spots with a 90-92 mph fastball that has reached 94, and he can locate to either side of the plate. His changeup also has potential to be an above-average offering with deception, sink and fade. He's still developing feel for a slider that he's learning to throw from his high three-quarters arm slot. He worked on improving his balance in his delivery--as he wore down later in starts, he'd start to leave the ball up. He needs to be quicker to the plate, with runners on base. Observers rave about his competitiveness and advanced approach. In his only appearance out of the bullpen and without his best stuff, he helped the Mariners' Rookie-level Arizona League team reach the title game by tossing four shutout innings of relief. He has a chance to make his full-season debut with low Class A Clinton and has No. 4 starter upside--perhaps more if his velocity improves.
Gohara returned to the short-season Northwest League for a second straight season and showed signs of becoming the power pitcher the Mariners envisioned when they signed him for $800,000 out of Brazil in 2012. The hulking lefty didn't yield an earned run until his third start--when he gave up five in five innings, an indication of his still less-than-stellar command. At his best, Gohara overwhelms hitters with a 92-94 mph fastball that tops out in the upper 90s. Lefties hit just .222 against him and struggled to pick the ball up out of his three-quarters arm slot, especially his average, slurvy slider with depth. When things aren't going his way, Gohara struggles to repeat his delivery and loses command. He's not particularly athletic and doesn't always seem to have his limbs moving together. As a result, his 62 strikeouts ranked fifth in the league while his 32 walks tied for the most in the NWL. His changeup is still developing and could become more effective when he learns to take off velocity. He made two spot starts with low Class A Clinton, yielding just two earned runs over 10 innings, and should get a chance to open next season in the Midwest League.
Bishop was a two-sport athlete at St. Francis High in Mountain View, Calif., excelling on the diamond and as a wide receiver and receiving Division I recruiting interest. He stuck with baseball, passed on signing with the Braves as a 36th-round pick in 2012 and chose to attend Washington. He's a natural defender in center field with well above-average speed and a plus arm, but his lack of consistency with the bat caused him to slip to the third round last June, where the Mariners happily grabbed him. Bishop gets equally high marks for his work ethic and character, notably a charity he started to benefit Alzheimer's research after his mother was diagnosed with the disease at age 52. A shorter, more direct swing helped him rank second in the short-season Northwest League in batting in a strong pro debut. He could use more patience but he led the league in HBPs (12) and sacrifice bunts (11). Bishop rivals Everett teammate Drew Jackson for the fastest runner in the organization, but he lacks Jackson's polish and aggressiveness as a basestealer--traits the Mariners are confident will come with experience. He covers a lot of ground in center field and is an advanced defender well-suited for Seattle's spacious Safeco Field. He should team with Jackson again to open 2016 with a Class A affiliate.
The Mariners believe they got a steal in Moore with the 72nd pick of the 2015 draft, and that the polished former Oregon State ace could move quickly through their system. Similar to fellow 2015 pick Nick Neidert, Moore succeeds with command and control of a four-pitch arsenal more than velocity. He adds and subtracts from an 89-92 mph fastball that touches 94 while locating it to all quadrants of the strike zone. He yielded just two walks in his pro debut with Everett, the fewest among any pitcher in the league who tossed at least 20 innings. He keeps hitters offbalance with a changeup that has plus potential. He throws the pitch with deceptive arm speed and gets some sinking action on the offering. He mixes in a tight-breaking curveball that has potential to be an average big league offering and a low-80s slider that is mostly used for show. Moore is a cerebral pitcher who excels at reading batters' swings and learning their tendencies, though he sometimes overthinks and uses all of his pitches to a fault. He has to prove his modest but athletic frame can hold up under a pro workload. He could move quickly and profiles as a back-end starter without a dominant pitch.
The Athletics drafted Powell but sent him to the Rays in the January 2015 deal that brought Ben Zobrist to Oakland. The Rays later included him in the six-player package to Seattle that also brought Nate Karns to the Mariners. Powell was suspended for 50 games in 2014 after testing positive for an amphetamine. The Mariners believe his plus speed and fearless defense will make him a good fit for center field in Seattle. However, his ability to hit on a consistent basis will determine if he plays as a regular or a backup. Powell, whose nickname Boog is a tribute to the former Orioles first baseman even though they are not related, draws comparisons to Adam Eaton and Brett Gardner for his style of play. Powell has good bat-to-ball skills and can bunt for hits or sacrifices, and he has drawn 61 walks each of the last two seasons. He's at his best when working the count and driving the ball to gaps. He slumped when he expanded the strike zone and got big with his swing, trying to generate power. He's a fearless defender in either center or left field who earns teammates' respect with his all-out play--he dove head-first into the stands to make a catch while playing left field for Durham. He's an above-average runner but an inefficient basestealer. He'll get a shot to make the big league club, most likely as an extra outfielder.
Peterson's road to the big leagues hit a significant pothole in 2015, when a 0-for- 15 start with Double-A Jackson turned into a season-long slump. The Mariners drafted Peterson with the 12th overall pick in 2013, and his younger brother Dustin, now a Brave, was a second-rounder the same draft. D.J. was hit by a pitch in his pro debut that broke his jaw, but he returned the following season to belt 31 homers between high Class A and Double-A. He lost weight before the start of the 2015 season in an attempt to gain flexibility and speed, but it failed to pay off. The Mariners gave him a change of scenery with a promotion to Triple-A Tacoma in late July, but an Achilles injury ended that after just four games. He returned to action in the Arizona Fall League but fared no better, hitting .209/.321/.388. The Mariners believe Peterson still has the tools to hit and would like to see him manage the strike zone better, while using the whole field more. Some scouts still believe in his swing, but others don't think he'll hit enough to be a big league regular. Despite an above-average arm, he is a well below-average defender at third because of poor range. He spent more time at first base in 2015, likely his permanent home going forward. He's a well below-average runner but does not clog the bases. He'll need to show he can hit enough for a first baseman in a return to Triple-A.
Blash's road to a breakout season in 2015 was long and bumpy. He signed with the Mariners for $180,000 as an eighth-round pick in 2010 after getting kicked off the baseball team at Miami-Dade JC. A raw player with more tools than production, Blash appeared to be on the rise after hitting 25 home runs between high Class A and Double-A in 2013, only to be suspended 50 games the following season for testing positive for a drug of abuse. He was left off the 40-man roster and passed through the Rule 5 draft before finally reaching his power potential in 2015. Blash tied fellow Mariners farmhand Tyler O'Neill for second in the minors with 32 home runs while splitting the season between Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma. He sprained his knee late in the season, likely costing him a big league callup and preventing him from playing winter ball. The Mariners again left him off the 40-man roster, which made him available in the Rule 5 draft. Blash looks the part of a big leaguer, with an athletic build and strong frame. He has tremendous bat speed that leads to light-tower home runs when he connects. He's an aggressive hitter who can cover a lot of the plate but still expands the strike zone and chases pitches. He's athletic and runs well, with a strong arm that plays in right field. He should get a crack at the big league roster in spring training.
In 2015, Thompson became the first player drafted out of Myrtle Beach's Socastee High after posting a 5-1, 1.28 record with 58 strikeouts in 44 innings. He bypassed a commitment to Coastal Carolina to sign for an above-slot $585,000 bonus as the 125th overall pick. Thompson had a stellar debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League and would have ranked among the leaders in ERA had he qualified. He left the team in mid-August to be with his family as his father battled cancer. Thompson earned praise as much for his approach and maturity as his stuff. He produces a low-90s fastball that tops out at 93 mph out of a smooth and repeatable delivery. He can locate the pitch to both sides of the plate and keeps hitters off-balance nicely with a slider that he's getting a feel for but has good, three-quarters tilt at its best. His changeup is a work in progress. Thompson brings an advanced approach for a pitcher his age that makes his stuff play up. He'll likely open next season at short-season Everett with a shot to move up to low Class A Clinton.
The Mariners jumped the 19-year-old Liberato from the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2014 to the low Class A Midwest League in 2015. The experiment did not go well. He managed just a .133 batting average before he injured his leg in May and missed a month. He returned in early June, went hitless in 11 at-bats and was sent down to short-season Everett. It was there that he began to show flashes of the multi-tool potential the Mariners envisioned when they signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 2012 for $140,000. Liberato had a hitch in his swing when they signed him but he's developed a pure lefthanded stroke with plus bat speed that produces gap power, which should grow into more as he fills out. He's a plus runner on the bases and in center field, and those who believe in him envision Liberato as a future 20-20 player. He's an instinctive center fielder with above-average arm strength. He takes good routes and uses his speed to track down balls. He should get another crack at the Midwest League in 2016.
The Mariners believe they got a steal in the 2014 draft with Yarbrough, a senior who signed for a well below-slot $40,000 bonus out of Old Dominion. The tall lefty breezed through the Northwest League and earned an assignment to the California League in 2015. He held his own on the hitter-friendly circuit, including a 1.23 ERA in April that included a 16-inning scoreless streak, but sustained a groin injury in late May that sidelined him for a month and led to another month of rehab in the Rookie-level Arizona League. He returned to the Cal League in mid-August and closed out the season by yielding just four earned runs and striking out 28 over his final 22 innings. There is concern that Yarbrough needs to focus more on staying in shape, developing a better routine and trusting his stuff more in games. He works off an 89-91 mph fastball that touches 93 and features natural sink out of a good arm angle. He induces plenty of groundballs with the fastball, a pitch that plays up as he gets better feel for a plus changeup. He's still developing feel for a slurvy slider. Yarbrough has potential to be a mid-rotation starter if everything comes together and will get a shot at making his Double-A debut in 2016.
Peralta, whom the Mariners inked for $137,000 in 2013, impressed in his U.S. debut in 2014 with a power fastball that regularly topped out at 95 but struggled to post a 5.29 ERA. He returned to the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2015 with less velocity (89-93 mph) but a far better feel for pitching and an improved changeup that some evaluators think could develop into an above-average offering. He finished second in the circuit with 67 strikeouts and fifth with a 1.05 WHIP. Peralta has more pitchability than stuff--but his stuff is pretty good too. His fastball command and changeup each took significant steps forward in 2015. He delivers his changeup with deceptive arm speed and advanced feel for a pitcher his age. He flashes the ability to spin a slider but is inconsistent with its command. Peralta doesn't have much projection left, but packs a lot in his 5-foot-11 frame. He could make the leap to low Class A in 2016
In a disappointing Dominican Summer League debut, Hernandez only showed flashes of the potential that led the Mariners to sign him for $1.85 million as a 17-year-old in July 2014. They believe much more is on the way. The switch-hitter, who is more advanced from his natural right side, hit a walk-off homer against the Astros affiliate in July, and showed plenty of range and instincts in center field. However, he was often overmatched at the plate where and showed a lack of plate discipline. Hernandez has a simple swing from both sides of the plate with plenty of bat speed that should translate into more power as he fills out his athletic, 6-foot-2 frame. He's a plus defender in center field and uses easy, above-average speed to track down flyballs. A below-average arm is his only defensive weakness. The Mariners have reason to think that Hernandez has much more in the tank as a hitter--he hit a few home runs at Safeco Field during batting practice after signing--and will likely ease his development by keeping him in the DSL next season.
The Mariners made Morgan the highest Canadian player off the board in the 2014 draft, one year after they did the same with Tyler O'Neill. Morgan, signed for $2 million, has the same power potential, with an easy swing that sends balls soaring when he makes contact. Unfortunately, that has not come often over his first two professional seasons. Morgan didn't fare much better in his second tour of the Rookie-level Arizona League last season than he had in his first, topping the circuit by a wide margin with 89 strikeouts (37 percent of his plate appearances). Strike-zone discipline is Morgan's main failing. He struggles to recognize pitches coming out of a pitcher's hand, lacks an approach and takes an aggressive mentality that has left him vulnerable even against pitchers with rudimentary breaking balls. Morgan spent four years with Canada's junior national team playing against top competition, so his struggles in the Arizona League are disconcerting. He has the defensive flexibility to play all three outfield spots, but his below-average speed will limit him long-term to a corner. He has plenty of arm strength to stick in right field. He's not ready for full-season ball but could get a change of scenery in the Northwest League next season.
Torres' path to the Mariners in the 2014 international class was a complicated one. According to his trainer, Torres had a $2.1 million deal in place one year before he was eligible to sign as a 17-year-old in July 2014, but the Yankees backed out of the agreement at the last minute. Instead, Torres signed with Seattle for $330,000 in August of that year and made his professional debut in 2015 in the Dominican Summer League. Torres lived up to his reputation as an advanced defender for his age with plenty of range to both sides and a strong arm. He brings a disciplined approach to the plate and is adept at working the count and drawing walks. He struggles to impact the ball from either side of the plate and projects as a line-drive hitter with gap power. He's a plus runner with instincts on the basepaths. He'll be just 18 when next season opens and will likely spend one more year in the DSL before making his domestic debut.
Zych moved into the closer's role at Louisville as a junior and dominated with upper-90s heat before the Cubs tabbed in the fourth round of the 2011 draft for $400,000. He reached Double-A in his first full season in 2012, but didn't advance beyond the Southern League in his next two seasons while struggling with his mechanics. Chicago sold him to Seattle before the start of the 2015 season. Seattle tweaked his delivery, keeping him more compact by shortening his stride and keeping his front side from flying open. The adjustments not only gave him improved command of a fastball that reaches 98-99 mph (though it usually sits in the 91-95 range), but also added leverage to a low-80s slider that previously tended to flatten out. The results were noticeable. Zych walked just 12 batters over 67 innings and ended the season in Seattle's bullpen. If he can keep lefthanders off-balance, he has the stuff to pitch toward the back of a big league bullpen and will get a shot to do so in spring training.
Ascanio began his second season in the United States in extended spring training before making a brief pit stop in the low Class A Midwest League on his way to an aggressive assignment with high Class A Bakersfield. Not even the hitter-friendly confines of the California League could boost the slight 19-yearold's bat, though. A defensive wizard at shortstop, Ascanio could have his ticket punched to Seattle if he were to make consistent hard contact from either side of the plate. He features a loopy swing from both sides and settles for slapping the ball to the opposite field instead of turning on pitches with any authority. In the field, Ascanio can make all the plays at shortstop, with soft hands, tremendous range, above-average arm strength and the ability to make accurate throws from a variety of angles. He's a slightly above-average runner but hardly a burner. At the very least, Ascanio will be a defensive utilityman in the big leagues with the ability to play in the middle infield. If he can add strength and iron out his flaws at the plate, he'll be a regular at second base or shortstop.
Wells' projectable stuff and body encouraged the Blue Jays enough to take him in the third round of the 2014 draft, and the Mariners acquired him just more than a year later, sending Mark Lowe to Toronto for Wells and two others. The Virginia native has some present ability but is still more of a project than he is a prospect. He pitches mostly in the upper 80s, but can reach as high as 93 mph. His long curveball is his bread and butter, a potential above-average pitch with vertical shape and mid-70s velocity. He also throws a more slurvy breaking ball in the low 80s, and he mixes his breaking pitches well to keep hitters guessing. Wells' changeup also has potential, and some scouts project it as an average pitch. He has control of his arsenal, and while nothing about him is explosive, the sum of his parts makes him a true starting pitching prospect, though toward the back of a rotation. He's a candidate to jump to full-season ball in 2016.
After bursting onto the scene with a promising sophomore campaign at Bryant in Rhode Island, Wilcox was a high priority for Northeast scouts last spring. His fastball had reached as high as 98 mph as an underclassman, but it worked more in the 89-93 range in his junior year. The Mariners bet on Wilcox's upside when they selected him in the sixth round, though they moved him to the bullpen for his first pro summer to keep his innings in check. He ranked second in the short-season Northwest League with nine saves. Wilcox has a loose, explosive arm action with a clean finish and an ideal pitcher's body, with wide shoulders and strength to his imposing 6-foot-3 frame. He has shown flashes with both his curveball and changeup. His curveball can flash tight, above-average break, but he doesn't always stay on top of it. Wilcox's changeup earns praise from some scouts as well. He uses the pitch down and away from lefthanded hitters, and it shows tumbling action. Wilcox is less polished than most college draft picks, but he has a relatively high ceiling, particularly if he returns to a starting role.
After a down sophomore year at Division II Mercyhurst (Pa.) in 2013, Altavilla took his promising fastball/ breaking ball mix to the Cape Cod League, where he made strides and geared up for an exceptional junior spring. In 2014, Altavilla struck out five batters for every walk and threw five shutouts over 12 starts. The Mariners selected him in the fifth round, and he reached high Class A in his first full season, taking every turn in the rotation. Altavilla found spurts of success in 2015, hitting his stride and limiting walks in June and July. His fastball is a plus pitch, with low to mid-90s velocity, and he complements it with a powerful slurvy breaking ball. His delivery invites some concern, with a high back elbow and effort to his finish. That, as well as his stocky 5-foot-11 build and the rawness of his changeup, led some evaluators to project him as a reliever, though he remains a starter for now, and will have the opportunity to prove himself as such in Double-A in 2016.
Orozco teamed with Donny Sands, an infielder drafted by the Yankees in the eighth round, to help Tucson's Salpointe Catholic High to its sectional playoffs last spring. They became the first teammates in school history to be drafted in the same year. Orozco expected to be picked higher but fell to the 14th round and signed for a $100,000 bonus rather than make good on his commitment to Arizona, which changed coaches over the summer. Orozco has a live arm and doesn't require much projection. He has effort in his delivery but he can pitch with a plus fastball, reaching 94 mph and often sitting at 92-93, and gets swings and misses in the strike zone with it thanks to its late life. He throws an upper-70s curveball with power and sharp, late break that flashes above-average as well. He has shown some ability to change speeds with a decent changeup as well. Orozco lands on his heel in his delivery, costing him balance and command, but it's a correctable flaw. He threw strikes in his debut, which may embolden the Mariners to push him to low Class A Clinton in 2016.
Brentz was one of the more fascinating prospects in the 2013 draft class. Originally seen as a potential corner bat, his arm strength led him to take the mound at the 2012 World Wood Bat championships, and he reached 96 mph. After Brentz followed that up with a promising spring, the Blue Jays took a shot on him in the 11th round of the 2013 draft and signed him for $700,000. A raw, physical specimen, Brentz was learning how to pitch and making strides when the Mariners acquired him as part of the deadline deal for Mark Lowe last summer. Brentz has an easy arm action with impressive strength, and he pitches in the low 90s. He has the makings of a fringy curveball and his changeup shows some cut, though he is still developing feel for his offspeed stuff. Brentz's control needs lots of improvement and command is a distant dream right now. He is far from reaching his ceiling, but he should be tested with a full-season assignment in 2016.
A Little League World Series star for Saugus, Mass., Pizzano also stood out as a freshman at Columbia with one of the best seasons the Ivy League had ever seen. He batted .374 and swatted 12 home runs, slugging .741. Pizzano didn't let up for the rest of his college career, and the Mariners picked him in the 15th round of the 2012 draft. When he got to pro ball, Pizzano's hot hitting continued. While he hasn't exactly repeated that performance in the upper minors, he has posted promising strikeout and walk numbers, and he was in the midst of promising year at Double-A Jackson before a hand injury cost him the second half of his 2015 season. Pizzano's game is based on his ability to make contact and work counts. He has learned how to use the opposite field better, and he has fringe-average power. Pizzano is limited to left field defensively, putting quite a bit of pressure on his bat. He will have to continue to prove himself up the ladder, but has earned a move up to Triple-A, and he could challenge for a bench spot in Seattle before long.
Guaipe's patience was rewarded in 2015, as was the Mariners'. In his ninth professional season, after passing through several Rule 5 drafts unselected, Guaipe got past Double-A for the first time. He lost all seven of his decisions, but those numbers belied the progress he made, and three of them came in his first major league action. He retired all seven batters he faced in his debut against the Yankees on June 1 before being sent back to the minors, struggled in a short July look, then spent most of August and September back in Seattle. Guaipe is a hard-throwing sinker/slider reliever, capable of coming in to get a grounder when needed. His two-seam sinking fastball can reach 95 and sits around 93 mph, with his inconsistent slider thrown with good 82-84 mph power but inconsistent tilt. It's more of a groundball pitch than a swing-and-miss offering, and he doesn't have a good answer for lefthanded hitters because of his belowaverage changeup. Guaipe will contend for bullpen innings in Seattle again in 2016.
Mobley, who didn't make his varsity high school team until his junior season, committed to his hometown Evansville program but generated attention throughout the spring of his senior high school season as his velocity increased. He peaked at 94 mph with his fastball, and area scout Jay Catalano saw him in three double-digit strikeout games. The Mariners signed him for an above-slot $300,000 bonus out of the 2015 draft, and he already has the best curveball in the system. He continues to grow into a lanky frame but has pushed his fastball, which sits around 90 mph, up to 93-94 at times. He could gain velocity and improved fastball command as he continues to use his lower half more in his mechanics and drive to the plate rather than drifting in his delivery. Mobley has a good feel for locating his above-average curveball, which has true 12-to-6 shape and gives him an out pitch. His changeup is nothing special, but he hasn't needed it much thanks to the two-pitch mix he succeeded with in high school. He's athletic enough to make adjustments and has shown aptitude to project him as a back-end starter. Mobley may be ready to jump to full-season ball in 2016, with short-season Everett a likely fallback.
De Paula gave scouts and coaches a rare treat in the Dominican Summer League last year when he threw a complete-game shutout in August. It was a highlight as De Paula pitched a full season in his first year after signing for $175,000 in 2014. De Paula was throwing in the mid-80s when he signed, peaking at 87 mph, but in his complete game he was still throwing 93 mph in the ninth inning. De Paula is a strike thrower even with his extra velocity, and he's starting to grow into his lanky frame. He has a solid feel for his age with his ability to mix his fastball, curveball and changeup, and the Mariners are impressed by his early velocity gains. He has a clean arm, and aside from his youth, his biggest issue appears to be the development of his curveball. De Paula appears ready for his U.S. debut in 2016.
Missaki was the youngest player in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. He is Japanese-Brazilian and pitched for Brazil as a 16-year-old. In his first year of full-season ball for low Class A Clinton in 2015, Missaki was an excellent strike thrower early in the season who tossed seven no-hit innings in his fifth Midwest League start against Cedar Rapids, facing only one more than the minimum. His progress was stopped at midseason, however, with an elbow ligament tear after his sixth start that required Tommy John surgery to repair. Pre-injury, Missaki had no truly plus pitch but excelled thanks to the ability to locate four pitches in and just off the strike zone. He mixes an 87-91 mph fastball and a changeup, splitter and slider that projected as fringe average to average offerings. He also likes to cut his fastball to give hitters a different look. He should be healthy enough to get some time at a short-season affiliate in the second half of 2016, when he'll still just be 20.
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