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Track Record: Sheffield ranked as the Yankees top prospect this off-season before being the key acquisition in the trade to the Mariners for ace James Paxton. Growing up in Tennessee, the Sheffield brothers were quite the one-two combination of pitchers. Older brother Jordan went to Vanderbilt before becoming a supplemental first-round pick of the Dodgers in 2016, while Justus signed with the Indians out of high school as a first-round pick. Justus was traded to the Yankees with Clint Frazier in 2016 to help the Indians acquire reliever Andrew Miller. Sheffield quickly made a splash in his new organization. In the playoffs, he pitched the first half of a no-hitter against Binghamton before handing the ball to righthander Taylor Widener for the final four innings. Sheffield missed time in 2017 with an oblique issue and missed one start in 2018 with tightness in his left shoulder. The Yankees moved him to the bullpen in August to prepare him for a bullpen role in New York in September. He struggled to throw strikes in three late-season outings in New York.
Scouting Report: Sheffield is a starter who attacks hitters like a late-inning reliever. Everything he throws is hard and he shows little finesse. He attacks hitters with an effort-filled delivery. A generation ago, that would likely lead to a move to the bullpen, but today Sheffield will get to prove that his all-out approach can work for five to six innings per start. After much debate, the Yankees sent Sheffield back to Double-A Trenton to begin the season so he could continue to sharpen the command of his mid-90s fastball. He worked to add two-plane break to his mid-80s slider. He was successful at times in this regard, with the pitch showing more depth in particular during his stint in the big leagues. Now, he'll need to work to repeat the mechanics that allowed him to make this change. His 87-89 mph changeup had been too firm, and the Yankees wanted to see him figure out a grip that would allow him to get more separation between it and his fastball. In spurts he showed the ability to dial back his offspeed pitches, but sometimes, especially when he moved to the bullpen, adrenaline took over and he reverted back to throwing everything as hard as possible. Expect to see better results now that his major league debut is behind him.
The Future: Sheffield will likely return to Triple-A to begin the season, but this time across the country in Tacoma, but he should be pitching for the Mariners before too long.
Track Record: White grew up outside of Columbus, Ohio, and was a big Reds fan, especially admiring first baseman Joey Votto. The All-Ohio player of the year in 2014, White comes by his athleticism naturally. Both his father and grandfather played minor league baseball, and his parents were both college basketball players. Undrafted out of high school, White earned second team All-America honors as a Kentucky junior in 2017. A career .356 hitter for the Wildcats, he also played with USA Baseball's Collegiate National Team in the summer before his junior year. White is the rare five-tool player at first base, with a plus arm and above-average speed that could fit in the outfield if he weren't so adept defensively at first base. He's also unique in that he bats righthanded yet throws lefthanded. If he threw righthanded he would be a candidate to play third base. The 17th overall pick in 2017, White began his pro career at short-season Everett, though his season was curtailed by a quad injury. He got in a full season in 2018, mostly at high Class A Modesto followed by six weeks in the Arizona Fall League.
Scouting Report: White's footwork around the first base bag are so graceful that his movements there have been called ballet-like, earning plus-plus grades for his defense. He has very good instincts and soft hands. A plus hitter with advanced skills and a plan at the plate, White is a hit-over-power type of hitter who uses all fields and makes hard contact. Questions have been raised as to whether he will hit for enough power to profile as a starting first baseman, though his above-average raw power and good exit velocities hint at a chance to exceed his average power projections. White started answering doubts about his power in the second half of 2018 by lowering his hands, keeping his bat in the hitting zone longer and staying through the ball. The results showed when he hit five of his 11 Cal League home runs in August. He has a good swing and finds the barrel a lot, and he studies opposing pitchers' tendencies.
The Future: While he doesn't have the same power profile, White has been compared with the Dodgers' Cody Bellinger as a first baseman who could also play center field. First base is a position of need for the Mariners, so White could move up quickly. He'll advance to Double-A Arkansas in 2019 and could see time at Triple-A.
Track Record: Rodriguez dominated the Dominican Summer League just one year after signing with the Mariners for $1.75 million. Named the team MVP after posting a .929 OPS, Rodriguez's season ended in mid-August when he injured a foot attempting to steal a base, but he was able to participate in the fall development programs.
Scouting Report: A smart hitter for his age with very good control of the zone and the ability make adjustments at the plate, Rodriguez's loudest tool is his plus-plus raw power, which already ranks among the best in the organization. His rhythmic swing gives him a solid bat path through the zone. While only an average runner, he runs the bases well. Rodriguez should develop solid instincts and routes in right field, where he should be at least an average defender. He gained enough arm strength since signing that his arm now earns a 70 grade.
The Future: Rodriguez has as much upside as any prospect in the Mariners' organization. His advanced baseball acumen and tool set may allow him to start his U.S. career at short-season Everett or perhaps even low Class A West Virginia.
Track Record: Gilbert excelled at Stetson by going 23-3, 2.48 with 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings in three seasons. He spent most of the summer recovering from mononucleosis and toe surgery and did not pitch professionally.
Scouting Report: Gilbert profiles as a workhorse with a heavy power fastball with life and downward action. After pitching in the mid-90s during the Cape Cod League, his heater was more regularly in the low 90s as a college junior. But even with the diminished velocity, his fastball projects to be an above-average thanks to excellent extension and late life. Both of his breaking balls—a spike-curveball and a hard slider—were no better than average pitches to outside observers. The Mariners see the potential for both pitches to be plus, especially the curveball with two-plane action and depth. Rounding out Gilbert's arsenal is a potentially average mid-80s changeup with fade. His athleticism allows him to repeat a free and easy high-three-quarters delivery.
The Future: Gilbert should be advanced enough to jump straight to full-season ball to start his pro career, but staying behind in extended spring training to limit his innings in his first season is also a possibility.
Track Record: Lewis tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a home plate collision in his 2016 pro debut. He has been working his way back from that injury ever since. Lewis' 2018 season got a late start when he was held back in extended spring training until May to strengthen his knee. After an appearance in the California League all-star game, Lewis moved up to Double-A Arkansas for the remainder of the year.
Scouting Report: At the plate Lewis is balanced and short to the ball, with loose hands and the ability to adjust to fastballs in the zone, but he sometimes looks like he's trying to make up for lost time in every at-bat. He struggled to make consistent contact after the move to Double-A and has yet to show the plus-plus raw power he had in college and his pro debut. He is a fringe-average runner. Lewis is still capable of making highlight-reel plays in the outfield, with his speed underway and solid instincts being the strong points. His lack of first-step quickness will likely push him to right field. He has an above-average arm.
The Future: Barring any further issues with his knee, Lewis should be ready for a full workload in 2019, likely heading back to Double-A to start the year.
Track Record: Marte was one of top infield prospects in the 2018 international class, with the Mariners signing the native Dominican for $1.55 million. While he has yet to make his pro debut, Marte participated in programs at the Mariners' complex in Peoria, Ariz., in the fall.
Scouting Report: Marte was more than just a player groomed to stand out in showcases. He also showed the ability to perform in game situations. He has intriguing power-speed potential, with an advanced approach at the plate, good strike-zone awareness and plenty of raw power from a compact stroke with whippy bat speed. While he's got a strong build, Marte is light on his feet. He's a plus-plus runner, a tick better than he was when he signed due to added strength. He's got plenty of work to do to be able to stay at shortstop, including improving his footwork and arm accuracy. Marte's future position will likely be determined by how much he grows as the body matures.
The Future: Like Julio Rodriguez before him, Marte will begin his pro career in the Dominican Summer League in 2019 and may spend the whole summer there before making his U.S. debut in 2020.
Track Record: Stowers was one of the top hitters for the storied Louisville program in his last two college seasons, posting an OPS of .929 in his sophomore year with the Cardinals followed by an even better 1.036 as a junior. The Mariners grabbed Stowers with a second-round pick in 2018, and he began his pro career at short-season Everett.
Scouting Report: The biggest question in projecting Stowers' future is whether he can stay in center field, because he needs to improve his reads and jumps. His thicker frame, which draws comparisons with former big leaguer Marlon Byrd, is not a prototypical center fielder's body, but his plus speed is enough for the position if he makes the rest of the necessary improvements. Otherwise, a below-average arm would limit him to left field. Stowers' bat will likely carry him. He has a plus hit tool, and his sharp batting eye is expected to help him at higher levels when pitchers are around the zone more. With average power, Stowers projects to be able to hit 15-20 home runs per year.
The Future: Stowers will get his first taste of full-season ball after spring training with a likely assignment to low Class A West Virginia.
Track Record: The switch-hitting Raleigh was a three-year starter at Florida State. He hit much better as a junior, compiling a team-leading 1.030 OPS with 13 home runs to make up for a lackluster sophomore season. While Raleigh faced plenty of questions about his ability to hit with wood bats, the Mariners drafted him in the third round, attracted to his potential power bat and catcher profile.
Scouting Report: Raleigh's carrying tool is his above-average raw power from both sides of the plate. He manages the strike zone well with a swing that is similar from both sides. The Mariners were pleasantly surprised with Raleigh's defense in his pro debut at short-season Everett, with the above-average arm and blocking techniques indicating he has a chance to be an above-average defender. He also scored well in the organization's framing metrics. Raleigh was praised for his work ethic. The son of a one-time college coach, Raleigh has been around the game all his life, and it shows in his baseball IQ and overall feel for the game.
The Future: Raleigh will head to low Class A West Virginia with much of the rest of the Mariners' 2018 draft class. He already is the system's best catcher.
Track Record: The Mariners acquired Swanson from the Yankees as one of three prospects returned for James Paxton. Originally drafted by the Rangers, Swanson transferred from Wabash JC to Iowa Western JC in 2014 and showed enough there to get drafted in the eighth round, signing for a bonus of $155,600. He went all the way to Triple-A Round Rock with Texas in 2015 before getting dealt to the Yankees along with fellow righthanders Dillon Tate and Nick Green in exchange for DH Carlos Beltran at the midseason trading deadline. After beginning 2018 in high Class A Tampa he finished by starting Game One of the playoffs for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Scouting Report: Swanson throws a high-spin fastball with extraordinary riding action and carry through the zone at 91-93 mph while touching a tick or two higher. He couples the pitch with a mid-80s slider and a low-80s changeup. Both offspeed pitches project as average offerings with a little bit more refinement. A big reason for his improvement this season was an uptick in fastball command, particularly when throwing the pitch up in the zone. Some scouts, however, are a little concerned that he won't be able to get the ball to his gloveside as often as necessary because of his delivery.
The Future: With most of his Triple-A season behind him, Swanson will go to spring training with a shot at making the Mariners rotation. He projects as a number five starter. After an excellent season during which the only real hiccup came in the form of an oblique strain that cost him a chunk of time at midseason, Swanson will likely return to Triple-A for more seasoning but could compete for a spot in the big leagues as the season goes along. He was Rule 5-eligible this year before the Mariners protected him on the 40-man roster.
Track Record: Bishop was athletic enough in high school that he could have played college football as a wide receiver, but he instead chose to stick to baseball at Washington. He continues to receive acclaim for his 4MOM foundation that raises money for Alzheimer's disease in support of his mother. Bishop was progressing well during the first half of 2018 at Double-A Arkansas. Unfortunately, his season ended early when he suffered a broken hand after being hit by a pitch.
Scouting Report: Bishop's added strength and lowered his hands. That allowed him to get more power into his swing, which has helped him drive the baseball better, giving him a chance to hit double-digit home runs while still being an average hitter. Early in the season he was struggling to improve his launch angle, but it all came together for him by midseason when he hit .379/.443/.544 in June. Any offense that Bishop provides is a bonus to what he brings to the field and basepaths, because he is a plus runner and plus-plus defender in center field.
The Future: Bishop will certainly be added to the 40-man roster in his first year of eligibility. He'll head to Triple-A Tacoma and could reach Seattle in 2019.
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