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Track Record: Sheffield ranked as the Yankees' top prospect heading into the 2018 offseason before being the key acquisition in the trade to the Mariners for ace James Paxton. Sheffield signed with the Indians out of high school as a first-round pick and was traded to the Yankees with Clint Frazier in 2016 to help the Indians acquire reliever Andrew Miller. 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 2018 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 alteration. His 87-89 mph changeup had been too firm for the Yankees' taste, and they wanted to see him figure out a grip that would allow him to get more separation between it and his fastball. The Yankees said that 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 in 2019, but this time across the country in Tacoma. He should be making big league starts for the Mariners at some point in 2019.
Track Record:For the second consecutive season, the top Japanese pitcher coming to the U.S hails from Hanamaki Higashi High. Kikuchi actually graduated from the school the year before Shohei Ohtani arrived, but Ohtani beat him to MLB because Kikuchi waited until he had pitched eight seasons in Japan before being posted. Kikuchi entertained coming to the U.S. immediately out of high school but ended up signing as Seibu’s first pick in the 2009 draft. His best season in Japan was in 2017 when he went 16-6, 1.97. He missed time early in 2018 with a stiff shoulder and was still effective upon his return, but he never showed the same level of dominance. Still, he was highly sought after in free agency and signed with the Mariners for a guaranteed four years and $50 million. Scouting Report: Kikuchi’s delivery demonstrates his athleticism and balance. He hangs over the rubber on his plant foot through a very extended leg kick that can help disrupt a hitter’s timing. He attacks hitters with a 91-93 mph four-seam fastball that can touch 96. It projects as at least an above-average pitch. He’ll likely look to add a two-seam fastball when he comes to the U.S. to give him a fastball with some sink. Kikuchi pitches off his fastball more than most Japanese pitchers, using it to set up a plus mid-80s slider. The pitch is especially effective because he can command it so well. He can bury it or sweep it out of the zone, but he also can tickle the bottom of the zone with it when needed. His 73-78 mph average curveball is more of an early-count surprise pitch. It’s a big, slow breaker which is effective because of the change of pace and his ability to throw it for strikes. At its best, his curve can lock up hitters who are looking for a fastball. He has sporadically thrown a straight changeup to righthanders. It’s a below-average pitch and he’s more effective against righties by working in and out with his fastball. He’s shown a comfort and ability to dot the inside corner. The Future: Kikuchi is a mid-rotation starter as a lefty with a track record of success, a plus slider and above-average control. He’s lacks the ceiling of a Shohei Ohtani, Yu Darvish or Daisuke Matsuzaka, but he should be a useful addition to the Mariners rotation.
Track Record: Kelenic won a pair of gold medals for USA Baseball's 18U National Team, then graduated early from his Wisconsin high school to train for the 2018 draft. His pedigree and dedication paid off when the Mets drafted him sixth overall as the first prep player off the board and signed him for a franchise-record $4.5 million bonus. After one summer in the Mets organization, Kelenic was the jewel of the prospect haul for the Mariners in the trade that sent Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to New York. Scouting Report: Kelenic immediately became the Mariners' best position prospect after the trade and could develop into a center fielder with five average or better tools. He has a long track record with wood bats and a simple, quick lefthanded swing honed by countless hours in the batting cage. His feel for the barrel gives him a plus hit tool, while his strong batting eye makes him an on-base threat who will bat toward the top of a lineup. Kelenic's raw power is at least plus and as he tweaks his approach and launch angle he should get to above-average pop in games. Projected as an average runner, his raw speed might be a bit short of the center field prototype, but he has the instincts to stick there as a solid-average defender. An above-average arm could make him a plus defender on a corner The Future: Kelenic turned 19 in July after the draft and was old for his high school class, but that should help ease his transition to low Class A West Virginia in 2019.
Track Record: White comes by his athleticism naturally. Both his father and grandfather played in the minor leagues, and his parents were both college basketball players. Undrafted out of his Ohio high school, he 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. 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 is so graceful that his movements there have been called ballet-like. He earns 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 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 advance 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 Mariners' 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 righthanded 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. It would not be a surprise to see Rodriguez at the top of the Mariners' prospect list heading into 2020.
Track Record: Dunn spent most of his time in college in the bullpen, and then scuffled in his full-season debut in the high Class A Florida State League. But after he made 24 starts while taming the FSL and reaching Double-A in 2018, his future appears firmly planted in the rotation. Based on that development, the Mariners acquired Dunn in December as one of the top prospects in the deal that sent Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to the Mets. Scouting Report: Dunn evolved from thrower to pitcher in 2018 by working his fastball to both sides of the plate and up and down in the zone at 93-95 mph from an effortless delivery. He can sink his fastball for early-count groundball outs or throw it with riding life up in the zone for swinging strikes. Dunn's slider is his go-to secondary weapon, and it flashes plus with two-plane break to neutralize righthanded hitters. He committed to throwing his changeup in 2018 and made huge strides. The mid-80s pitch fades to his arm side and bottoms out as it approaches the plate, erasing the ugly platoon split he had in 2017. His athletic motion allows him to throw first-pitch strikes and grants him access to future average control. The Future: Dunn is positioned to assume any role the Mariners need in the second half of 2019, be it multi-inning reliever or spot starter. Long term he has the profile of a No. 3 or 4 starter.
Track Record: Gilbert excelled at Stetson by going 23-3, 2.48 with 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings in three seasons. After signing for $3,883,800 he spent most of the summer recovering from a bout of 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 2017 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 in his delivery and late life on the pitch. 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 breaking balls to be plus, especially his 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 arm slot. The Future: Gilbert should be advanced enough to jump straight to full-season ball to start his pro career in 2019, but staying behind in extended spring training to manage 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 2018. 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 because of his knee injuries. Lewis is still capable of making highlight-reel plays in the outfield, with his average 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: Long’s pro career got off to a slow start, but he took off at the plate once he moved from catcher to second base, where his athleticism plays better. He has steadily worked to improve his defense at second while consistently providing solid-average power and a discerning batting eye. After a solid showing at Double-A and the Arizona Fall League in 2018, the Mariners acquired Long from the Reds for second-rounder Josh Stowers.Scouting Report: Long is a bat-first player, using special bat speed and barrel manipulation to hit the ball to all fields. While he has had some issues with making consistent contact, his lefthanded bat shows signs of being above-average with future average power. His hands are very strong, which allows him to generate his bat speed. Long’s actions in the field need work, but his athleticism and average arm have helped him improve to the point where he’s a fringe-average defender. He is an average runner who is efficient stealing bases with advanced instincts, making him a double-digit home run, double-digit stolen base threat. The Future: Long should see regular at-bats at Triple-A Tacoma in 2019. If he continues to improve his defense, he has a chance to emerge as the Mariners' second baseman of the future.
Track Record: Marte was one of top infield prospects in the 2018 international signing class, with the Mariners signing the Dominican Republic native 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 because of 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: 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 in 2018, 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 pitch-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. 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 exchanged for James Paxton. Originally drafted by the Rangers, Swanson transferred from Wabash (Ill.) JC to Iowa Western JC in 2014 and showed enough there to get drafted in the eighth round. He went all the way to Triple-A Round Rock with Texas in 2015 before being dealt to the Yankees for Carlos Beltran at the 2016 trade deadline. After beginning 2018 at high Class A Tampa, he finished the year by starting Game 1 of the International League 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 higher. He couples the pitch with a mid-80s slider and a low-80s changeup. Both secondary pitches project as average offerings with a little bit more refinement. A big reason for his improvement in 2018 was an uptick in fastball command, particularly when throwing the pitch up in the zone. Some scouts are concerned that he won't be able to get the ball to his glove side as often as necessary because of his delivery. His only real hiccup came in the form of an oblique strain that cost him a chunk of time at midseason. The Future: Swanson will go to spring training with a chance to crack the Mariners' rotation, and he projects as a No. 5 starter. .Additional Triple-A seasoning is the most likely Opening Day assignment.
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 added strength and lowered his hands. That allowed him to get more power into his swing, which has helped him drive the baseball more frequently, giving him a chance to hit double-digit home runs while still being an average hitter. Early in the 2018 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 will come in addition to what he brings to the field and basepaths, because he is a plus runner and plus-plus defender in center field. The Future: The Mariners added Bishop to the 40-man roster in November in his first year of eligibility. He will head to Triple-A Tacoma and could reach Seattle in 2019.
Track Record: Carlson had a strong commitment to Florida before the Mariners signed him for an over-slot $2 million in the second round of the 2017 draft. After two short but impressive appearances in Rookie ball in 2017, Carlson was shut down with some minor soreness that did not look to be a long-term issue. Elbow and forearm tenderness kept him off the mound at 2018 spring training, but he began throwing bullpen sessions in early summer before it was determined that he needed Tommy John surgery in July. Scouting Report: Carlson has a prototype pitcher's frame with room to add strength. Prior to the injury, he threw a heavy fastball with late action and natural sink up to 96 mph. His above-average mid-80s slider has late action and tilt, complemented by a changeup that flashes plus. With a loose, quick arm, Carlson uses a delivery that is easy and free-flowing. The Future: The Mariners hope that Carlson can be throwing bullpens again by late July and are targeting 2020 for a return to game action. He'll still be just 21, but the Mariners will need to speed his development at that point because he will be in his fourth pro season before he receives significant pro mound experience.
Track Record: The Mariners acquired Fraley in the trade that sent Mike Zunino to the Rays for Mallex Smith. Fraley missed most of 2017 with a knee injury and then the early part of 2018 with a foot injury after spending the offseason in the Australian Baseball League. Healthy for the second half of 2018, he hit .347/.415/.547 at high Class A Charlotte. Scouting Report: Fraley has a good approach at the plate with above-average bat speed and a simple, balanced swing, but his 2018 numbers overstate his impact potential. He has a track record for putting the bat on the ball and drawing walks. While he hits righthanders better, Fraley has shown that he holds his own against southpaws. His below-average power results in more doubles to the gap than balls over the fence. His best tool is his plus speed, allowing him to stay in center field, but he needs to develop better instincts on the bases. Above-average range and a fringe-average arm are enough for all three outfield positions, and his most likely big league role will be as a versatile backup outfielder. The Future: Fraley will have to prove that he can stay on the field after battling injuries. The Mariners will move him quickly to try to make up for lost time. His most likely role is as a fourth outfielder.
Track Record: Signed for $5,000 after being drafted in the seventh round out of Division II East Stroudsburg, Festa turned out to be first Mariners 2016 draft pick to reach the big leagues. He made eight relief appearances for Seattle in 2018, capping off a rapid ascent. Festa's 2018 season was delayed by a hip flexor issue, but he proved to be effective at Double-A Arkansas. Scouting Report: While he has a more diverse mix than most relievers, Festa is at his best when using his 92-94 mph fastball in conjunction with his plus slider. The latter is a harder pitch with glove-side cut that typically sits around 87 mph, and he uses it often as a strikeout pitch against righthanders. He also uses a sinker, most notably against lefthanders, and mixes in a changeup and 12-to-6 curveball in the low 80s, albeit less frequently than the rest of his repertoire. Festa's above-average control is the difference-maker for him. He delivers his pitches with a loose, high three-quarter arm slot that he repeats. The Future: After getting a taste of the big leagues in 2018, Festa will go to spring training with a chance to break camp in the Mariners' bullpen. He doesn't have the velocity to profile as a closer but should be effective in high-leverage situations.
Track Record: Vogelbach's productive 2018 spring training, when he hit over .400 with seven home runs, earned him a spot on the Mariners' Opening Day roster, but a slow start had him back at Triple-A Tacoma before the end of April. He returned to Seattle for other short stints, but inconsistent playing time resulted in subpar production. Vogelbach put up good numbers at Triple-A Tacoma, hitting .290/.434/.595 with 20 home runs and more walks than strikeouts in 294 at-bats. Scouting Report: There are many who still believe Vogelbach will hit if given the opportunity, but it will likely need to be as a DH. At the plate, he has a good approach, strong hands and an ability to use all fields with plus raw power. He tapped into his raw power in games more often in 2018, with his 24 combined home runs between Triple-A and the major league marking a career high. Vogelbach is a well below-average defender at first base and a bottom-of-the-scale runner. The Future: Vogelbach's improvement at Triple-A was a positive sign. With the Mariners moving into rebuild mode and free agent DH Nelson Cruz unlikely to return, Vogelbach could get another shot at that role in at least a platoon capacity in 2019.
Track Record: Thompson-Williams' third pro season was his best to date, prompting the Mariners to acquire him as part of a three-prospect return from the Yankees in the James Paxton trade. He was originally drafted by the Yankees in the fifth round in 2016 after his lone season at South Carolina, having played two previous years at Iowa Western JC. Thompson-Williams spent most of 2018 at high Class A Tampa and hit .299/.356/.517 with 22 home runs and 20 stolen bases. He was one of only six minor league players to reach the 20-20 mark in 2018, despite missing a month to a hamstring injury. Scouting Report: Thompson-Williams, who will turn 24 early in 2019, may be an example of a raw athlete breaking out later in his career. He has explosive, quick-twitch athleticism, combined with sneaky power to all fields, and has at least average raw power with a chance for more to come. An above-average defender with an average arm, Thompson-Williams can stay in center field but can also handle all three positions in a fourth outfielder role. His run times in 2018 were inconsistent, perhaps due to his hamstring problems, but he's at least an average runner out of the box and a tick better in the field. The Future: After a strong season in the Florida State League, Thompson-Williams will head to Double-A Arkansas in 2019 and could see Triple-A by midseason.
Track Record: Mills pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in four years at Gonzaga, where he recorded a 1.79 ERA with 12 saves as a senior. Drafted in the third round in 2017 with the intention of moving through the Mariners' system quickly, Mills made it to Double-A Arkansas by the end of his first full season and then spent time in the Arizona Fall League. Scouting Report: Pitching from a sidearm slot, Mills gives hitters a different look, with his pitches appearing to come out of his hip. It's a funky, deceptive delivery, but he repeats it well. Mills' typical 88-92 mph fastball has both sink and armside movement, and he showed increased velocity in the AFL, when he sat 94-95 mph. His average 81-84 mph slider has two-plane movement and can be a swing-and-miss pitch, but it currently doesn't have enough tilt and needs to thrown in the zone more often against more advanced hitters. Mills throws his 80-83 mph changeup for strikes, using it more often against lefthanded batters, but he's predominately a fastball/slider reliever. The Future: After a successful stint in AFL, Mills should be ready to give Double-A another shot in 2019 and will likely make it to Triple-A before long. He could be pitching in high-leverage situations if he maintains the increased velocity and improves his slider.
Track Record: Signed by the Mariners in 2017 for $1.225 million, Querecuto spent 2018 playing shortstop in the Dominican Summer League. His high baseball IQ comes naturally because his father Juan played in the Blue Jays' farm system and his brother Juniel played in the Diamondbacks' organization in 2018 after reaching the big leagues with the Rays in 2016. Scouting Report: Querecuto is known for his skills more than his tools. He consistently does the little things well with a knack of regularly being in the right spot at the right time. He made strides at the plate in 2018 by better controlling the barrel and using all fields. With good strike-zone awareness, Querecuto is more of a contact, gap-to-gap hitter with current below-average power. He spent the fall at the Mariners' complex in Arizona improving his strength, so there may be more power to come as he physically matures. A below-average runner, Querecuto compensates with instincts and positioning at shortstop, and his plus-plus arm already ranks as the best infield arm in the Mariners' system. The Future: Querecuto will make his U.S. debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2019.
Track Record: The Mariners' 2017 international signing class is beginning to look more interesting, which should add intrigue to the organization's Rookie-level Arizona League affiliate in 2019. Perez, a pitchability Venezuelan lefthander who signed for $350,000, projects as the best pitcher from that signing class. He had an impressive debut in the Dominican Summer League, when he struck out 58 batters in 53 innings while walking just 11. Scouting Report: Perez is already known for his advanced feel to pitch. He throws an 85-91 mph fastball with deception, and he is projected to add velocity with added strength and maturity. He throws a slurvy 73-77 mph breaking ball that can look like either a slider or curveball depending on how he adds or subtracts velocity. Regardless, it's his best out pitch and could be a plus offering with further refinement. Perez's changeup is still a work in progress, but he delivers all his pitches from a smooth, easy delivery and a low three-quarters slot. The Future: Perez will begin 2019 at the Mariners' complex in Peoria, Ariz., before joining the AZL team.
Track Record: Curletta was known for his impressive plus raw power but not much else during the first six years of his pro career--five of which were spent with the Dodgers before being traded to the Phillies and then the Mariners in March 2017. Something clicked for Curletta at Double-A Arkansas in 2018, when led the Texas League in both OPS (.865) and walks (81). The improved approach resulted in Curletta being named Texas League MVP and the Mariners' minor league hitter of the year. It also earned him a 40-man roster spot in the offseason. Otherwise he would have been a minor league free agent. Scouting Report: Curletta got his body in better shape, became a smarter hitter and improved his two-strike approach in 2018. He used a quieter setup at the plate and got more loft in his swing, allowing him to hit home runs on more than just mistake pitches. Curletta has easy plus-plus raw power from the right side. His strikeout rate didn't improve much from 2017, but he increased his walk rate from 11.7 percent in high Class A to 14.6 percent in Double-A. An outfielder through the early part of his career with a strong arm that made switching to the mound a possibility, Curletta has strictly played first base the last two years. He's a below-average defender at first base and a below-average runner, but he has recently made strides by getting his body in better condition. The Future: Curletta draws some comparisons with fellow Mariners' prospect Dan Vogelbach as a bat-first player. Curletta's likely assignment will be Triple-A Tacoma.
Track Record: Drafted out of a Virginia high school in the second round in 2016, Rizzo took a step back in 2018. He hit .241/.303/.321 for high Class A Modesto in the hitter-friendly California League. Rizzo also didn't do much to answer questions about whether he could handle third base. Scouting Report: Despite not showing a lot of impact with his bat in 2018, Rizzo still has believers who think he can develop into a serviceable hitter. He's still learning to make adjustments, possesses solid bat-to-ball skills and has outstanding makeup. He shows good raw power, but it has yet to show up in games. The biggest question is where Rizzo fits on the field because he is not very skilled defensively. His tick above-average arm is enough for third base, but he struggles with range to both his right and left. At 5-foot-9, Rizzo is too short for first base, and his below-average speed limits his chances at other positions. The Future: Rizzo will return to Modesto in 2019, when he'll be 21 and more age-appropriate for the Cal League. It'll be a key year for Rizzo, who needs to show growth in both his bat and glove.
Track Record: After spending two seasons at Hutchinson (Kan.) JC, Hutchinson went to Texas A&M. He posted a 1.24 ERA in 32 relief appearances in 2018, then signed for $300,000 after being drafted by the Mariners in the fifth round. He started his pro career with six short appearances in the Rookie-level Arizona League. In July, Hoffman was promoted to short-season Everett, where he posted a 2.45 ERA. Scouting Report: Hoffman could be considered the next version of fellow Mariners righthander Wyatt Mills, because he delivers pitches from a low arm slot. Hoffman pitches from an even lower slot than Mills, using submarine depth while drawing comparisons with major league reliever Darren O'Day. His upper-80s to low-90s fastball is an average pitch that comes across the plate heavy with late, plus sink. His fastball plays up because he locates it to both sides of the plate, while his fringe-average slider has whip and three-quarter tilt. He has below-average stuff now with plus movement and projected plus command. The Future: Like Mills, Hoffman has enough stuff, command and deception to move quickly. If he doesn't skip a level and start the 2019 season at high Class A Modesto, then he should get there before the end of the year. An uptick in velocity and improvement in his breaking ball would help solidify his projection as a solid middle reliever.
Track Record: A pure reliever with an aggressive delivery, Gerber was a closer at Illinois and averaged just over 12 strikeouts per nine innings during his three years in college. Drafted by the Mariners in the eighth round in 2018, Gerber pitched well at both short-season Everett and at low Class A Clinton in his pro debut, combining for a 2.10 ERA and 15 strikeouts per nine innings. Scouting Report: The 6-foot-4 Gerber is an imposing figure on the mound who comes right at hitters with premium velocity. He has what's been called violent velocity--a plus fastball that he throws for strikes from 92-96 mph with movement, life and sink. His fringe-average slider flashed above-average potential, but he needs to make it sharper more consistently. He had a decent changeup in college but rarely used it. Gerber uses a herky-jerky delivery with effort, but he stays online with a quick tempo to keep hitters from getting comfortable in the box. The Future: After dominating hitters in low Class A, look for Gerber to start 2019 at high Class A Modesto.
Track Record: Used mostly as a reliever in college, Misiewicz has worked primarily in the rotation since turning pro. Traded to the Rays in August 2017, he was reacquired by the Mariners four months later via trade. Misiewicz struggled at Double-A in 2018 but got back on track in the Arizona Fall League. Scouting Report: Misiewicz is a gritty, strike-throwing competitor with a four-pitch mix who gets by with finesse more than pure stuff. His fringe-average fastball sits 88-92 mph with some tail, and his 79-81 mph above-average curveball has late angle and sharp, downward action. His 86-88 mph slider is more of a cutter that he throws for strikes. Misiewicz also mixes in a low-80s changeup that showed improvement in the AFL. He repeats his high three-quarters arm slot well, but it doesn't provide a lot of deception. The Future: Misiewicz doesn't have a record of pitching deep into his starts, and he is generally more effective in shorter stints, marking him as a likely relief candidate.
Track Record: A four-year starter at Oklahoma State and the son of a coach, Walton is selfless and plays hard. He hit well at high Class A Modesto in 2018 before scuffling at Double-A. Scouting Report: Walton is fundamentally strong and has an uncanny ability to slow the game down, with a reputation for pushing his teammates to work harder by example. He has a good approach at the plate and does the little things well, including bunting, advancing runners and taking the extra base. Despite below-average speed, Walton steals bases and is a strong baserunner because of his advanced instincts. He's a capable defender at all infield positions with a tick above-average arm. The Future: Walton is future utility infielder with a high likelihood of reaching that ceiling.
Track Record: Warren struggled with a shoulder issue and worked just 15.2 innings at Double-A Arkansas in 2018, his second full year as a reliever. Scouting Report: When healthy, Warren uses a four-seam fastball that sits 92-97 mph and touches 99 with extension and late life up in the zone. The velocity and movement on his fastball helps the pitch compensate for his below-average command. Warren also uses an overhand 12-to-6 curveball that sits 80-84 mph with depth and hard finish. He also has a hard low-90s slider and a below-average changeup in the mid-to-upper 80s that is also a little too firm. The Future: Warren will be 26 on Opening Day, but he could get to the big leagues at some point in 2019 if he's healthy and able to maintain his stuff.
Track Record: Bautista has been traded twice since signing with the Red Sox at 17, first to the Mets in the 2017 Addison Reed deal and then to the Mariners in the Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz deal in December 2018. After pitching mostly at Triple-A Las Vegas in 2018, with a few big league appearances mixed in, Bautista finished the year with a promising stint in the Arizona Fall League. Scouting Report: Bautista's top pitch is his blazing four-seam fastball that averages 98 mph and touches triple digits. His heater comes out of a high-effort delivery with a long arm action. His mid-80s slider has two-plane action, but he struggles to command the pitch, especially to his glove side. He infrequently throws a low-90s split-changeup that can get swings-and-misses. While Bautista's 2018 numbers were inflated by poor luck on balls in play, the consistency of his offerings remains an issue. The Future: Bautista flashes high-leverage stuff but is held back by the poor command. He tantalized in small samples in the AFL but resembles an up-and-down middle reliever with a raw power arm.
Track Record: The Mariners purchased McKay from the Royals during 2018 spring training to provide organizational depth. He provided much more than that by reaching Double-A Arkansas and then earning a spot in the Arizona Fall League all-star showcase. Scouting Report: McKay profiles as a reliever, with his slightly above-average 92-95 mph fastball possessing both tail and a heavy sinking action. The gem of his arsenal is an 84-87 mph slider that projects to be a plus pitch with good depth. The key to his improvement was dropping his arm angle to a more comfortable three-quarters slot, allowing him to control the strike zone better. The Future: McKay is targeted for Triple-A Tacoma in 2019 and has a middle reliever ceiling.