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Seattle Mariners Top 10 Prospects
Index of Top 10 Prospects for all 30 Major League Teams

By Jim Callis

1. Ryan Anderson, lhp

Age: 22. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-10. Wt.: 215. Drafted: HS–Dearborn, Mich., 1997 (1st round). Signed by: Ken Madeja.

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Mariners Top Prospects

1992 Roger Salkeld, rhp
1993 Marc Newfield, of
1994 Alex Rodriguez, ss
1995 Alex Rodriguez, ss
1996 Jose Cruz Jr., of
1997 Jose Cruz Jr., of
1998 Ryan Anderson, lhp
1999 Ryan Anderson, lhp
2000 Ryan Anderson, lhp
2001 Ryan Anderson, lhp

Background: Anderson has ranked No. 1 on this list for five consecutive seasons. He didn’t figure to be eligible again because he was expected to lose his rookie status in 2001. But while the game’s other star lefthander prospect, C.C. Sabathia, won 17 games for Cleveland, Anderson didn’t take the mound during the regular season. He couldn’t get loose during a spring workout and doctors diagnosed a torn labrum, requiring shoulder surgery that kept him out until instructional league. It was a blow to an organization that had just lost another rotation candidate, Gil Meche, to a similar injury the month before.

Strengths: Few players can match Anderson’s ceiling. The only lefthander in baseball who’s more intimidating is Randy Johnson, to whom he’s often compared. Anderson isn’t nicknamed "Little Unit" for nothing. He has a 94-97 mph fastball that he has used to average 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings as a pro. He was refining his slider into a plus pitch and developing his changeup before he got hurt. He also had improved his command each season. With his stuff, there’s no question Anderson can become a legitimate No. 1 starter. He should be stronger than ever once his rehabilitation is complete.

Weaknesses: Anderson’s latest step was to throw in the bullpen in instructional league, so he still has not come all the way back. His career record is just 20-26 because he’s never put together an extended run of dominance. Anderson still has to improve his secondary pitches and control, though he did hold his own in Triple-A before he reached the legal drinking age. Lefthanders shouldn’t stand a chance against him, but they’ve hit .329 off him since he reached Double-A.

The Future: The Mariners aren’t going to take any chances with Anderson. He’ll report early to spring training. He won’t be in the running for a rotation spot and may open the year in Double-A San Antonio, where the climate is warmer than in Triple-A Tacoma. He’ll be kept on tight pitch counts wherever he goes. His future is still bright, though he won’t have much if any major league impact before 2003.

Did Not Play–Injured

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