Seattle Mariners: Top 10 Prospects

Seattle Mariners

Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2009.

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1. Greg Halman, of
2. Michael Saunders, of
3. Phillipe Aumont, rhp
4. Carlos Triunfel, ss/2b
5. Juan Ramirez, rhp
6. Adam Moore, c
7. Mario Martinez, 3b
8. Jharmidy DeJesus, 3b
9. Dennis Raben, of
10. Michael Pineda, rhp
Best Hitter for Average Carlos Triunfel
Best Power Hitter Dennis Raben
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Luis Valbuena
Fastest Baserunner Tyson Gillies
Best Athlete Greg Halman
Best Fastball Phillippe Aumont
Best Curveball Nathan Adcock
Best Slider Shawn Kelley
Best Changeup Cesar Jimenez
Best Control Michael Pineda
Best Defensive Catcher Rob Johnson
Best Defensive Infielder Gabriel Noriega
Best Infield Arm Carlos Triunfel
Best Defensive Outfielder Danny Carroll
Best Outfield Arm Tyson Gilles
Catcher Adam Moore
First Base Dennis Raben
Second Base Carlos Triunfel
Third Base Adrian Beltre
Shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt
Left Field Michael Saunders
Center Field Greg Halman
Right Field Ichiro Suzuki
Designated Hitter Jeff Clement
No. 1 Starter Felix Hernandez
No. 2 Starter Erik Bedard
No. 3 Starter Brandon Morrow
No. 4 Starter Philippe Aumont
No. 5 Starter Juan Ramirez
Closer J.J. Putz
Year Player, Position 2008
1999 Ryan Anderson, lhp Out of baseball
2000 Ryan Anderson, lhp Out of baseball
2001 Ryan Anderson, lhp Out of baseball
2002 Ryan Anderson, lhp Out of baseball
2003 Rafael Soriano, rhp Braves
2004 Felix Hernandez, rhp Mariners
2005 Felix Hernandez, rhp Mariners
2006 Jeff Clement, c Mariners
2007 Adam Jones, ss Orioles
2008 Jeff Clement, c Mariners
Year Player, Position 2008
1999 Ryan Christianson, c Out of baseball
2000 Sam Hayes, lhp (4th round) Out of baseball
2001 Michael Garciaparra, ss (1st supp.) Brewers
2002 *John Mayberry, of Rangers
2003 Adam Jones, ss/rhp (1st supp.) Orioles
2004 Matt Tuiasosopo, ss (3rd round) Mariners
2005 Jeff Clement, c Mariners
2006 Brandon Morrow, rhp Mariners
2007 Phillipe Aumont, rhp Mariners
2008 ^Joshua Fields, rhp None
^Has not signed; eligible to sign until June 2, 2009
*Did not sign
Ichiro Suzuki, 2000 $5,000,000
Jeff Clement, 2005 $3,400,000
Brandon Morrow, 2006 $2,450,000
Matt Tuiasosopo, 2004 $2,290,000
Ryan Anderson, 1997 $2,175,000
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Seattle Mariners

The 2008 Mariners were a study in dysfunction. They didn't hit, they didn't pitch and they didn't catch the ball, a formula that produced the worst run differential in the American League. In fact, Seattle became the first team to lose 100 games with a $100 million payroll, or $118 million on Opening Day, to be exact.

After the smoke cleared on Seattle's 101-loss disaster—a slip of 27 games from 2007 and the franchise's worst season in 25 years—the road had been paved for a much-needed change in direction.

General manager Bill Bavasi got the ax on June 16, when the Mariners' record stood at 24-45, and manager John McLaren followed him out the door three days later. Associate GM Lee Pelekoudas and bench coach Jim Riggleman stepped in on an interim basis.

After replacing Pat Gillick as GM in November 2003, Bavasi presided over a series of transactions that proved to be devastating to the organization. He traded young players such as Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Guillen, Rafael Soriano and Matt Thornton for little return. Bavasi also signed mediocre free agents such as Miguel Batista, Richie Sexson, Carlos Silva, Scott Spiezio and Jarrod Washburn to lengthy, expensive contracts. That group cost Seattle $169 million.

Yet his worst move may have been trading five players for Erik Bedard last offseason, as Adam Jones and Chris Tillman now look like future stars for the Orioles and Bedard made just 15 starts before succumbing to shoulder surgery.

In late October, the Mariners settled on former Brewers scouting director Jack Zduriencik as the club's new general manager. Zdurienick, Baseball America's 2007 Executive of the Year, was the catalyst in transforming Milwaukee from a laughingstock into a playoff team almost solely through the draft. Now he'll be asked to do the same in Seattle, where he hired former Athletics bench coach Don Wakamatsu as his manager, named former Brewers crosschecker Tom McNamara his scouting director and promoted Mariners coordinator of instruction Pedro Grifol to farm director.

Despite furnishing the Mariners with big leaguers Jeff Clement, Mark Lowe and Brandon Morrow—not to mention Tillman and other prospects such as outfielder Michael Saunders, righty Phillippe Aumont and catcher Adam Moore—scouting director Bob Fontaine was the first member of the old regime dismissed by Zduriencik. Fontaine's last draft was marred by Seattle's inability to sign its first-round pick, Georgia closer Joshua Fields. As a result, the Mariners have spent less on the 2008 draft ($2.5 million) than any other club. A college senior represented by Scott Boras, Fields can continue to negotiate until a week before the 2009 draft. If he doesn't sign, the Mariners would collect the 22nd pick in 2009 as compensation.

Led by international scouting director Bob Engle—whom Zduriencik retained after Engle was interviewed for the GM job—the Mariners continued to invest heavily in Latin America. They signed four players to six-figure bonuses in 2008, headlined by Dominican outfielder Julio Morban ($1.1 million) and Nicaraguan righthander Francisco Valdivia ($726,000). Seattle paid out $2.6 million in international six-figure bonuses, ranking seventh among all clubs.

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