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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Matt Eddy
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1. Dustin Ackley, of/1b
2. Michael Saunders, of
3. Adam Moore, c
4. Alex Liddi, 3b
5. Carlos Triunfel, ss/2b
6. Michael Pineda, rhp
7. Nick Franklin, ss
8. Greg Halman, of
9. Danny Cortes, rhp
10. Mario Martinez, 3b/1b
Best Hitter for Average Dustin Ackley
Best Power Hitter Greg Halman
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Ezequiel Carrera
Fastest Baserunner
Ezequiel Carrera
Best Athlete Greg Halman
Best Fastball Michael Pineda
Best Curveball Josh Fields
Best Slider Steven Hensley
Best Changeup Nick Hill
Best Control Michael Pineda
Best Defensive Catcher Steve Baron
Best Defensive Infielder Gabriel Noriega
Best Infield Arm Carlos Triunfel
Best Defensive Outfielder Michael Saunders
Best Outfield Arm James Jones
Catcher Adam Moore
First Base Dustin Ackley
Second Base Jose Lopez
Third Base Chone Figgins
Shortstop Nick Franklin
Left Field Michael Saunders
Center Field Franklin Gutierrez
Right Field Ichiro Suzuki
Designated Hitter Alex Liddi
No. 1 Starter Felix Hernandez
No. 2 Starter Cliff Lee
No. 3 Starter Michael Pineda
No. 4 Starter Ian Snell
No. 5 Starter Ryan Rowland-Smith
Closer David Aardsma
Year Player, Position 2009
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 Pirates
2007 Adam Jones, of Orioles
2008 Jeff Clement, c Pirates
2009 Greg Halman, of Mariners
Year Player, Position 2009
2000 Sam Hays, lhp
(4th round)
Out of baseball
2001 Michael Garciaparra, ss
(1st supp.)
2002 *John Mayberry Jr., of Phillies
2003 Adam Jones, ss/rhp
(1st supp.)
2004 Matt Tuiasosopo, ss
(3rd round)
2005 Jeff Clement, c Pirates
2006 Brandon Morrow, rhp Mariners
2007 Phillippe Aumont, rhp Mariners
2008 Josh Fields, rhp Mariners
2009 Dustin Ackley, of/1b Mariners
*Did Not Sign
Dustin Ackley, 2009 $6,000,000
Ichiro Suzuki, 2000 $5,000,000
Jeff Clement, 2005 $3,400,000
Brandon Morrow, 2006 $2,450,000
Matt Tuiasospo, 2004 $2,290,000
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Year one of general manager Jack Zduriencik's tenure with the Mariners registered as a major success. The big league team won 85 times, improving its showing from 2008 by 24 games, while benefiting from a new focus on defense and starting pitching, of the lefthanded variety.

Formerly scouting director for the Brewers, Zduriencik assumed control of the Mariners in October 2008 and made his first significant move two months later when he shipped former all-star J.J. Putz and two other players to the Mets in a three-team, 12-player deal. The transaction netted Franklin Gutierrez, who had a career year both at the plate and in center field, three other big leaguers and three prospects.

The prospects included first baseman Mike Carp, who made his big league debut during the 2009 season, and outfielder Ezequiel Carrera, who won the Double-A Southern League batting title.

Furthering their search for pitching and defense, the Mariners snagged Ian Snell and Jack Wilson during the Pirates' fire sale last July. The deal cost the organization several early-round draft picks made by former GM Bill Bavasi and scouting director Bob Fontaine, including Jeff Clement, the third overall choice in 2005.

Seattle buttressed its prospect depth with summer trades of Yuniesky Betancourt to the Royals and Jarrod Washburn to the Tigers. The swaps netted power righthander Danny Cortes and young lefties Luke French (who made seven uneven starts for the big league clubs and lost his prospect eligibility), Maurico Robles and Derrick Saito.

The club remained active in the offseason, making four significant deals, two of which involved young players. In December, they parted with righthanders Phillippe Aumont and J.C. Ramirez as well as outfielder Tyson Gillies to land Phillies ace Cliff Lee. A month later, Seattle shipped Brandon Morrow to the Blue Jays to acquire righthander Brandon League and outfielder Johermyn Chavez.

As special assistant to the GM Tony Blengino helped identify acquisition targets through performance analysis, new scouting director Tom McNamara helped stock the system with talent through a productive draft. Both came to Seattle from Milwaukee with Zduriencik.

McNamara and his scouting department used the No. 2 overall pick in the draft on Dustin Ackley, the best pure hitter available.

The sweet-swinging lefty signed late but played in the Arizona Fall League, where he batted .315/.412/.425, and Seattle will try to move him from first base to center field or second base. With two other picks among the top 33 (compensation for losing free agent Raul Ibanez to the Phillies), Seattle continued to stress defensive chops by taking shortstop Nick Franklin and catcher Steve Baron, two talented prep players from Florida.

Between the draft, the continued international effort—headlined in 2009 by the signing of slugging Dominican outfielder Guillermo Pimentel for $2 million—and trade acquisitions, the new regime breathed life into a farm system that Baseball America ranked 24th among baseball's 30 organizations entering the season.

Down on the farm, high Class A High Desert went 83-57 and lost in the California League finals to San Jose. The Mavericks scored more runs than any minor league team and finished second in homers (to Seattle's Triple-A Tacoma affiliate). Third baseman Alex Liddi led the minors in hitting at .345, while outfielder Jamie McOwen hit safely in a league-record 45 straight games, a string no minor leaguer has surpassed in more than half a century.

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