Seattle Mariners Top 10 Prospects

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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, 2011.

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Conor Glassey
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1. Dustin Ackley, 2b
2. Michael Pineda, rhp
3. Nick Franklin, ss/2b
4. Taijuan Walker, rhp
5. Guillermo Pimentel, of
6. Mauricio Robles, lhp
7. Johermyn Chavez, of
8. Marcus Littlewood, ss
9. Kyle Seager, inf
10. Dan Cortes, rhp
Best Hitter for Average Dustin Ackley
Best Power Hitter Johermyn Chavez
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Dustin Ackley
Fastest Baserunner Dustin Ackley
Best Athlete Greg Halman
Best Fastball Michael Pineda
Best Curveball Josh Fields
Best Slider Michael Pineda
Best Changeup Mauricio Robles
Best Control Erasmo Ramirez
Best Defensive Catcher Steve Baron
Best Defensive Infielder Gabriel Noriega
Best Infield Arm Carlos Triunfel
Best Defensive Outfielder Matt Cerione
Best Outfield Arm Johermyn Chavez
Catcher Adam Moore
First Base Justin Smoak
Second Base Dustin Ackley
Third Base Chone Figgins
Shortstop Nick Franklin
Left Field Guillermo Pimentel
Center Field Franklin Gutierrez
Right Field Michael Saunders
Designated Hitter Ichiro Suzuki
No. 1 Starter Felix Hernandez
No. 2 Starter Michael Pineda
No. 3 Starter Taijuan Walker
No. 4 Starter Mauricio Robles
No. 5 Starter Blake Beavan
Closer Dan Cortes
Year Player, Position 2010
2001 Ryan Anderson, lhp Out of baseball
2002 Ryan Anderson, lhp Out of baseball
2003 Rafael Soriano, rhp Rays
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
2010 Dustin Ackley, of/1b Mariners
Year Player, Position 2010
2001 Michael Garciaparra, ss
(1st round supp.)
2002 *John Mayberry Jr., of Phillies
2003 Adam Jones, ss
(1st round supp.)
2004 Matt Tuiasosopo, ss
(3rd round)
2005 Jeff Clement, c Pirates
2006 Brandon Morrow, rhp Blue Jays
2007 Philippe Aumont, rhp Phillies
2008 Josh Fields, rhp Mariners
2009 Dustin Ackley, of/1b Mariners
2010 Taijuan Walker, rhp Mariners
Dustin Ackley, 2009 $6,000,000
Ichiro Suzuki, 2000 $5,000
Jeff Clement, 2005 $3,400,000
Brandon Morrow, 2006 $2,450,000
Matt Tuiasosopo, 2005 $2,290,000
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Seattle Mariners

The Mariners' 2010 season was arguably the worst in franchise history.

The franchise debuted in 1977 and didn't post its first winning season until 1990, so there were certainly plenty of lean years. But 2010 was much more disappointing because even the most pessimistic fans in Seattle couldn't have seen it coming.

The Mariners went 85-77 in 2009, their first season under general manager Jack Zduriencik, and optimism reigned only one year after they became the first team with a $100 million payroll to lose more than 100 games. When Zduriencik signed free agent Chone Figgins and traded for Cliff Lee last offseason, many analysts picked Seattle to win the American League West.

But everything went wrong for the Mariners. Local writers reported that franchise icon Ken Griffey Jr. was caught napping in the clubhouse when he was needed for pinch-hitting duty during a game in May, and he retired in June after batting .184/.250/.204 in 98 at-bats on the season. Figgins started slowly and never got on track, and he got into a dugout fight with manager Don Wakamatsu in July. Wakamatsu and three big league coaches were fired in early August.

The Mariners went 42-70 under Wakamatsu and 19-31 under interim replacement Daren Brown, losing 100 games for the fifth time in franchise history. While Ichiro Suzuki became the first player ever to record 10 straight 200-hit seasons, Seattle scored just 513 runs, the lowest full-season total for an AL team since the introduction of the designated hitter. Righthander Felix Hernandez won the Cy Young Award, yet went 13-12 because he was saddled with poor run support and a shaky bullpen.

By July it was obvious the Mariners would need to trade Lee, who was headed toward free agency, but even that ended up backfiring. The Yankees thought they had worked out a deal that would have sent elite hitting prospect Jesus Montero and two other players to Seattle for Lee, but that deal fell through and the Mariners ended up shipping Lee and Mark Lowe to the Rangers for Justin Smoak, righthanders Blake Beavan and Josh Lueke and second baseman Matt Lawson.

Lueke was charged with rape and sodomy in a May 2008 incident and served 42 days in jail before reaching a plea deal for lesser charges—false imprisonment with violence—that included three years' felony probation. His past was common knowledge within the industry, but Zduriencik contended he didn't know the extent of Lueke's legal troubles when he made the deal. The Mariners, who have worked with groups opposing violence toward women, drew fire for acquiring Lueke, and director of pro scouting Carmen Fusco took the fall when he was fired in September.

The franchise took another hit on Nov. 10, when Hall of Famer broadcaster Dave Niehaus died of a heart attack. It was a tragic end to an already depressing season.

The Mariners do have hope for the future. Hernandez is the best pitcher in baseball, and Ichiro (who also won his 10th straight Gold Glove) shows no signs of slowing down. Smoak and second baseman Dustin Ackley, the system's No. 1 prospect, should help rejuvenate the lineup in the next couple of years, and righthander Michael Pineda eventually should slot in right behind Hernandez in the rotation.

Seattle may not be able to contend under new manager Eric Wedge in 2011, but the season can't be as disheartening as the one that preceded it.

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