==Mariner Brainstorm Top 100 Prospects==
Here commences our third annual prospect ranking of the Mariner system. Since we’re at a new location now, we’re renaming it the “MB100” and officially including “34 More” (the Watch List) in addition to the “Top 40” and “26 in the Mix” (Spec66) from prior years. Nice round numbers, and it rhymes.
Last year’s Watch List ended up being pretty interesting. Of course, there were a lot of guys who were non-factors, but Yoervis Medina and Jesus Sucre ended up on the MLB roster, and Jabari Blash ended up making a “splash” with his power display in the minors.
Now, as it happens, this year’s outfield Watch List is mostly guys whose stock is falling. It wasn’t planned that way, but that’s how the chips fell.
Then again, as it happens, Blash’s stock was falling last year when he ended up on the Watch List, and he managed to get it turned around. And there might very well be a similar story this year.
So here are six outfielders who didn’t crack the Spec66, but are worth a (continued) look:
Phillips Castillo | 2014 age: 20 | RH
Once upon a time, Castillo was a glamour prospect. His age-17 season, with its eye-catching .848 OPS, launched him to the upper reaches of many lists. Our own Spec66 had him at No. 10 going into the 2012 season.
But we have a better sense of what to look for now, and, in retrospect, that glossy season was mostly built on the foundation of a .446 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) (in other words, his non-luck offensive production didn’t come close to making up for his staggeringly high strikeout rate).
In the following years, his K% remained ghastly (never lower than 26% — good hitters who aren’t sluggers should get it under 20%), and his BABIP good fortune has evaporated, leaving him exposed as a middling hitter who can’t play center field.
Not a recipe for success.
Since he’s still only 20, might he figure out how to strike out dramatically less, or to add a bunch more power or patience? Yes, he might. But he won’t get back in our rankings until we see it.
Leon Landry | 2014 age: 24 | LH
|2012||22||2 Teams||1 Lg||A+||LAD,SEA||104||487||449||88||153||34||18||13||76||27||11||19||66||.341||.371||.584||.954|
Boy, did Landry take California by storm in 2012. A .954 OPS with 18 triples!
But Landry left his bat in San Bernadino County. And pretty much everything else that made him exciting. It wasn’t just that his BABIP plunged, either (though it did). The doubles and triples that fueled his California game dried up as well. His ISO (SLG from extra-base hits, or SLG – BA) cratered from .213 to .087.
It’s possible that losing the extra lift from playing in the California desert cost Landry a mental edge that he could regain in 2014. A speed-power combination is always worth keeping an eye on.
Alfredo Morales | 2014 age: 21 | LH
|2011||18||3 Teams||3 Lgs||Rk-A+||SEA||60||263||225||34||69||14||1||4||33||8||2||28||66||.307||.385||.431||.817|
|2012||19||2 Teams||2 Lgs||A–A||SEA||83||339||305||37||70||15||3||5||38||5||4||30||101||.230||.295||.348||.643|
|2013||20||3 Teams||3 Lgs||A-A+-A-||SEA||55||230||195||26||46||11||0||2||17||1||1||34||57||.236||.348||.323||.671|
Morales has always intrigued me, and I stuck him all the way up at No. 29 in 2012. But he didn’t live up to the billing and I dropped him all the way off even the Watch List in 2013. That was too harsh, and he returns to the Watch List this year. Why? Because he’s always had a higher walk rate than your typical Latin American teen, and he’s had flashes where he looked like he could develop into a “doubles-and-walks” guy (ISO under .150 but high BB%). But you’ve got to be a very good hitter to make it as a corner OF with that kind of profile, and so far Morales is not.
Kevin Rivers | 2014 age: 25 | LH
|2012||23||2 Teams||2 Lgs||A-A+||SEA||96||385||325||44||84||23||4||10||57||5||4||45||87||.258||.359||.446||.806|
Of course, we’ve never been able to resist that Rivers, the ultimate “dark horse” prospect (undrafted, unheralded), came out of a school (Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire) named for the ultimate “dark horse” president.
But you don’t get to the majors on cute background stories, and Rivers’ strong 2013 rebound is tainted by the fact that it occurred in the California League. If you’re 25 and never played above High-A, you have very long odds indeed. But he keeps plugging away, and that’s how he got on this list.
Isaiah Yates | 2014 age: 19 | RH
Yates caught my eye when he walked 30 times in his first 48 games as a 17-year-old rookie.
He didn’t keep up that pace, but he’s still very young, and he’s shown a sound foundation that he can build on. If he sticks in center field, he has interesting upside. If he has to go to a corner, not so much.