Our theme (of sorts) all year has been right-handed power as the new “Holy Grail” in baseball.
And the Mariners have gotten on board aggressively, it seems.
First, it’s clear that right-handed free agents are always going to be reluctant to sign long-term deals in Seattle. We don’t need to go through the Adrian Beltre story again, but I don’t doubt that there’s some validity to the whispers that Beltre told Nelson Cruz to avoid Safeco Field at all costs.
As a result, a pipeline of home-grown righty sluggers would seem like a good move.
- Jabari Blash (24, AAA): .479 SLG, 13 HR
- Jesus Montero (24, AAA): .469 SLG, 8 HR
- Patrick Kivlehan (24, AA — but time off for football): .498 SLG, 11 HR
- D.J. Peterson (22, High-A): .564 SLG, 12 HR
- Jabari Henry (23, High-A): .579 SLG, 11 HR
- Gabriel Gurrero (20, High-A): .473 SLG, 7 HR
- Austin Wilson (22, Low-A): .495 SLG, 8 HR
- Tyler O’Neill (19, Low-A): .462 SLG, 6 HR
And, of course, there’s also Mike Zunino (23, MLB): .420 SLG, 7 HR.
To which, Thursday night were added Alex Jackson of San Diego and Gareth Morgan of Toronto, both 18.
Jackson is big, but considered polished, possibly able to play catcher but probably not worth the trouble when he can focus on the bat.
Morgan is the proverbial “raw, toolsy” player, but has been on the radar and traveling south with national and touring teams since age-15, so he’s not as raw as someone who just played in Canada. Like Michael Saunders, he played hockey and soccer before concentrating on the diamond.
More on each follows.