Seattle Mariners: Re-Ranking the M's Top 10 Prospects After 2012 MLB Draft
In the wake of the relatively recent 2012 MLB Draft, there are a number of big, new faces in the Seattle Mariners' farm system, setting up a relevant time to re-rank the top 10 prospects on the team.
The prospects have actually been getting just as much attention as the major leaguers as of late since they're arguably more exciting to watch.
Of the 2012 draftees, the most notable picks were first-rounder Mike Zunino out of Florida and Patrick Kivlehan from Rutgers. One of those guys will crack the top 10, and the other is actually a football player.
To find out who's who, read on and compare your own opinions with my ranking of the Mariners' top 10 prospects.
10. Francisco Martinez
Martinez came to Seattle in last year's trade with the Detroit Tigers as the biggest risk, but with a high potential as an offensive player. He isn't exactly blossoming as a hitter in Double-A Jackson, but he's improving and demonstrating some important skills.
He has a good eye at the plate which gives him a better shot at getting on base, and once he's on base, he dominates—which represents his best ability to create runs.
9. Stephen Pryor
Pryor has completed his journey to the majors with consistent, excellent pitching and still qualifies as a prospect because he hasn't completed his rookie season yet (could be this year, but it remains up in the air).
He was recently moved to the DL, but I'd expect him to return to the major league roster once he's healthy, because he tore through major league hitters as easily as hitters any other level (besides High Desert...).
8. Mike Zunino
Here's the only 2012 draft pick to make the list. Zunino was one of the strongest hitters in the SEC during his time playing catcher at Florida.
The obvious comparison to make is between Mike Zunino and current catcher/DH Jesus Montero—they're both young, power-upside catchers. A day may come when we have to pick one, but that won't be for a while.
That also means Patrick Kivlehan is the football player. But that shouldn't diminish his status as a baseball player at all. He is the first ever Big East player to win the the triple crown, and he did it as a walk-on.
7. Brad Miller
Miller has been hitting really well in High Desert thus far in 2012: .326/.414/.535 AVG/OBP/SLG in 67 games with nine home runs and 12 stolen bases.
Strikeouts are a concern, with 52 this season, but he's in Single-A with a lot of time to work on that—it's not an unusual number.
6. Vinnie Catricala
Catricala made a case last March that almost qualified him for a major-league look, with only his inexperience holding him back.
Triple-A Tacoma has definitely been a challenge for him, but the scouting team likes his swing, and he's a dynamic, resilient player.
5. Andrew Carraway
Carraway was the oft-overlooked fourth member of the insane Jackson Generals starting rotation. He didn't receive all the media attention that the "Big Three" did, but that didn't seem to phase him, as he was the first to earn a promotion to Triple-A.
He hasn't been as utterly dominant in Triple-A, but this year's only half over, and he has next spring at the least to prepare for the bigs.
4. Nick Franklin
Spoiler alert: we've reached the top hitting prospect in the list.
Nick Franklin is not only the most highly-touted hitter in the team's farm system, he's also the most talented.
After having to deal with a bat to the face in 2011, Franklin has shown us that 2010 was the norm, as he's picked it back up in 2012.
BREAKING NEWS: Franklin was just promoted to Triple-A Tacoma.
3. James Paxton
Big Three (Part I)
The Big Three was once thought to be Felix Hernandez, Michael Pineda and Danny Hultzen. Since then, however, we dished Pineda and adjusted the title to a more generationally appropriate trio.
Paxton, 23, has a 10.15 K/9 ratio in 10 starts for Jackson in 2012; that's pretty good for a starter. It's hard to rank these three, but since I have to, Paxton is the least awesome of the trio.
2. Taijuan Walker
Big Three (Part II)
Walker has a pretty similar ERA, WHIP, K/9 ratio and win percentage to Paxton, but he one-ups his teammate in the walks column. He has nine fewer walks than Paxton in nine more innings, which evidences his superior pitch control.
He's also 19.
1. Danny Hultzen
Big Three (Part III)
Did you catch that breaking news information earlier? If so, you probably noticed that Hultzen was also promoted to Tacoma on Wednesday.
That caps an 8-3 record in Double-A with a 1.19 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 9.47 K/9 ratio through 13 starts.
It's a little sad to break up the Big Three, but they'll be reunited sometime soon in the Seattle Mariners' starting rotation, where they'll make up King Felix Hernandez's regal court. Get pumped.
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