The Seattle Mariners' chances of appearing in the 2012 postseason are dwindling from slim to none, as they currently sit in fourth place in the American League West and are 9.5 games out of a wild-card spot.
While few expected the M's to fare much better than their 67-win season of 2011, it's now officially time to bring up young players in preparation for the future of the franchise.
Here are five prospects Seattle should call up ASAP.
The second-overall selection in the 2011 MLB draft, lefty hurler Danny Hultzen should make his major league debut before he turns 23.
In 13 starts in the minors this year, Hultzen has compiled an 8-3 record with a 1.19 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 75.1 innings, along with a WHIP of 0.929.
Hultzen was recently called up to AAA Tacoma. By the time MLB rosters expand to 40 in September, he should be ready to make the jump to the next level, if not before.
Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan has struggled mightily at the plate this season, but because he's one of the best in the bigs defensively, he stays in the lineup.
Twenty-two-year-old Carlos Triunfel has been in Seattle's farm system since he was 17 and has been rated as a top-10 Mariners prospect three times.
Through 541 minor league games, Triunfel has a batting average of .274 and has been rated "best infield arm" in the M's system six times.
He can hit for average and show off the glove as well; Carlos Triunfel should definitely get a shot in 2012.
Another left-handed prospect, James Paxton is 23 and looks ready to get a shot in the big leagues.
Paxton is 10-8 with an ERA of 3.00 through 31 career starts in the minor leagues. His numbers are deceiving, however, as he was ranked as Seattle's No. 3-overall prospect after last season and is said to have a dirty breaking pitch.
Paxton could be part of a very dangerous Mariners rotation in a few years and now is the time to get him groomed and give him an idea of what the next level is like.
Also recently promoted to Tacoma, infielder Nick Franklin looks to be on the fast track to Seattle.
He has a career average of .292 in the minors and has above-average power for a shortstop. It may be a shortstop platoon by season's end, but Franklin will play a pivotal role in Seattle's necessary rebuilding process.
Carlos Peguero has some big league experience already and the 6'5'' lefty slugger has made strides in his game.
He's got a lot of pop—Peguero has hit as many as 31 home runs in a season in the minors—and he's a better hitter than his .196 major league average indicates.
The M's have suffered some injuries in the outfield this year, and Peguero will do nothing but help later on in the season and in years to come.