Stock Up, Stock Down for Seattle Mariners' Top 10 Prospects for Week of May 27

J.J. MatthewsContributor IIIJune 3, 2013

Stock Up, Stock Down for Seattle Mariners' Top 10 Prospects for Week of May 27

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    After a rough last few weeks, the Seattle Mariners have slipped from second in the American League West to fourth place, only four games in front of the lowly Houston Astros. Currently, the Mariners stand at 24-33 after a discouraging 10-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Sunday afternoon.

    Although things seem rather grim in Seattle, the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers continue their stellar play, led by top prospects Stefen Romero and Brad Miller.

    We now take a look at the performances of the Mariners' top prospects, including Romero and Miller, over the last week.

     

    Note: Top Prospects According to MLB.com.

    No. 2 prospect SP Danny Hultzen (shoulder injury) will not be included until he's active.

    No. 4 prospect SS Nick Franklin will not be included due to his recent promotion to Seattle.

    No. 12 prospect 3B/OF Vincent Catricala will not be included after being DFA'd on Sunday.

    No. 13 prospect SP Jordan Shipers (Disabled 7-Day) will not be included until he's active.

No. 14 Prospect: C Jack Marder, Double-A Jackson

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    2013 Stats

    .192/.287/.275 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 13 R

     

    Overview

    The No. 14 prospect for the Mariners has struggled this season at Double-A Jackson after a successful 2012 campaign in High-A High Desert.

    Marder is unfortunately playing a position that the Mariners organization currently has some depth at. With Jesus Sucre currently playing in Seattle and top prospect Mike Zunino currently in Triple-A, Marder's future may not be at catcher for the Mariners.

    Fortunately for him, he has plenty of defensive flexibility, as he's spent some time at second base and in the outfield. In fact, Marder is currently listed as a second baseman for the Jackson Generals, which could be his position moving forward in the organization.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    2-for-7, 2 R

     

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    Down

No. 11 Prospect: LF Julio Morban, Double-A Jackson

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    2013 Stats

    .336/.377/.516, 9 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 15 R, 1 SB

     

    Overview

    Morban has been the offensive leader and catalyst for the Jackson Generals this season. Currently, Morban leads Jackson in batting average and is tied for second in extra-base hits with 14 this season.

    With the issues Seattle has in the outfield at the major league level, and with the abundance of "4-A" outfielders in Tacoma, Morban has a real shot to earn some playing time with the Mariners come September. At the least, he should be looking at a call-up to Triple-A Tacoma, especially if he continues to hit like he has been in Jackson.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    7-for-18, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 R

     

    Stock

    Up

No. 10 Prospect: LHP Tyler Pike, Single-A Clinton

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    2013 Stats

    10 GS, 3-3, 2.85 ERA, 25 BB, 44 K, 47.1 IP

     

    Overview

    Tyler Pike has enjoyed his fair share of success this season. He currently heads the Clinton pitching staff, along with fellow prospect Victor Sanchez.

    Many thought the Mariners reached on Pike in 2012 when they selected him out of Florida State, but he has showed that his athleticism translates well to the minor league level—at least, so far.

    Currently, Pike ranks fourth in the Mariners' minor league system with a 2.85 ERA, but he still needs to work on his control before he can move up.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, L

     

    Stock

    Hold

No. 9 Prospect: 3B Stefen Romero, Triple-A Tacoma

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    2013 Stats

    .305/.368./.435, 9 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 26 RBI, 18 R, 5 SB

     

    Overview

    The former 12th-round pick out of Oregon State enjoyed a monster week in Tacoma. Romero, who is best described as "have bat, will travel," is listed as a third baseman for Tacoma. But he has experienced playing time all over the infield and outfield while in the Mariners' system.

    As the Mariners' Offensive Minor League Player of the Year in 2012, Romero faced big expectations coming into the 2013 season. But he was able to show he belonged with a strong showing in spring training. If not for an injury that delayed his 2013 debut, Romero's numbers could be even better than they are now.

    With Romero's production and the Mariners' desperate need for offense, he should see time in Seattle this season, especially when the rosters expand in September.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    12-for-27, 3 2B, 7 RBI, 1 R, 1 SB

     

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    Up

No. 8 Prospect: RF Gabriel Guerrero, Single-A Clinton

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    2013 Stats

    .222/.246/.308, 12 2B, 2 3B, 15 RBI, 23 R, 4 SB

     

    Overview

    The nephew of Vladimir Guerrero shares more than just a last name with the former big league slugger. In fact, his free-swinging tendencies match up perfectly with Vlad's reputation in the big leagues and are further backed up by Gabriel's 44 to 7 K:BB ratio on the season.

    Guerrero has a cannon for an arm in right field and is surprisingly quick for his size. He has all the tools in the world to be a major league outfielder but has struggled to make consistent contact in Clinton.

    Guerrero has struggled as of late, going 8-for-36 with only one RBI over his last 10 games. When he finally puts everything together, the Mariners could be looking at their right fielder of the future. However, that appears like it may not be for at least a few more years.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    2-for-23

     

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No. 7 Prospect: RHP Victor Sanchez, Single-A Clinton

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    2013 Stats

    7 GS, 1-2, 2.63 ERA, 6 BB, 25 K, 37.2 IP

     

    Overview

    At only 18 years of age, Victor Sanchez is one of the youngest players in the Mariners' farm system, which makes it even more impressive that he is already in Single-A Clinton.

    Already armed with a plus fastball, Sanchez has the chance to develop his curveball and changeup into plus pitches as well. He dominated the short-season Northwest League as a 17-year-old last season, finishing among the league leaders in ERA and batting average against.

    Sanchez currently helps lead the LumberKings staff along with Tyler Pike, and would actually be ranked third in the Mariners' farm system in ERA if he was eligible. He may still have some years to go before he is in Seattle, but his future is just as bright as any pitcher in the Mariners' minor league system.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 7 K, L

     

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    Up

No. 6 Prospect: SS Brad Miller, Triple-A Tacoma

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    2013 Stats

    .298/.384/.489, 8 2B, 2 3B, 8 HR, 37 RBI, 38 R, 4 SB

     

    Overview

    With Nick Franklin's move to second base and Brendan Ryan in the last year of his contract, Brad Miller could be looking at the starting shortstop job in Seattle next season if he continues to play like he has.

    Miller was solid at Double-A Jackson this season before earning a promotion to Tacoma after Carlos Triunfel was called up to Seattle. Since arriving at the Triple-A level, he has only gotten better, posting better offensive numbers across the board.

    Miller had a huge week, which was aided by Tacoma's 25-run outburst against Colorado on Wednesday. In that game, he went 3-for-7 with a double, a home run, six RBI and three runs scored.

    A concern with Miller heading into this season was the defensive issues he had in High-A High Desert in 2012. But he has quieted the critics a little bit with an improved performance this season. Miller very well could see some time in Seattle later this season, especially if the Mariners' front office decides to hand him the position in 2014.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    10-for-28, 1 2B, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 11 R

     

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No. 5 Prospect: LHP James Paxton, Triple-A Tacoma

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    2013 Stats

    11 GS, 2-4, 4.97 ERA, 22 BB, 53 K, 50.2 IP

     

    Overview

    One of the two lefties in the Mariners' "Big Four," Paxton has gotten off to a slow start in 2013 for Tacoma. For someone who has 11 starts on the season, only throwing 50.2 innings is not a good sign. In fact, he has only made it through six innings once this year in his 11 starts.

    Paxton is averaging over a strikeout per inning this season, but if he wants to make the move up to the big leagues, he'll have to learn how to become more economical with his pitch count. Paxton struggled again this week with his pitch count, only lasting four innings before being taken out against Sacramento on Saturday.

    He is known for being a slow starter, but with the calendar turning into June, one has to wonder if this isn't one of those years for the hard-throwing lefty.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 4.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 2 SO, ND

     

    Stock

    Down

No. 3 Prospect: C Mike Zunino, Triple-A Tacoma

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    2013 Stats

    .227/.297/.521, 11 2B, 2 3B, 11 HR, 42 RBI, 29 R

     

    Overview

    The Mariners first-round selection last season has had his ups and downs this year, but not in the way many would think.

    On the positive side, Zunino currently leads the Mariners' farm system with 42 RBI, ranks second with 11 HR and is fourth in slugging percentage. He has crushed pitching on the road as well, as he currently owns a .352/.408/.791 slash line in games away from Cheney Stadium.

    The bad news? Zunino currently is the not-so-proud owner of a .069/.159/.181 slash line at home, with only five extra-base hits and nine RBI. It's truly bizarre to see such a drastic split in home and away lines, but that has been the story of his 2012.

    Despite his home woes, Zunino will still most likely make his Mariners debut this season, most likely in September when rosters expand.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    5-for-25, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R

     

    Stock

    Hold

No. 1 Prospect: RHP Taijuan Walker, Double-A Jackson

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    2013 Stats

    10 GS, 3-5, 2.59 ERA, 27 BB, 63 K, 59.0 IP


    Overview

    Taijuan Walker has been the gem of the Mariners' farm system ever since the team selected him with the 43rd pick in the 2010 draft.

    He has been great in 2013 and has continued to make a case for his promotion to Triple-A Tacoma. His control has been a little bit of an issues so far, but he still ranks in the top five in almost all categories in the Mariners' farm system, including ERA, batting average against, WHIP and strikeouts.

    Walker has an electric fastball which is complemented by his curve and changeup, both of which have the opportunity to become plus pitches as well.

    It's only a matter of time before Walker makes his way to Seattle, but it would be a surprise if Mariners fans see in him Seattle this season. Remember, Walker is the crown jewel of the farm system and will most likely have his innings monitored throughout the season. It's more realistic to expect to see him battling for a rotation spot next spring training, especially if he sees some time in Triple-A Tacoma later this year.


    Last Week's Stats

    None


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