Seattle Mariners: Stock Up, Stock Down for Top Prospects for Week of June 24

Madison Guernsey@GUERNS_M_DContributor IIIJuly 1, 2013

Seattle Mariners: Stock Up, Stock Down for Top Prospects for Week of June 24

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    Brad Miller, Nick Franklin and Mike Zunino are three highly anticipated prospects who have made their major league debuts this season, and chances are we'll see a few more before the season ends.

    Zunino and Miller are still finding their seas legs and adjusting to the big league game while Nick Franklin has been impressive and is one of the most productive hitters in Seattle's lineup. 

    The three of them are some of the biggest keys to the future success of the Mariners, and in a few short years, they could be a part of one of the best teams in baseball.

    Here's a progress report on Seattle's top 10 prospects as listed by Mariners.com.

    All stats via MiLB.com and FanGraphs.com

    *No. 3 prospect Mike Zunino, No. 4 prospect Nick Franklin and No. 6 prospect Brad Miller are currently with the Seattle Mariners

    **No. 12 prospect Jordan Shipers is currently on the seven-day DL.

Taijuan Walker

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    No. 1 prospect, RHP

    Currently at: Triple-A Tacoma

    Top prospect Taijuan Walker made his Tacoma debut on June 25 and picked up right where he left off, hurling six scoreless innings and scattering three hits in a winning effort against Fresno.

    It's a small sample size, but Walker's development and his increased consistency throughout the different levels of the minor leagues are definitely an encouraging sign as he gets closer to taking the mound at Safeco Field.

    In his final start for Double-A Jackson, Walker gave up two runs (one earned) through 6.2 innings with a season-high 12 strikeouts.

    Despite his 4-7 record with the Jackson Generals, Walker's numbers were much better than his record showed. He put up impressive numbers with a 2.46 ERA, .195 opponents' batting average and a 3.2:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

    Walker was selected to his second MLB Futures Game and could make his MLB debut this fall if he continues to tear up the minor leagues.

    Last week's stats: 1 GS, 1-0, 6 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 4 K

    Stock: Up

Danny Hultzen

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    No. 2 prospect, LHP

    Currently at: Triple-A Tacoma

    Danny Hultzen made his first start since April 19 last week, returning from an injury and pitching as if he were never hurt. Hultzen tossed six scoreless innings of two-hit ball, fanning six and walking one to improve to 4-1 on the season for the Rainiers.

    His improved health alone is a positive sign, and his performance in his first game back is even more encouraging. With nothing to lose this year as far as the Mariners' season is concerned, Hultzen has at least a decent chance of getting called up later this season, pending any further injury trouble.

    We'll continue to monitor his progress, but Hultzen appears to be on the fast track to taking the next step in his career.

    Last week's stats: 1 GS, 1-0, 6 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 6 K 

    Stock: Up

James Paxton

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    No. 5 prospect, LHP

    Currently at: Triple-A Tacoma

    It's been and up and down season for lefty James Paxton. Two starts ago he looked great, allowing three hits over six scoreless innings and striking out 11 Fresno Grizzlies.

    His last start, however, was a complete 180-degree turnaround as Paxton gave up seven runs in 5.1 innings and was saddled with his sixth loss of the season.

    Paxton stands 4-6 with a 5.24 ERA, an improvement upon his numbers from my last prospect watch, but with how inconsistent he has been, I can't justify an increase in stock.

    Paxton will have to turn things around if he wants to be part of the 40-man roster expansion in September.

    Lat week's stats: 1 GS, 0-1, 5.1 IP, 7 ER, 10 H, 1 BB, 5 K

    Stock: Neutral

Victor Sanchez

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    No. 7 prospect, RHP

    Currently at: Single-A Clinton

    It'll be a while before we see 18-year-old Venezuela native Victor Sanchez in a Mariners uniform, but he's on the right track.

    After spending nearly a month on the disabled list, Sanchez bounced back and pitched well in his first start, albeit a short three-inning outing. In Sanchez's last two starts, he has given up five runs (two earned) over seven innings, a solid line for one start or even two.

    Sanchez has a respectable 2.62 ERA through nine starts with 30 strikeouts and only six walks.

    Last week's stats: 2 GS, 0-1, 7 IP, 2 ER, 8 H, 0 BB, 5 K

    Stock: Up

Gabriel Guerrero

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    No. 8 prospect, OF

    Currently at: Single-A Clinton

    Over his last 10 games, Gabriel Guerrero has racked up 13 hits for a .371 average. Guerrero has become progressively better offensively, boosting his batting average each month this season.

    It's way too early in Guerrero's career to tell how well he'll perform in the big leagues, but he's got baseball in his blood and that often goes a long way.

    Last week's stats: 8-for-20, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R, 1 SB

    Stock: Up

Stefen Romero

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    No. 9 prospect, 3B

    Currently at: Triple-A Tacoma

    Infielder Stefen Romero has a diverse skill set and is simply a baseball player. He can play anywhere in the field and hits for power and for average. The only question is where he will play at the big league level with a crowded young infield already in Seattle.

    He's listed as a third baseman on the Mariners' website, but he's actually seen the most action in left field and as the DH this year in Tacoma.

    Romero is willing to fill in where he's needed and plays well regardless of what he's asked to do. His numbers speak for themselves, but they're only a small part of who Romero is as a player.

    Last week's stats: 0-for-7, 1 R (2 games)

    Stock: Up 

Tyler Pike

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    No. 10 prospect, LHP

    Currently at: Single-A Clinton

    Lefty Tyler Pike has been nothing short of impressive this season for the Clinton LumberKings. The Florida native hasn't lost a game since May 8 and his last two starts have consisted of three runs on eight hits over 13 innings.

    He was selected to represent the Mariners and LumberKings in the Midwest League All-Star Game and can be expected to be promoted to Double-A next season.

    Last week's stats: 1 GS, 1-0, 7 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 6 K

    Stock: Up

Julio Morban

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    No. 11 prospect, OF

    Currently at: Double-A Jackson

    Julio Morban is another guy who hits to all fields and has some speed, making him an attractive future left-handed bat.

    He's hitting .308 for the generals this season and has the potential to develop into a 20-home run hitter at the big league level with five home runs in 198 at-bats so far.

    Look for Morban could get the late-season call-up in 2014.

    Last week's stats: 2-for-18, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R

    Stock: Neutral 

Jack Marder

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    No. 13 prospect, C

    Currently at: Double-A Jackson

    Catching prospect Jack Marder hasn't had an easy time of things this year for the Jackson Generals. His batting average has dipped below the Mendoza Line at .185, which is surprising considering how well he played at lower levels. 

    That being said, he'll probably stay in Double-A for a while before being promoted, and at this point, can only hope to be Mike Zunino's backup if he isn't traded.

    Last week's stats: 0-for-5 (2 games)

    Stock: Down

Joseph DeCarlo

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    No. 14 prospect, 3B

    Currently at: Pulaski Mariners (Rookie League)

    Infielder Joseph DeCarlo is only 19 and still has to come into his own. He has struggled to find his swing through a season-and-a-half of rookie ball.

    Being an infielder, his defense is more valuable than his offense, but with a plethora of talented infielders, it may be a while before we see DeCarlo in the major leagues.

    Last week's stats: 3-for-20, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 6 R

    Stock: Down