Baseball America came out with the 2009 Seattle Mariners list of their top ten prospects on Dec. 5, 2008.
This is the list of the top ten Mariners prospects:
1) OF Greg Halman
2) OF Michael Saunders
3) CL Phillipe Aumont
4) SS/2B/3B Carlos Triunfel
5) RHP Juan Ramirez
6) C Adam Moore
7) 3B Mario Martinez
8) 3B Jharmidy DeJesus
9) OF Dennis Raben
10) RHP Michael Pineda
Now, from the get go Adam Moore, Michael Saunders, Carlos Triunfel, and Phillipe Aumont were already known by many in the Mariners' system as top prospects and had success already in the minor leagues.
However, Greg Halman, the Mariners No. 1 prospect this season, had never been in the top ten before because he really just came on last season as a new star in the system.
So, how have the top five prospects done this season and will the order be the same?
Greg Halman: .192 BA, 13 HR, 34 RBI, 40 hits, 26 R, 4 SB, 14 BB, and 97 SO
Examination: Halman hits for power, that's it.
He leads the AA West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx in HR.
That's all Halman can do.
He's not even close to a patient hitter, looking at his walks to strike out totals.
Halman still has to work on being an outfielder, which is why I was very surprised to see him as the No. 1.
Now is he in the top ten, yes, but not the Mariners' best prospect.
Michael Saunders: .328 BA, 7 HR, 20 RBI, 43 hits, 41 R, 2 SB, 21 BB, and 22 SO
Examination: Saunders, unlike Halman, is the complete package as far as an outfielder that can field, has good speed, and can hit for power and average.
Now Saunders doesn't have as much pop to his bat as Halman, but Saunders fits what the Mariners want as far as an outfielder.
They want speed.
Saunder's as good speed.
They want someone who can have great defensive skills, and Saunders is a great defensive LF.
They want someone who can hit for average and a little bit of power, and Saunders hits for average along with some power.
The great thing about Saunders, unlike Halman, is that he's a lot more patient at the plate. Saunders has only one more strike out than walk.
The one thing the Mariners have a lot of in their farm system is closers. They have Josh Fields, who they drafted last year and now they have moved Aumont, who was a starter now to the closer role.
This is one thing I don't understand.
The Mariners have at least two closers on the ML roster in David Aardsma and Mark Lowe.
They had Brandon Morrow as a closer, but yesterday they sent him down to class AAA Tacoma to become a starting pitcher for the third time in his career.
So, maybe that's what the Mariners will do. As Aumont gets closer to the majors, I definitely see the Mariners changing him back to an SP for the main reason that they don't have that many dominant starting pitchers in their system.
Aumont has 10 saves, a 1-2 record, a 2.97 ERA, and 32 strikeouts. He reminds me, from a physical perspective, of Justin Verlander or Randy Johnson because he's huge on the mound.
Triunfel, when he plays, is definitely one of the top prospects in the Mariners' system. This season he's only played three games due to a broken leg.
So, he'll slide down the list maybe one or two slots, but nothing too much because he's still a great young player.
Triunfel, when he gets to the majors, is most likely going to be the short stop because, even though some people think he's more fitted at third base, there is another great young third baseman in the M's system and they don't have another top SS.
Juan Ramirez: 4-1, 3.94 ERA, 44 SO, and 29 BB
Examination: Ramirez is one of really only three good young arms left in the Mariners' farm system. He's still going to have to work on bringing down his ERA and having that SO total go up a few digits, but considering that he's still in class A he's got a lot of time to work out a few kinks.
He's not the No. 1 or No. 2 type of pitcher, but he would make a great 3-4-5 pitcher in the majors when he reaches the bigs around 2011-2012.
Now, for the bottom five.
Adam Moore, Mario Martinez, Jharmidy DeJesus, Dennis Raben, and Michael Pineda.
Moore is great and will most likely be on the ML roster come August or September.
The two third basemen will be beaten out by a new top third baseman. Raben and Pineda are doing good, but Pineda is on the DL so that might change a few things for the new MIDSEASON list of the Mariners' top 10 prospects.
So, let's get started with my new list—an updated version from before the season.
This is the midseason top 10 prospects list, looking at who's been better and who will fall.
This also includes the 2009 MLB draft, which means Dustin Ackley will be on here.
1) OF Michael Saunders
Saunders is the closest to any of the Mariners best prospects to make the major league roster next to Moore. Saunders fits the mold of what the Mariners are looking for in an LF.
He's hitting great with a plus-.320 batting average and a low SO total. Saunders could be called up very soon and rightfully so.
2) C Adam Moore
Now, this list isn't going to be who's closest to the majors, it just happens to be that the top two are. Moore is a great defensive catcher, something former top prospect Jeff Clement (DH/C) isn't.
The Mariners currently have Rob Johnson, Jamie Burke, and Guillermo Quiroz as active catchers.
Kenji Johjima is on the DL.
Most likely, come either the end of this season or the beginning of next season, the Mariners will have two active catchers on the ML roster: Jeff Clement and Adam Moore.
3) 2B Dustin Ackley
Yes, Ackley can only be the third prospect in the top ten, considering he hasn't played a minor league game yet. Usually, the recent draft has that team's top pick the No. 1 prospect like David Price for the Rays and Beckham for the Sox, etc.
Ackley was drafted by the Mariners as an OF, but, if you look at the OF in their system like Saunders, they have a lot of OF help not including Halman. Plus with Gutierrez, Balentien, and Chavez already in the OF not to mention Ichiro, they are crowded in the OF.
They won't trade Ichiro to create room; they could trade Halman and prospects for a power hitter, but that's it.
Triunfel will be the SS in 2011, Ackley will be the Mariners' version of Chase Utley at second, and it's to hard to say who they will have at first and third.
4) SP Phillipe Aumont
If the Mariners make Aumont a starter again, that he definitely is the fourth best prospect in the Mariners' system. I think when Aumont gets to AA or AAA, he will become a starter again.
He's more fitted as a starter and has the physical makeup of one.
There is no closer that I could think of that would be a top 10 prospect. Maybe 6-10, but not in the top five.
So, it makes more sense to put Aumont back in the starting role just like they did with Morrow.
5) SS Carlos Triunfel
This is purely based on his overall talent and not what he's done this season, which is nothing due to his broken leg.
Triunfel is the only top SS in the Mariners' system.
6) OF Greg Halman
This is really being nice to Halman.
His HR power is what makes him only fall to six. He's got a lot to work on before he even thinks of making it to the majors.
7) 3B Alex Liddi
The replacement for Martinez (Mario) and DeJesus in the top ten. Liddi is a very undiscovered gem in the Mariners' system.
Liddi's 09 stats in class A are as follows:
.326 BA, 14 HR, 54 RBI, 6 SB, 75 hits, 46 R, 140 TB, 16 BB, and 59 SO
Now yes, Liddi has an above average strike out total, but look at the rest of his stats. A plus 320 batting average, 14 HRs, and 75 hits.
That is something that Beltre can't say, nor can both of Baseball America's two third basemen who were in the 2009 top 10 prospects.
Liddi is the best Mariners third baseman in their entire system and one of their top hitters.
8) SP Juan Ramirez
Ramirez is still one of the Mariners' top ten prospects. He's got a few things to work on, but so does everyone in the top ten because they are all prospects.
As long as Ramirez can keep winning and keep his ERA between 3.00-4.00, then he'll do just fine.
9) SP Michael Pineda
Once Pineda gets off the DL, he'll be able to go back to his usual form, which was top notch.
Just like Ramirez, Pineda has a few things to work on, mainly getting back to form once he gets off the DL, along with a few other things.
Pineda should make a great No. 3 starting pitcher once he makes it to the majors.
10) 1B Mike Carp
Carp was acquired in that major three team, 12 player trade this offseason, and has really shined in class AAA Tacoma.
Carp hits for power, but also has decent plate discipline and could be a candidate for a September call up to add more power to the Mariners' lineup.