Seattle Mariners Top 20 Prospects: 15-11

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Seattle Mariners Top 20 Prospects: 15-11
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In the second installment of the Mariners top 20 prospects we see two guys drafted in 2010 who have taken very different paths to the majors. This article is out much later than intended, but the passing of Dave Niehaus deservedly shook up the list of priorities for Seattle writers. However, here it is; enjoy.

 

15. Jabari Blash, OF, R/R, 20 years old

2010 Minor League Stats: .266/.362/.477, 5 HR, 6 2B

A lot of Mariners fans are excited about Blash. At 6'5" and around 200 lbs, and already hitting the ball hard, Blash figures to be a guy who can develop into a power hitter, even if his performance in college doesn’t back it up. Drafted in 2010, Blash had a very impressive debut in Rookie ball.

Blash is considered very athletic, and though he’s considered a raw prospect, he’s pretty refined considering he just started playing baseball in high school. Blash’s five home runs and 12 total extra base hits in 32 games seem to show that his transition from metal to wood bats will be successful. Blash will have to make sure he doesn’t get too big in his frame, because while his defense is considered to be above average now, losing a few steps after a presumed weight gain would be detrimental to his prospect status. With a strong arm, above average defense, and a bat that could rate as very good, Blash is an interesting piece to the Mariners future.

2011 Estimated Level: A

MLB ETA: 2014

 

14. Johermyn Chavez, OF, R/R,  21 years old

2010 Minor League Stats: .315/.387/.577, 32 HR, 30 2B

Along with Brandon League, Chavez was traded to the Mariners in exchange for Brandon Morrow. Billed at the time as an essential equivalent Greg Halman, a huge year in Adelanto, California with the High Desert Mavericks, the Mariners Advanced A ball affiliate, has changed that to an extent.

High Desert players frequently post much higher extra-base hit rates because of the thin air and heat combination in Adelanto, but many good Mariners players have come through the affiliate. Either way, Chavez’s stock, even in a potential trade, is undoubtedly up, but Jack Zduriencik hasn’t appeared to make a lot of moves strictly with eyes on trading a player later. However, Chavez struck out less often and walked more often this year to go along with his power, which is a promising, perhaps sustainable sign.

2011 Estimated Level: AA

MLB ETA: 2013

 

13. Rich Poythress, 1B/DH, R/R, 22 years old

2010 Minor League Stats: .315/.381/.580, 31 HR, 33 2B

Just like Chavez, Poythress benefitted greatly from the environment at Advanced A ball High Desert. There was no doubting Poythress’ power potential but he had a long swing, and like Blash, there were questions about his transition from metal to wood bats.

With Justin Smoak in place at first base, Poythress stock is ultimately much more volatile than some other Mariners prospects, because he has no defensive position at the big league level (or Smoak doesn’t, but at this point it appears that Smoak will be a better defensive first baseman). So while Poythress is an impressive prospect from an offensive perspective, he must be the best position-blocked hitting prospect in the Mariners system to get the DH job in the bigs. If his bat doesn’t play, and play well, his peak is likely the smaller part of a righty-lefty platoon at either DH or first base.

Estimated 2011 Level: AA

MLB ETA: 2012

 

12. Carlos Triunfel, SS/2b/3b, R/R, 20 years old

2010 Minor League Stats: .256/.286/.332, 7 HR, 12 2B, 2 SB, 8 CS

Triunfel is a guy whose 2011 is vitally important to his prospect status. After a 2008 that saw him post a minus-20 RAR rating according to Total Zone, Triunfel broke his leg early in the 2009 season and missed the vast majority of the year.

He came back in 2010, and while the Total Zone numbers aren’t out for 2010 yet, and errors are an incomplete metric by which to judge defense, Triunfel’s 31 errors at shortstop at West Tennessee are hardly encouraging. While it is hard to give up on a player at age 21 (which he’ll be next season), Triunfel has shown no signs of progress, and with his speed robbed by his 2009 injury, the chances of him remaining at shortstop are minimal, and his bat may not play elsewhere.

Estimated 2011 Level: AA

MLB ETA: 2014

 

11. James Paxton, LHP, 21 years old

2010 Minor League Stats: (Independent) 17 IP, 9.17 K/9, 3.57 BB/9

This is admittedly an aggressive rating for Paxton. First of all, he isn’t even signed with the team yet after being drafted in the 2010 draft. Also, Paxton missed his senior year in college after being drafted in last year’s draft, and using Scott Boras in his failed negotiations with the Toronto Blue Jays. He was ruled ineligible by the NCAA, and ended up playing his 2010 season with the Independent League Grand Prairie Airhogs.

If we buy into the idea that Paxton can return to his mid-90s velocity from college—as he worked in the high-80s and low-90s this year—the rest of his issues as a pitcher should be aided by Safeco Field. Paxton gave up 11 home runs in his junior year, which should be partially aided by the transition from metal to wood bats used by his opponents, and also by the same logic that has led to relative success for Jarrod Washburn and Jason Vargas.

I think that Paxton will remain a starter, and that his command issues have been overblown by his struggles against metal bats. He only gave up one home run in the independent league. Also, he figures to be a guy who—with two good pitches—can make a quick ascent to the major leagues provided that he signs early enough.

Estimated 2011 Level: AA

MLB ETA: 2012

 

 

Prospects: 20-16

To see 20 guys that didn’t make the cut, click here.

For Fixing the 2011 Seattle Mariners profiles, check out the following:

Ted LillyRamon HernandezMichael SaundersColby RasmusAdam DunnChone FigginsDustin AckleyFelipe LopezWilly Aybar, Jack/Josh WilsonYu Darvish

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