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Seattle Mariners Top 20 Prospects

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  1. Felix Hernandez, RHP, A
  2. Jeremy Reed, OF, A-
  3. Shin-Soo Choo, OF, B+
  4. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS, B
  5. Clint Nageotte, RHP, B-
  6. Matt Tuiasosopo, SS, B-
  7. Jorge Campillo, RHP, B-
  8. Chris Snelling, OF, C+
  9. Jamal Strong, OF, C+
  10. Ryan Feierabend, LHP, C+
  11. Wladimir Balentien, OF, C+
  12. Adam Jones, SS, C+
  13. Michael Morse, SS, C+
  14. Cesar Jimenez, LHP, C+
  15. Cha-Seung Baek, RHP, C+ (grade change)
  16. Bobby Livingston, LHP, C+
  17. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, C+
  18. Yung-Chi Chen, 3B, C+
  19. Jesus Guzman, 3B, C+
  20. Rich Dorman, RHP, C+
Hernandez is a no-brainer, but several of these other grades may look stupid a year from now.
I gave Cuban defector Yuniesky Betancourt a Grade B. All we have are scouting reports about him at this point, so I decided to treat him like I would treat a player coming out of college with similar scouting reports. Most scouts think he can be a regular, but I'd like some objective performance to look at before ranking him among the elite.
Mexican righthander Jorge Campillo is a 26-year-old control pitcher with an average fastball but a good assortment of secondary pitches. He has pitched well under difficult conditions in Mexico, but at this point it is hard to know exactly how his talent will play out in the Majors. We should know more once we see how spring training goes. If he doesn't make the rotation, he should head to Triple-A and wait for a spot to open up.
Chris Snelling has Grade B talent if he can stay healthy...obviously a huge if.
There are a lot of C+ guys in this system. I moved Cha-Seung Baek to Grade C+ from Grade C, deciding that the book grade was a notch too low. He replaces Travis Blackley, Grade C+ in the book, who will miss all of 2005 due to a torn labrum.
Most of the Grade C+ grades have a large uncertainty factor. Balentien has enormous power, but weak plate discipline. Jones, Cabrera, Chen, and Guzman are all promising athletes, but young and relatively unrefined offensively. Jimenez and Livingston are strike-throwing lefties who have to prove themselves in Double-A.
If these guys develop as the Mariners hope, the system will look very deep a year from now.
As usual, feel free to comment and tell me where I'm wrong.