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Seattle Mariners 2011 Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

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Seattle Mariners 2011 Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

I am reviewing my PRE-SEASON list of Top 20 prospects for 2011 for each organization, continuing today with the Seattle Mariners. This list was originally published January 4, 2011. We will look at the Florida Marlins on Saturday, the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday, the New York Mets on Monday, the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday, the Houston Astros on Wednesday, the Chicago White Sox on Thursday, the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, and the Cleveland Indians to finish things off next Saturday.

This is a review of the 2011 Pre-Season Top 20 list. IT IS NOT A NEW LIST.

The 2012 list and new grades won't be ready until the season is over and I start writing the book.

1) Michael Pineda, RHP, Grade A:   3.53 ERA, 133/43 K/BB in 130 innings for the Mariners, 97 hits. An outstanding rookie campaign.

2) Dustin Ackley, 2B, Grade A-:  Hit .303/.431/.487 in 271 Triple-A at-bats. So far, .293/.360/.516 with 17 walks, 23 strikeouts in 157 major league at-bats. As with Pineda, he's been everything the Mariners could have hoped for.

3) Nick Franklin, SS, Grade B: .275/.356/.411 with 31 walks, 56 strikeouts, 13 steals in 14 attempts for High-A High Desert. 9-for-15 in Double-A until sidelined by jaw injury and food poisoning. Although I thought he would hit better at High Desert, at age 20 he still has plenty of time to develop on both offense and defense.

4) Taijuan Walker, RHP, Grade B-:  3.04 ERA with 110/38 K/BB in 92 innings for Low-A Clinton, 65 hits, 1.48 GO/AO. Excellent stuff, more polish than expected, among the elite pitching prospects in the game now. Superb K/IP, H/IP and grounder combination.

5) Mauricio Robles, LHP, Grade B-:  8.91 ERA with 23/33 K/BB in 32 innings between High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A. Season crippled by elbow problems and command collapse.

6) Alex Liddi, 3B, Grade B-: Hitting .263/.335/.506 with 25 homers, 50 walks, 141 strikeouts for Tacoma. Defense has improved, power looks good, but strikeout rate is too high for comfort.

7) Guillermo Pimentel, OF, Grade C+: Hitting .275/.321/.450 with eight homers, 11 walks, 52 strikeouts in 171 at-bats for Pulaski in the rookie-level Appalachian League. Walk rate has doubled compared to last year, still strikes out a lot, lots of power, young at age 18.

8) Johermyn Chavez, OF, Grade C+: Hitting .216/.304/.363 with 12 homers, 37 walks, 106 strikeouts in 375 at-bats for Double-A Jackson. It looks like 2010 was a High Desert illusion but he is still young enough at 22 to figure things out.

9) Kyle Seager, 3B-2B, Grade C+:  .312/.381/.459 with 26 walks, 38 strikeouts in 266 at-bats for Jackson, .387/.444/.585 with 11 walks, 12 strikeouts in 106 at-bats for Tacoma, went 5-for-34 (.147) in 11 major league games. Pure hitting skills will get him more chances.

10) James Jones, OF, Grade C+: Played better after a slow start, up to .247/.347/.378 with 42 walks, 92 strikeouts, 16 steals in 296 at-bats for High Desert. Went on disabled list July 23rd, unfortunate given he was on a hot streak (.359/.446/.538 in July).

11) Dan Cortes, RHP, Grade C+:  5.35 ERA with 45/27 K/BB in 37 innings for Tacoma, 43 hits. Has walked three in three major league innings, with four hits and two runs. Has always had the stuff, command is the issue.

12) Marcus Littlewood, SS, Grade C+: Hit just .158/.236/.211 in 27 games for Low-A Clinton. .227/.333/.374 in 163 at-bats for short-season Everett, 25 walks, 54 strikeouts. Error-prone on defense. So far, not living up to expectations, but it is early at age 19.

13) Ramon Morla, 3B, Grade C+: .312/.375/.473 in 93 at-bats for Everett, .170/.196/.255 in 106 at-bats for Clinton with four walks and 28 strikeouts. Good range at third base but error-prone. At age 21, he has less slack than Littlewood.

14) Nate Tenbrink, 3B-OF, Grade C+: .218/.337/.403 with 34 walks, 60 strikeouts, 11 steals in 211 at-bats for Jackson. On DL since late June.

15) Ji-Man Choi, C-1B, Grade C+: Has been out all season with back and shoulder problems.

16) Blake Beavan, RHP, Grade C+:  4.45 ERA with 64/20 K/BB in 93 innings for Tacoma, 2.83 ERA with 17/6 K/BB in 41 innings for the Mariners, 39 hits. He's efficient but hittable, must have a good defense and a friendly park behind him.

17) Vince Catricala, 3B-1B, Grade C+:  .351/.421/.574 with 33 walks, 45 strikeouts in 282 at-bats for High Desert, .354/.412/.592 in 147 at-bats for Jackson, 13 walks, 28 strikeouts. Has also stolen 13 bases. Not great at third base, but the bat looks real,

18) Esteilon Peguero, SS, Grade C+: Hitting .282/.309/.394 in the Arizona Rookie League, four walks, 19 strikeouts, 17 steals in 142 at-bats. Error prone on defense, but that's hardly critical at age 17. Needs to improve plate discipline.

19) Stephen Pryor, RHP, Grade C+:  7.67 ERA with 34/26 K/BB in 27 innings for High Desert. He was promoted to Jackson anyway and has been excellent there, 1.29 ERA with 20/5 K/BB in 14 innings, four hits. Very interesting that he struggled so badly in the Cal League but has been terrific in Double-A.

20) Josh Lueke, RHP, Grade C+: Effective in Triple-A, 2.76 ERA with 35/12 K/BB in 42 innings, 11 saves. Horrible in the majors, 18 hits and 15 runs allowed in 13 innings, with 15/8 K/BB. Arm strength remains intriguing.

Pineda and Ackley are the headliners of course, and Walker has developed rapidly into one of the top pitching prospects in the game. The rest of the list is mixed, but when you successfully graduate two impact players to the majors in one year, and both adjust well, it's a good year.