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Carlos Triunfel: Post-Hype Prospect

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Carlos Triunfel
Carlos Triunfel

The Seattle Mariners have intriguing up-the-middle infield depth, with Nick Franklin, Brad Miller, and Stefen Romero all ranking highly as prospects.

A couple of years ago, the big hype was centered around $1,300,000 bonus baby Carlos Triunfel. He's still on the 40-man roster and is still young at age 22 (23 later this month), but his star as a prospect has dimmed. Here is my current take from the 2013 Baseball Prospect Book, along with an additional comment.

Carlos Triunfel, SS, Seattle Mariners
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-0 WT: 200 DOB: February 27, 1990
2008: Grade B+; 2009: Grade B+; 2010: Grade B-; 2011: Grade C; 2012: Grade C+

Carlos Triunfel still flashes the tools that made him a superhyped prospect a few years back. He's still young, just 23 in February. Nevertheless, it is obvious now that he won't be a star and probably not even a regular. He's got some pop, but his plate discipline remains poor and impatience remains a handicap for him. Interestingly, his defense has turned out better than expected. He's not terrible at shortstop, has a cannon arm that would work well at third base, and looked very good when he saw some playing time at second base for Tacoma. His future is as a utility man with a little power. He's the Dominican Tim Beckham. Grade C.

ADDITIONAL COMMENT: Triunfel has worked hard on his defense at shortstop, focusing on mobility and positioning in particular, with reasonable results. He's been somewhat error-prone during trials at second base, though visually he looks good and I think his error rate would go down with experience. I mentioned his arm being strong enough for third base, though I should point out he hasn't actually played third base. I think the tools would fit there, but he'd need some time to iron things out.

Triunfel fits in with a couple of themes that I've mentioned lately. Like Reid Brignac, his glove has improved at the same time his hitting has remained stagnant. Like Delmon Young, one of Triunfel's biggest attractions as a prospect is/was age-relative-to-league. But like Brignac and Young (and Tim Beckham), it takes more than youth for a player to turn his tools into skills.