Once upon a time, the Mariners had one of the top young farm systems in baseball. Highlighted by Golden Spikes winner Mike Zunino, big hitting shortstop Brad Miller, and a quad of starters in Danny Hultzen, James Paxton, Brandon Maurer and Taijuan Walker. Times have changed though, and those top prospects have now become much different stories. Mike Zunino can’t hit big league pitching, Brad Miller has been dealt to Tampa Bay, Danny Hulten hasn’t cracked the big leagues, James Paxton has struggled to stay healthy, Brandon Maurer is now a Padre and Taijuan Walker is either deadly or horrid. As a matter of fact, the Mariners best young player now is Ketel Marte who wasn’t even a part of that top prospect pool at the time. As a result, the Mariners haven’t been able to improve much and haven’t made the playoffs since 2001.
The prospect pool now isn’t fantastic, but with current players like Kyle Seager, Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and of course Felix Hernandez, it doesn’t have to be stellar. If the Mariners can just start getting some progress from some of their top prospects like D.J. Peterson and Alex Jackson, then they can likely make their way back to the playoffs.
As with all the lists we will be putting out, the rankings are based upon in-person evaluations, video evaluations, extensive readings of other scouting reports, and conversations with scouts.