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2022 Mid-Season Prospect Rankings Update

2022 Mid-Season Prospect Rankings Update

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With several premium talents having graduated over the past 15 months, the Seattle Mariners’ farm system is looking a lot different.

Here is my update on the system that has produced Kyle Lewis, Julio Rodriguez, Cal Raleigh, George Kirby, and Logan Gilbert over the past three-plus years.

All stats are for 2022, and through June 30, 2022. All listed positions are projected positions as big leaguers. Comps are higher-end projections to the prime of the MLB comp, depending on how far along the prospect is in his development. 

1. Edwin Arroyo, SS

Scoop: Arroyo exploded on the scene right out of the gate this spring, showing consistent bat-to-ball skills, and added power to the equation late in April. He’s a stronger from the left side, but has produced plenty as a right-handed hitter, suggesting a legitimate chance he remains a switch hitter for the long haul. He’s displayed above-average lateral range as well as the the hands footwork to stick at shortstop. He won’t turn 19 until August 26 and is already starting to show some impact traits with hit, power, and glove tools that grade above-average, particularly for a middle-of-the-field defender.
Best Tool: Hit
ETA: 2025
Comp: Francisco Lindor

2. Noelvi Marte, 3B

Scoop: Marte, who has gone from speedster with quick twitch head to toe to power prospect as he has filled out physically, has not performed at the plate nearly as much as he did a year ago when he batted .273/.366/.459 with 17 homers as a 19-year-old in the Cal League. He’s expanding his zone a bit, and lifting the ball a lot this season, leading to increased strikeout and fly ball rates. He still possesses the plus to plus-plus raw power and is actually swinging and missing less than he did a year ago. The question here is the hit, not the power, or even the defense, despite there being no chance in my mind he stays at shortstop long-term.
Best Tool: Power
ETA: 2024
Comp: Aramis Ramirez

3. Harry Ford, C

Scoop: After a slow start to 2022 (.209/.344/.291 in April/May), but flipped the switch in June and has done little else but hit with power for the last three-plus weeks (12 of 19 hits are for extra bases) to go with a .307/.438/.661 slash. Defensively he’s a work-in-progress in terms of receiving — which is more than typical with young backstops — but has showcased his athleticism and plus arm when the situation allows. Right now, there’s no reason to believe he won’t stick, but his bat could lap his glove and force the club’s hand.
Best Tool: Power
ETA: 2025
Comp: Russell Martin

4. Emerson Hancock, RHS

Scoop: Unfortunately there isn’t a whole lot to discuss here; Hancock managed just 44.2 innings a year ago after seeing his final year at Georgia cut to just four outings (24 IP) and not being able to pitch as a pro after being the club’s first-round pick in 2020. The shoulder issue may very well have been rather minor, but the club takes its player’s career seriously. As a result, the time out carried over into 2022. Hancock has made eight starts covering 29.2 innings in Double-A Arkansas, showing 92-96 mph velocity, above-average command of the fastball, and two 45-50 secondaries, led by a changeup with some swing-and-miss in it. The slider is key for Hancock, but right now it’s fringe-average and inconsistent. He has a curveball but he’s either not using it at all or merely on occasion. But I’m not down on Hancock much outside the lost development time. He’s 23 and just getting in work that normally would have occurred in 2020 and 2021. But there will come a time when the stuff and future role will be front-and-center — probably this time next season.
Best Tool: Changeup
ETA: 2024
Comp: Jason Schmidt

5. Gabriel Gonzalez, LF

Scoop: Gonzalez is just getting his professional career started, but his production has been impressive early, and scouts and development staffers have a lot of good things to say about the swing and game plan, and how well the two match up. After rolling out a .287/.371/.521 slash in 54 games int he DSL last summer, the 18-year-old is torching the ACL in 17 games (he’s reached base in all but two starts) including five multi-hit efforts and seven extra-base hits. There’s no loud tool here — there are a lot of 50s across the board, but the hit tool has a chance to be plus.
Best Tool: Hit
ETA: 2026
Comp: Shane Mack

6. Levi Stoudt, RHS

Scoop: Stoudt, 24, has gone from a right-hander with an above-average fastball and potentially plus hard changeup and average slider to, well, all of that without the changeup part. At no point in 2022 has Stoudt even flashed a big-time changeup, and instead is mainly a two-pitch starter without a plus offering. He’s up to 96 mph with shape, but he’s not overpowering, and the slider is fringe-average in most outings, flashing average. Double-A hitters can hit him, and they’re doing just that. I still see a potential starter here, but I’m convinced it’s a No. 4 ceiling, thus my lean toward a bullpen role for Stoudt, barring a return of the changeup that right now is merely a legend, not a weapon. There’s no projectable put-away pitch right now, but it’s a good arm and generally above-average control, but he needs that changeup and something tells me it’s still in there somewhere, hence the steady ranking.
Best Tool: Control/Changeup
ETA: 2023 (reliever)
Comp: J.J. Putz

7. Bryce Miller, RHS

Scoop: Miller is a blend of arm speed, athleticism, and stuff, and when he commands it he’s awfully tough and might be the club’s best rotation prospect. He’s battling some consistency issues right now, but has generally thrown strikes at an acceptable rate. The fastball is up to 97 mph and consistently 92-96 with a fairly consistent slider in the range of average, with some projection toward plus in the offing. Miller’s changeup has been key for him; when he has it, he’s dirty, and can mow down any High-A lineup and miss bats regularly, leading to a 14% swinging strike rate in 13 games in 2022. He also has a curveball with some promise. There’s still reliever risk here, but he’s taken a big step in the right direction since he was the club’s fourth-round pick last summer, and now profiles as a potential No. 3 or a high-leverage reliever with three pitches.
Best Tool: Fastball
ETA: 2024
Comp: Luke Weaver

8. Matt Brash, RHR

Scoop: While I wouldn’t entirely give up on the idea of Brash being a legit starter, the Mariners have abandoned that idea, at least for the intermediate, as he’s being used as a one-inning bullpen arm in the minors right now. The raw stuff is still very good; up to 99 mph with a four-seamer to go with a varied breaking ball at 81-86 mph, both of which can miss bats. Repeating his delivery and release point is the obstacle here, but Brash is athletic and appears to be starting a process of eliminating the outings when he unravels. There’s still some inconsistencies there, but there’s no denying the stuff and it’s potential impact — in any role — he just has to throw enough strikes with it. Brash’s changeup, by the way, isn’t a lost cause by any stretch, but right now it’s all about the fastball-slider (which in the low-80s is more of a curveball in shape and velo). Right now he’s more Daniel Bard, but projects as a potential 2022 version of Matt Bush, all the way up to Trevor Rosenthal.
Best Tool: Slider
ETA: 2022
Comp: Trevor Rosenthal

9. Lazaro Montes, OF

Scoop: It’s a bit of a power-over-hit swing and game plan right now, but Montes, 17, remains an advanced bat with a chance to be an everyday corner bat. He’s an underrated athlete, but there’s legit concern he’ll ultimately land at first base, which means the pressure to hit is immense. His career is just three weeks old but the swing-and-miss is a bit alarming, though it’s somewhat overshadowed by his ability to find the barrel and hit line drives and deep fly balls at such a young age.
Best Tool: Power
ETA: 2027
Comp: Fred McGriff

10. Michael Arroyo, 3B

Scoop: Arroyo may end up the steal of the international class thanks to a compact, line-drive swing that projects to produce at least average power numbers. Early on, he’s making plenty of hard contact and half his hits are for extra bases. He’s a natural shortstop but already is being considered more of a prospect at second or third, and may end up a tweener, where the bat plays better at second due to lack of prototypical power, but the glove fits much better at third.
Best Tool: Hit
ETA: 2027
Comp: Edgardo Alfonzo

11. Juan Pinto, LHS

Scoop: I’m high-man on Pinto for two reasons. First, he’s a beast physically, now up to 6-foot-3 or 6-foot-4 and easily over 200 pounds, and more velocity has come with his physical maturation. Second, not a lot of 17-year-old arms, let alone a southpaw, can spin a curveball, with command, the way Pinto can right now. At present, there are limits on his control and command driven by inconsistent mechanics, and there’s no clear projectable third pitch, but he’s essentially a high school junior sitting low-90s with a future plus breaker that’s striking out 28% of the batters he’s facing in the DSL. Light me on fire, but I’ll take the risk attached to this kind of profile every day of the week over a reliever-only arm or a bat with similar questions, especially considering this organization’s apparent developmental strengths.
Best Tool: Curveball
ETA: 2027
Comp: Al Leiter

12. Jonatan Clase, CF

Scoop: Clase’s name was brought up by several scouts and dev staffers when I asked about Arroyo and Ford. He’s 20 and performing in all facets, adding consistency in all phases, and improvement at the plate in terms of making contact, showing more pop. The moron here will cry about strikeout rates, but isn’t smart enough to notice his K rate is 28% as a lefty with a slow, steady decline, a rate that only exceeds 30% because he’s near 40% whiff as a right-handed batter. Clase may not end up a switch hitter (.226/.250/.307 as RHB, .279/.380/.461 as LHB), but there is a lot of loud contact from a near 6-foot-, 195-pound frame, and the trends are all in the right direction (.325/.402/.571 in June). He’s still cleaning up some things defensively in center, but remains a projectable defender there with at least average arm strength, and while he’s not quite the burner he was a few years ago, it’s easy 65 speed that should make him a stolen-base threat. He’s going to need ample time at the plate and there’s extra outfielder risk here, but this isn’t a one-trick pony or a punchless bat seeking lightning in a bottle.
Best Tool: Run
ETA: 2024
Comp: Brian McRae

13. Michael Morales, RHS

Scoop: Morales is mostly projection right now. He’s 88-91 mph with the fastball, and projects for above-average control and command, but has had extended bouts of problems in both areas. He has three secondaries that look like future big-league offerings, led by two distinct breaking balls and consistent arm speed. Physically, from a traditional standpoint, there isn’t a lot of projection left, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Morales come back in Year 2 next spring gunning 91-95 with consistency. Despite the 40-45 command, Morales has missed bats as a 19-year-old in the Cal League (that’s nearly three years younger than the average player and two-plus years younger than the average hitter). There’s some deception in the arm action and I think when he uses his lower half more effectively, the velo will arrive, and the snap on his curveball will become more apparent.
Best Tool: Curveball
ETA: 2025
Comp: Jeremy Hellickson

14. Taylor Dollard, RHS

Scoop: Dollard is getting consistent outs in Double-A Arkansas with an average fastball into the 93-95 mph but more consistently 91-92, thanks to command and three useful offspeed pitches. The slider is his best pitch, sitting average to above-average most times out, and perhaps plus in time, and his curveball and changeup scrape average, despite being used relatively sparingly. Dollard is more likely a back-end starter than anything else — his strike-throwing ability comes easy — but he may get to the majors quicker as a middle reliever. I’d hate to waste his floor, probability, and timeline on a relief role, however.
Best Tool: Command
ETA: 2023
Comp: Jake Odorizzi

15. Adam Macko, LHS

Scoop: Macko is a bit undersized and has a history of struggling with control, drawing a lot of comparisons to Scott Kazmir and Matt Moore, and he’s now been out for five-plus weeks with a non-pitching arm issue. But when he’s right, Macko is up to 97 mph in games, holding 91-93 into the fifth and sixth, though there’s no lengthy consistency with the velocity, and won’t be 22 until December 30. He’s a good athlete with some mechanical wrinkles to iron out, but the curveball and slider both project to big-league levels. He’s a bit of a scratch ticket, and certainly a reliever risk, but the upside here is at leas a No. 4 that has some years he flirts with No.2/3 status.
Best Tool: Curveball
ETA: 2024
Comp: Gio Gonzalez

16. Bryan Woo, RHR

Scoop: Woo is a reliever-only prospect, but one that should move quickly now that he’s healthy off UCL surgery. A lot of this ranking is projecting a fringy slider, but Woo has answered a few questions already: He’s pounding the strike zone big-time early off the IL and is going multiple innings with sustained control and velo, living 93-97 mph. At full strength, Woo may end up 95-100 mph with an average slider, lending some Andrés Muñoz-level vibes, and on the short side of a timeline.
Best Tool: Fastball
ETA: 2023
Comp: Joe Kelly

17. Prelander Berroa, RHR

Scoop: I have Berroa sliding into the bullpen by the time he’s ready for the bigs, but he’s looked good in some of his starts since the trade with the Giants, striking out 38% of the batters he’s faced. Still, he’s inconsistent out front and falls behind in counts, leading to 4-5 innings outings. But the fastball is heavy and up to 98 mph and his slider and changeup tease average, tough the changeup is seldom-used.
Best Tool: Fastball
ETA: 2023 (reliever)
Comp: Diego Castillo

18. Isaiah Campbell, RHR

Scoop: Campbell has had two major interruptions to his pro career in the form of injury, and a third due to the canceled 2020 season. After another IL stint April 27-June 3, Campbell has worked exclusively in one-inning relief stints, and has been terrific, touching 97 mph with plane, and improved control (1 walk, 26 BF). He’s missing bats (11 Ks) and limiting hard contact (2 hits, both singles), and considering the right-hander is 25 in August it may be time to fast-track him by way of role. He has two breaking balls of which the slider is more advanced, but the curveball should at least be an early-count and opposite-handed option for him moving forward. He’s thrown a splitter with promise, a pitch that may resurface in a bullpen role.
Best Tool: Fastball
ETA: 2024
Comp: Luis Garcia

19. Stephen Kolek, RHR

Scoop: Kolek is starting right now and isn’t pulling it off, in my opinion — yet. He has solid stuff, at least enough to project as a bullpen piece, and I wouldn’t completely rule him out of the larger role. As a starter, he’s firmly 93-96 mph  with some ride to his arm side, and when in rhythm his delivery is optimal and produces deception. He pairs the heat with an above-average slider and 40-grade changeup, and does it from a three-quarter slot on a prototypical frame. If he’s to hang onto his shot to start, the changeup has to get better and his general ability to throw strikes must improve — and pretty soon, since he’s already 25. But this is a big-league arm with two major-league quality pitches just waiting for a chance to produce consistent outs.
Best Tool: Fastball
ETA: 2023 (reliever)
Comp: Ken Giles

20. Alberto Rodriguez, RF

Scoop: Despite a downturn in production, there’s still a lot to like about Rodriguez at the plate. He hits the ball hard enough (still) and hasn’t come out of his mechanics despite less-than-ideal results. The swing remains short and relatively direct to the path of the baseball; this season it’s more line drives and fly balls, and he’s not getting to his pull side as effectively, which partially explains the lack of power versus a year ago. He’s a fringe-average glove with 40-grade speed, so Rodriguez has to hit to threaten the majors, but he’s just 21 years of age and has above-average bat speed. He has been trending better in terms of getting on base and hard contact, but the strikeout rate is too high (25%) for what may be a medium-power bat (16-20 HR). You’re hoping for Troy O’Leary here, but the most likely outcome is somewhere south of that, despite the off chance a Bobby Higginson-level bat is the result.
Best Tool: Hit
ETA: 2025
Comp: Jody Gerut

21. Starlin Aguilar, 1B

Scoop: The left-handed hitter has a quick, powerful swing that helps him get to velocity and produce hard contact. As a result, he’s cut down his strikeouts a bit this season in the ACL, and his line-drive rate is up. He projects to hit for power, but we’re not seeing that yet, and his bat speed and plate coverage suggest an ability to hit for average, but he’s been uber aggressive so far in the ACL (a year ago he walked 29 times in 220 PAs and posted a .359 OBP in the DSL). Aguilar’s biggest questions are centered on how much power he can produce, because he may not stick at third base and isn’t a good athlete, so he’s unlikely to successfully switch to the outfield, meaning first base and DH time of high probability. But he’s just 18 and finding barrels while he finds a better swing plane to create leverage and loft so his 100 mph contact produces doubles and homers and not singles or scorched ground ball outs. Getting to his pull side a bit more frequently should help.
Best Tool: Hit
ETA: 2027
Comp: Adam Lind

22. Travis Kuhn, RHR

Scoop: Kuhn is a reliever-only righty up to 99 mph with an average to above-average slider and some deception in his delivery. The data on his stuff, especially the fastball, suggest he’ll miss bats with it. He works the top of the strike zone well and will pitch inside, then get righties to chase the slider away or stay on and at their hands with the heat. He has trouble throwing strikes consistently or he might already be in the big leagues with a near-30% K rate and the barrel repulsion powers of his four-seamer.
Best Tool: Fastball
ETA: 2023
Comp: Brad Boxberger

23. Juan Mercedes, RHR

Scoop: Mercedes, who works exclusively from the stretch, has the size to start, but may not have the arsenal. He’s comfortable throwing a lot of sliders and can put the pitch in the zone anytime he wants, and it’s an average pitch with some upside when he uses it as a chase pitch. His fastball sits 91-94 mph with some fade and sink and he matches it with a good straight change he sells with consistent arm speed. He’s best at the top of the zone, staying on the edges with the slider and using the change versus lefties, but I’m not sure the fastball projects well in that manner, leading me to think Mercedes may be best utilized in relief where the fastball may tick up to help him miss more bats and take some pressure off the slider.
Best Tool: Slider
ETA: 2024
Comp: Edgar Santana

24. Joseph Hernandez, RHR

Scoop: Hernandez, 22, has burst onto the scene this season, missing bats with a three-pitch arsenal. The right-hander throws from a lower-than-typical slot, creating deception and angles which right-handed batters have yet to handle (.170 BAA). The fastball is low-90s — up to 95 — with late movement( and sink when thrown down in the zone), and he’ll tunnel a plus, low-80s slider with tons of break. Hernandez also had a dead-fish changeup he’ll use versus lefties. He’s probably a reliever based on his current stuff, command, and developmental pace — his size doesn’t bother me much at all. But he’s athletic with that 60-grade slider and a feel for a third offering, is missing bats 2-3 times through the order, suggesting a multi-inning relief role similar to that of Penn Murfee.
Best Tool: Slider
ETA: 2024 (reliever)
Comp: Danny Salazar

25. Robert Perez Jr., 1B

Scoop: On one hand I’m relatively unimpressed by Perez’s 2022 season, considering he’s 22, repeating the level, and the apparent exchange of hit-for-power we’re seeing right now, but it’s impossible to ignore all the same. It’s also worth noting he just turned 22 in June and has been more selective and patient at the plate, despite the drop in batting average from last season. He’s a first-base only glove, despite some time in the outfield and even the 70-ish innings he’s manned the hot corner, so the additional home run power is welcomed. Still, he whiffs too often, chasing off the plate and above his hands. This is about the ceiling for Perez in my rankings, at least until he performs in High-A to suggest there’s a believable path to the majors for him.
Best Tool: Power
ETA: 2025
Comp: Gaby Sanchez

By Position

SP: 7
RP: 7
CO: 4
MI: 1

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Jason A. Churchill

Churchill founded Prospect Insider in 2006 and spent several years covering prep, college and pro sports for various newspapers, including The News Tribune and Seattle PI. Jason spent 4 1/2 years at ESPN and two years at CBS Radio. He now serves as the Executive Copy Editor at Data Skrive, a tech company that manipulates data to provide automated content to clients including the AP, BetMGM, USA Today, and ESPN.
Find Jason’s baseball podcast, Baseball Things, right here.

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