Minor League Free Agents

This is always a fun list to look through every year as you get a glimpse of all the busted promise. It isn't fun, of course, in that these are all people, as we discussed yesterday, and they're all just trying to make a career for themselves, but it's fun for us because some of the names take us back. Names you thought you'd forgotten.

There's Joe Thurston. Thurston is 31 now, but when he was 22, he batted .334 in AAA Las Vegas, putting himself on prospect maps. Baseball Prospectus called him out as an empty hitter then, and he's done little since. His career minor league average is .293. His career Major League average is .225.

There's Dennis Sarfate, who, a few years ago, could throw 100 miles per hour with wicked movement, until he stopped.

There's Chris George, a finesse lefty who tricked Baseball America into ranking him the 25th-best prospect in baseball going into 2001. What we know how is that you should pretty much never rank a finesse lefty that high, and George has struggled against even AAA competition.

There's Carlos Delgado, who doesn't seem to belong here.

There's Bryan LaHair, who just a few years ago dazzled fans in Tacoma with his blend of Mike Carp's power, Matt Tuiasosopo's batting eye, and Chris Shelton's speed.

There's Jeremy Reed, who wound up back with the White Sox. There's Wladimir Balentien, who's still just 25. There's Andy Marte, and Jason Isringhausen, and Nick Bierbrodt, and some guy named Al Alburquerque, and that just takes us through the Colorado Rockies. There's plenty more on the list - more I won't even bother going into, just because I could go on forever.

Read it through when you find the time and prepare to be swept away by memories you didn't think you remembered. And also, note that the Mariners have 26 minor league free agents of their own, including Yusmeiro Petit and David Winfree. Look those over extra closely, just to make sure there's no one you'll miss.

It's crazy to think that almost every single player on this list was once the star of his high school.

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