This is a subjective document. It would sort of have to be, wouldn't it?
I have been following the Mariners minor league teams for a couple of years now, after paying some-but-not-a-ton-of attention for a few years before that. This is the first year where I was actually struck by the number of interesting prospects scattered throughout the various affiliates, and after much procrastinating I decided to put it into writing so everyone can see (and mock) my MiLB Mariner Crushes. There will be positions with many guys and positions with few, guys who are well known and guys who maybe only I find interesting. I'll probably do it over a number of posts (part 2 is here. Part 3 is here). If you don't like it, then make your own list!
Seriously - make your own list, I like to read these things.
Catcher, Or Mike Zunino and the other guys who won't ever play because, hey, Mike Zunino!
So Mike Zunino. He was my Ms draft target long before he was a likely pick at #3 - a Catcher with defensive tools and savvy who was the best hitter in a top NCAA conference. After years of Olivo/Moore/Johnson etc., I wanted a catcher I could believe in (this was pre-Jaso and Montero) and I saw Zunino as the potential backstop-of-the-future. Once they got him I was excited but not as much as before - with Jaso and Montero in the majors and the slew of new catchers from the 2011 draft, I didn't feel the same about the C position being a huge need in the system. But no one can be even a tiny bit disappointed with the Neutron Bomb Of Awesome that has been MZ so far. He may be the Buster Posey type saviour of this franchise. Not to put too much pressure on him. Moving On!
John Hicks, Tyler Marlette, Marcus Littlewood. There are pros to all these guys but, again, the position seems pretty locked up. Littlewood is showing great discipline. Hicks seems to have a solid bat. Marlette is young and his bat is developing. These guys are all worth a little attention.
First Base, Or Man I Wish They Had Signed Kevin Cron
There are some interesting guys here, but no one I have huge hopes for. Rich Poythress is the most interesting to me. His ability to hit for average while walking and not striking out is just so refreshing in a Mariner world filled with free swingers. I still think the power will come. I may be the only one. I'm hoping he starts 2013 as the starting first baseman in Tacoma.
The only other 1B I keep an eye on is Taylor Ard. Good power, decent eye, only 22. Too early to know much but he had a solid year and he's worth keeping in the plans. There are a couple other guys, NAte Tenbrink and Dario Pizzano, who have played some 1B this year and did a nice job with the bat. I just don't get that same "let's check the box score" feeling with them that I get with Poythress and Ard, though.
Next time - some infielders!