Let me start by saying I've been going to baseball-reference.com for a rather long time now. I remember when I used to have to go to the baseball cube to find stats on minor leaguers, but eventually bbr had those too and so now I look there exclusively.
Actually, no, let me back up further. I remember I was a fan of Donruss baseball cards (late 80s, early 90s) because they looked good, smelled good, and were cheap. But often times the Topps baseball cards captured my imagination because if a player was new enough the card showed their minor league stats in addition to whatever major league stats he had accumulated. (Also they would show all the stats of a long timer like Carlton Fisk, no matter how small they had to make the font, vs. just the past five years the way Donruss did.)
Years come, years go. The list of names in the Mariner minor league system also come and go. But many stick around a long time - minor league lifers that spend the majority or perhaps even all of their minor league careers in the Mariner's minor league system, without ever getting called up, like Jim Horner (96-04), or getting called up, like, once: Mike Wilson (02-12). Also, you see former prospects or major leaguers (or indie league guys) who appear to be raking the league but rather than get a Bucky Jacobsen call up, they get a Prentice Redman/Juan Thomas cold shoulder because they are in their late 20s or early 30s and not considered part of the club's future.
When you look at their numbers, you can see why they have been kept around so long. They're too good to let go, but not good enough (at least in somebody's opinion) to get the call. They are literally insurance for if the team jet crashes.
For the past several years I've been looking at M's minor league players - remembering some, forgetting most.
Someone please tell me, What is a Leury Bonilla? That thing has been on these rosters for years and I can't figure out why. Is it some kind of fielding wizard that we have been hiding? A secret weapon who withholds its talents from scouts and stat web sites but perhaps when it has reached full maturity (over 30?) it will take the field and play 3 positions at once.
Keep an eye on this one - hitting .667 for Tacoma right now.