Some of you may have noticed that we linked to the top 150 prospect list from John Sickels, proprietor of Minor League Ball and general prospect guru badass. He's always willing to be a bit more risky than everyone else, and his releases come out at different times than the rest, which is always fun, allowing for more accurate rankings based on things that have changed. It also allows him to see Masahiro Tanaka destroy the majors in the first month and plant him right at #1, much to Bryan Buxton's chagrin.
But on the list are four Mariners, two that are not yet graduated, but both hurt.
Neck and neck! While Walker and Paxton are currently hanging out on the disabled list, it's a tale of two directions - Walker's stock fading a bit as the red flags start to pile up with his shoulder, and James Paxton standing right next to him thanks to his domination of major league hitters to date, but Sickels has always been very high on Paxton, ranking him #29 in 2012. This will probably be the last time either one of them show up on a prospect list, and they're right next to each other. Walker, of course, is four years younger than Paxton.
D.J. Peterson's ranking doesn't come as much of a surprise, and if he
continues starts to hit (and play third base) he'll only rise up this list. Unfortunately, Peterson hasn't done particularly well in High Desert so far, carrying only a .269/.313/.410 line with five walks and 16 strikeouts. It isn't the offensive profile the Mariners are looking for from Peterson, especially in terms of plate discipline. Peterson will have to ramp it up, because if he doesn't dominate High Desert by the end of the year, his overall development will at least be somewhat in question. Everybody dominates High Desert. Still, it's early.
The wild card here is Edwin Diaz, as opposed to Tyler Pike and Victor Sanchez, the latter of which is hurt. Diaz ranked 5th on Sickels' top 20 Mariners prospects article just a few weeks ago, but recent developments have leapfrogged him. Sanchez hasn't pitched since April 13th.
Diaz, on the other hand, earned the following profile in April 14th from Sickels.
5) Edwin Diaz, RHP, Grade B: More of a classic pitching prospect than Sanchez, actually a year older but two levels behind him. Low-to-mid-90s, usually throws strikes, slider looks good, changeup needs work, another potential number three starter but with a different style than Sanchez.
Diaz is pitching in Clinton, and has a 2.78 ERA through 5 starts, pairing a 9.9 K/9 with 5.1 BB/9. The control has been an issue, but the run prevention has worked out, as Diaz has yet to allow a home run. Diaz is still incredibly young, turning 20 years old this March. He's one of those highly volatile prospects that could leap up the boards in a year or disappear completely.
The top 150 list looks a lot different than it did in 2012, when Jesus Montero was #9, Tajuan Walker was #15, Danny Hultzen was #25, and James Paxton was #29. Nick Franklin was #63. Three on the disabled list, and two in AAA.