My midseason M's top 30 prospects

The draft signees are all playing, so it feels like a good time to do this. Parameters: Everyone who still has prospect status is eligible. Disclaimer: I have no connections, I'm just a box score watcher who follows this stuff way too closely. Read for fun more than education.

1. Taijuan Walker (RHP)- Polish gives him the slightest of edges over Alex Jackson. No way Walker will be the #1 in the offseason as he'll hopefully be ineligible. If he's not it's because of injuries that will muddy up his prospect shine. But for now, he's my #1.

2. Alex Jackson (OF, probably RF)- Struggling ever so slightly with K's in the far too small to worry about sample size, but you gotta love a plus bat with plus plus power. The best hitter we've drafted since ARod.

3. James Paxton (LHP) - I'm taking the optimistic approach with his injury. I think he'll be okay, and when he gets back the newfound command will be mostly intact. I don't really think what he's shown in the bigs is sustainable long term, but even 80% of that is one heck of a pitcher. His upside is as high as Walker's, but there's more risk with Paxton so he slots here. Like Walker, no way he ranks here in the offseason.

4. DJ Peterson (CIF, probably 1B) - Strikes out too much and doesn't walk enough, but I keep telling myself that will improve, even though it still hasn't for Zunino. Unlike Zunino, Peterson doesn't have any real defensive value, so the bat has to get better at things that will play outside of High Desert. I think it will, but not super confident about it. Still, there's a pretty big dropoff from Peterson to next in line, so his spot's fairly secure. The first three guys are all top 25 in the minors type talents, Peterson is borderline top 100.

5. Luiz Gohara (LHP) - Everything you want in a starting pitching prospect, just really young and really, really far away. But so much to dream on. I love this kid.

6. Austin Wilson (OF, probably RF until Jackson moves him to left)- Currently on the DL and I'm not exactly sure why, but assuming the injury isn't anything serious I think he slots here. Physical specimen who seems to be adjusting quickly to his post "Stanford swing". An ISO of over .225 in the MWL is very impressive, even for a 22 year old who a bit old for the league. Strikeouts aren't alarmingly high, walks aren't alarmingly low. Assuming he's a plus defender as he was hailed to be out of college he probably has a shot at some All Star type value. Lots of risk though with the swing still being new and needing to be tested by higher level pitchers. Hopefully he heals quickly and gets promoted immediately.

7. Gabby Guerrero (OF, probably LF)- Younger than Wilson and a level ahead of him, I think the consensus is that Guerrero is a better prospect. I'm wary of anyone who can't OPS .800 in the Cal League when playing home games at High Desert though. Just feels like a guy who will be a major leaguer but won't be anything special to me. Hope I'm wrong.

8. Chris Taylor (SS) - I've probably been the slowest to come around on Taylor, as I put too much stock in the pre draft reports on his swing. It appears in retrospect that the M's got a steal. I still don't really believe in the power (PCL!), but otherwise I'm pretty convinced. The glove appears to be legit, and the hit tool is at least average, despite the high K rates. This is a guy who is a quality backup infielder in the bigs at worst and a quality starter at short at best. Probably never an all star, but a guy who will be in the bigs a long time. I still like Franklin and Miller better long term, but the gap has closed tremendously (as much due to the afore mentioned pairs struggles as Taylor's success, of course).

9. Gareth Morgan (OF, probably LF) - Look, outfielders! Heading into the 2013 draft the organization had one outfield prospect worth speaking of and he was a raw 19 year old in Clinton. Safe to say they've addressed that problem and then some. No less than 4 of the top 9 prospects in the organization are outfielders, and there's some interesting guys behind them, too. I still don't quite understand why they felt Morgan was worth $2 million when it seems they could have had him for $1.5, easily, but they obviously love the kid to give him mid first round money. He's big, he's strong, and in the way too small sample of 3 games in the AZL he already has walked SIX times! I love a slugger who can take a walk. The swing is said to be raw, but he's supposed to have plus plus power in there if they can get to it. Probably will take a year or two longer to reach the bigs than Jackson, but could be a monster by the time he arrives. I don't think this is Joe Decarlo 2.0.

10. Edwin Diaz (RHP) - Diaz is the biggest disappointment to in the system. After his breakout 2013 campaign I honestly thought he'd be a top 5 guy in the system at this point, but he seems to have given back almost everything he gained in 13 this year. His walk rate has become an issue again and his K rate has dropped pretty significantly, and his GB rate has even dropped. And with all that, he's still a skinny 20 year old with MOR stuff at worst who is striking out twice as many hitters as he's walking. His year hasn't been a disaster, just a disappointment. If he can rediscover some of the control he had last year he can still be a very good pitcher going forward, even if he's not ready to be a top 100 overall prospect like I thought he'd be.

11. Tyler Marlette (C) - Marlette is slowly but surely climbing the organizational ladder, staying just off the radar. He's not taking advantage of HD quite as I'd hoped he would, but an .850 OPS for a 21 year old is respectable if not exciting. What's more impressive is what he's not doing. Namely, striking out. Just 36 K's in nearly 200 PA's is a solid number for a young hitter. He also has swiped 7 bags in 8 attempts. You'd like to see more walks for sure, and you can't trust the ISO of .200, but Marlette looks like a guy who can provide decent defense behind the dish while OPS'ing .700 to .750 one day in the show. If I'm right he's a big league starter one day, though obviously not in Seattle.

12. Ketel Marte (SS) - Slick fielding SS who is flying up the charts with an impressive year in AA Jackson. Hard to imagine him beating out all three name guys ahead of him to ever win the starting job in Seattle, but stranger things have happened.

13. VIctor Sanchez (RHP) - Sanchez has been surprisingly inconsistent, with moments of brilliance surrounded by spates of bleh. The K numbers aren't special, nor the GB rate, but the control is still pretty nice. And there's that whole thing about him being 19 years old and in Double A. I'm probably being too hard on him.

14. Ji-Man Choi (1B) - The steroid suspension really muddies things up for Choi, who is a guy who makes scouts yawn while lighting up box scores. I like him, a lot, but I'm scared that much of what I like has been artificially enhanced. I think he could probably perform just as well in the bigs as Smoak and Morrison right now. Damning with faint praise?

15. Carlos Missell (RHP) - The little Japanese born Brazilian is probably a better pitcher than Luiz Gohara right now, and that's no knock on Gohara. This kid is a pitchability sensation, turning heads with his scintillating first two starts to the season. As I've said before, he reminds me of Erasmo Ramirez before his stuff suddenly jumped into the mid 90's. Back in the day Erasmo was a control whiz who consistently outperformed his stuff. I think Missell will be the same. I freely admit the Fangraphs report that projects Missell's velocity to creep up to 93 with time has contributed to this evaluation. If that happens, the secondaries and control could be enough to carry him to the middle of a rotation. At any rate, he should be a fun guy to follow up the ladder. Safe assumption: I will be the only person with him ahead of Pike.

16. Tyler Pike (LHP) - The most overrated prospect in the system, Pike doesn't really do anything well besides be fairly young and left handed. His stuff is decent, better than Missell's especially since it comes from a southpaw, but he's just so wild. Hopefully at some point it clicks for him, but I'm afraid he's a guy who is going to be damaged by the M's lack of a decent High A option for pitchers. His time at High Desert was a disaster, and he's clearly not ready for Double A. The best course of action would probably be to send him back to Clinton, but I'm sure they don't want to demote him. Not a fan.

17. Tyler O'Neill (COF) - Maybe the hardest guy to rank in the whole system for me, I first started considering him at #11 (that should tell you how tightly bunched the post Diaz prospects are for me). O'Neill can swing the bat, and he has some real pop in there too. I wouldn't be surprised if they move him back behind the dish after the influx of OF's in the system, but I haven't heard any rumblings of that, and if it happened it probably wouldn't be until after the season anyway. A long ways away, but a guy to dream on, whatever position they place him at.

18. Patrick Kivlehan (3B) - Nobody seems to believe in the glove, and most seem skeptical about the bat, but here's a guy who only played one year of college baseball who is succeeding in Double A just two years after being drafted. I see him as a total boom or bust guy - the scouts give me lots of pause, but the numbers give me a lot of hope. I think it's possible everything clicks and he becomes one of those "where did he come from" guys that exceeds everyone's expectations (like a Kyle Seager). The chances of that are slim, but I think they are real.

19. Julio Morban (OF) - One of my favorite players in the system, and much more talented than his ranking, he. just. can't. stay. healthy. Easily the most athletic of the current crop of legit OF prospects, giving him the best shot at CF, Morban has top 10 CF in the game type potential, but he. just. can't. stay. healthy. Chris Snelling 2.0 Breaks my heart.

20. Jabari Blash (OF) - Three true outcomes type slugger who could be real interesting to follow but just got hit with a 50 game suspension for drugs of abuse. Another tough guy to rank. I hope he gets his life together and realizes the opportunity he has, because the window to be an OF for the Mariners will never be more open than it is right now. Tons of guys coming up behind him. Wake up Jabari!

21. Greifer Andrade (SS) - Forever away. Nice hit tool though.
22. Marcus Littlewood (C) - Still only 22!
23. Carson Smith (RHRP) - Crowded pen should give him time to develop
24. Jabari Henry (OF) - Jabari 2.0 doesn't actually have much in common with Blash other than name and position.
25. Tyler Olson (LHP) - Stuff doesn't excite, but gets results.
26. Corey Simpson (OF) - Terrible start to his career but really, really young.
27. Austin Cousino (OF) - Probably a 4th OF, but fun to follow, especially on the bases
28. Adalfi Almonte (OF) - Great name
29. Stephen Kohlsheen (RHP)
30. John Hicks (C)

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