MLB.com rolled out their midseason Top-100 prospect list and the Mariners landed two prospects on the sheet, with Kyle Lewis debuting at No. 40 and Tyler O'Neill vaulting onto the list at No. 74.
The inclusions are hardly a surprise at all. Despite Lewis' knee injury, his impressive blend of all-around talent gives him the kind of ceiling you can dream on. His brief pro debut was promising, as well, as he slashed .299/.385/.530 with a 154 wRC+ through 135 plate appearances with Everett. In the month of July, he posted a 189 wRC+ and .329 ISO and was seriously pushing for a promotion to either Class-A Clinton or High-A Bakersfield.
O'Neill, meanwhile, has arguably had the biggest rise in stock in the whole system over the last twelve months. After wrecking the Cal League all second half in 2015, O'Neill carried his momentum over to Double-A ball, where he's hit .301/.368/.533 this year. O'Neill's biggest area of improvement has been in both his approach and his ability to use more of the field on a frequent basis. He also plays a decent outfield, regardless of what you might've seen in the Futures Game a couple weeks ago (which, admittedly, wasn't pretty).
The site also updated their Top-30 prospects for each system, and the Mariners saw big changes:
- Taking over as the top prospect in the system is Lewis, followed by O'Neill. Shortstop Drew Jackson, RHP Nick Neidert, and LHP Luiz Gohara round out the top-five.
- Former top prospect Alex Jackson fell to No. 6. Jackson has been hitting in Clinton so far in 2016, but early season struggles will keep his overall numbers down all year, barring an absurd hot streak. I could see him jumping back up the list at some point in the next couple years.
- Recent acquisitions Dan Vogelbach (No. 7) and Paul Blackburn (No. 17) both received bumps up the list.
- 2016 draftees that made the list (in addition to Lewis) include INF Joe Rizzo (No. 9), SS Bryson Brigman (No. 15), LHP Thomas Burrows (No. 27), and RHP Brandon Miller (No. 29).
- The biggest surprise, to me, was OF Brayan Hernandez falling to No. 16 on the list. Maybe I'm just higher on Hernandez than most, but some of the names above him baffle me.
- Gareth Morgan (No. 24) managed to make the cut. The 74th overall pick in the 2014 draft is currently running a 44.2% k-rate and an 82 wRC+ in what is now his third year of rookie ball. Like I've said in the past, though, his impressive raw power will probably keep him on these lists for at least another year or so.