The Mariners two biggest stars in the farm system got a little brighter today, as both Kyle Lewis and Tyler O’Neill were named to MLBPipeline.com’s 2017 Top-100 Propsect list. The list, put together by Jonathan Mayo, Jim Callis, and Mike Rosenbaum, ranked O’Neill as the 36th-best prospect in all of baseball while Lewis nabbed the 29th spot.
O’Neill experienced a monumental rise over the past year, developing into a formidable all-around player during his time in Double-A Jackson. In 130 games with the Generals, the Canadian slugger slashed .293/.374/.508 while providing stellar defense and his best BB/K ratio (0.41) since 2013. The accolades never stopped rolling in for O’Neill, as he was named the Mariners Minor League Hitter of the Year and Southern League Most Valuable Player, amongst other honors. And if that wasn’t enough, he went down to the Arizona Fall League and wrecked there, too (.292/.395/.486). Not bad for someone who was the 23rd-best prospect in the system a year ago. Expect him to start in Triple-A Tacoma and eventually make an appearance in Seattle at some point in 2017.
Lewis, unsurprisingly, immediately slots in as Seattle’s best prospect after being selected 11th-overall in the 2016 draft. The Mercer product flashed serious potential in his pro debut–slashing .299/.385/.530 over 135 plate appearances–but a severe knee injury on a home plate collision ended his season. Lewis is expected to return sometime around the All-Star Break, where he’ll likely be eased along slowly. List-maker Jim Callis had high praise for Lewis when the Mariners selected him back in June:
No. 11 overall pick Kyle Lewis' agreement w/@Mariners is full pick value at $3,286,700. I would have taken Mercer OF No. 1 overall @MLBDraft— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) June 11, 2016
Some interesting things to note on the list:
- While the Mariners have what is considered to be the second-worst (or worst, depending on who you ask) farm system in the AL West, they are one of only two AL West teams to land a player in the Top-50. Both the M’s and Astros (Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker) have two players.
- The first Athletics player to make the list is SS/2B Franklin Barreto.
- The Rangers make their first appearance in back-to-back spots, with Leody Taveras and Yohander Mendez popping in at #55 and #56.
- The Angels do not have a player in the Top-100.
- Thank goodness for Lewis and O’Neill. Once you get past those two, a massive gap exists before you arrive at the third-best prospect in the system (which is one of Max Povse, Andrew Moore, or Nick Neidert, all pitchers with back end of the rotation labels)
Now, before we go, let’s all watch Kyle Lewis hit a big ol’ dinger:
#ICYMI: Kyle Lewis hit his first pro home run tonight for the @everettaquasox: https://t.co/wVgibbJyTF— Jesse Geleynse (@JesseGeleynse) July 5, 2016