As the Mariners shift from being a team focused fully on winning now to a team where the minor leagues are a prominent focus, we will see the team represented in Top-100 prospect lists more positively than in the past half-decade. Earlier this week, the Baseball Prospectus Top-101 pegged two Mariners for their list, as well as a third in the “Next 10”, while Baseball America used their unique definitions to include four M’s in their list. Now, MLB Pipeline, the league’s internal arm/PR wing has compiled their own list, and three Mariners have made the cut.
No. 43 - LHP Justus Sheffield
No. 56 - OF Jarred Kelenic
No. 91 - RHP Justin Dunn
A few things separate this list from others. For one, MLB Pipeline tends to promote a higher average projection for prospects than many outlets. While that trend is typically across the board, it should still be factored in when comparing a MLB Pipeline 55 to a FanGraphs 55 future value. Additionally, while every outlet leans on scouts and evaluators from within the industry and elsewhere, personal perspectives always influence the projection. For BP, only Sheffield and Kelenic made the cut. For Baseball America, it was Evan White sneaking into the Top-100, while Justin Dunn was pushed out. Additionally, Yusei Kikuchi is ineligible for the Top-100 by the standards of every compiler save for Baseball America, or he would slot in highly.
What we have, then, is a rough sense of things. This group of players is talented, but comes with warts. It will be up to the Mariners to deliver the ice to their prospects’ flaws. By MLB Pipeline’s mostly-silly Prospect Points system (100 points for the No. 1 prospect, 99 for the No. 2, etc.) the Mariners rank 16th. Right in the middle, with some youth on the MLB roster and some further down the line. It could be the next core! It has to be, or heads will assuredly roll.