We’ve compiled the prospect listings of each major outlet’s Top-100 as they’ve emerged. As is to be expected, the Mariners ranged from two-to-four prospects being included, with a mixture of options making the cut. Encouragingly, FanGraphs went ahead and selected five.
Justus Sheffield at No. 60
Yusei Kikuchi at No. 74
Jarred Kelenic at No. 84
Justin Dunn at No. 89
Evan White at No. 90
Shed Long at No. 132
FanGraphs provides more detail than most, however, so we’re not simply left with rankings. Similarly to John Sickels’ letter grades, FanGraphs places an easily organizable “Future Value” metric to prospects, which is scaled to the scouting grades scale of 20-to-80. Future Value (FV) grades are commonplace, but what FanGraphs has added is a financial valuation to prospects based on their FV grade. It was put together by friend of the LL podcast Craig Edwards, and is a major component of what FanGraphs has focused on, in part because similar grading scales are now commonplace in MLB front offices. On the most recent ‘Wheelhouse’ podcast Jerry Dipoto mentioned the Mariners have a system much like this, by which they grade themselves to have the 12th-best farm system in baseball.
To put that more directly, here’s a chart from Edwards’ piece explaining his valuations of prospects based on production and cost:
Position players don’t get hurt as often as pitchers, so it stands to reason that they would be valued more highly on aggregate. All six of the Mariners’ prospects in the FanGraphs Top-100+ earn a 50-FV from Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel’s evaluations. The 50-FV prospects range from No. 46 (Rays 2B Brandon Lowe) to our own Shed Long at No. 132, so there’s plenty of range to gauge those six with.
Additionally, today Baseball America released their organizational rankings ($), pegging the Mariners as the 14th-best farm system. It’s a huge jump from a farm that was a surefire 30th-overall rank for the second-straight year, and also a significant boost from where Keith Law ranked the farm a couple weeks ago. Law, as he recently explained on 710 ESPN, evaluates the depth of an organization, placing less value on having a few high-ceiling impact talents far from the majors and more on having several players who look like credible MLBers. Baseball America sees the Mariners more middle-of-the-pack, trailing slightly division-mates the A’s (11th) and the Angels (12th), but well ahead of the 25th-place Rangers, who Law ranks two slots ahead of the Mariners.