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LL’s Top 50 Mariners Prospects 2020: 50 - 46

From a player who hasn’t thrown a professional pitch to a system stalwart, our 2020 list opens with a diverse group of names

Keegan McGovern, a Georgia product, will look to re-establish himself in 2020 after injuries slowed the power-hitting prospect in 2019
Photo by John Korduner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Today we kick off our list of the top 50 Mariners prospects in the organization for 2020. If you missed the opening to this series with the introduction to our methodology and the players who just missed, make sure to read that first, then hurry on back here to start in on the list with us. We’ll keep the champagne on ice until then.

50. 1B/OF Nicholas Zammarelli III

It was a down year for staff favorite Nicky Three Sticks, who ranked in the 30s on last year’s list but finds himself just skating in this year. A positional switch away from third base and into DH-adjacent territory but without DH-adjacent power numbers stung Zamm, who did not Blamm as many balls as he did last year in Modesto. Arkansas’ Dickey-Stephens Park is no picnic to hit in, even for a lefty batter, but a strikeout rate creeping towards a number that starts with 3 is no bueno, no matter how you slice it. -KP

49. OF Keegan McGovern

The last Beef Boy standing in Modesto at the end of the season, McGovern was unable to slug his way out of High-A after a slow start to his season brought on by a back injury that had bothered him since spring training. In attempting to get his power-hitting mojo back, McGovern wound up striking out more than ever (33%) and popping the ball up on the infield too often (18.6% of the time). We still love the power tool but McGovern, who was already older for the level as a senior sign, is now further behind and will need to work quickly to regain the prospect standing that had him checking in around the mid-20s on this list last year. -KP

48. RHP Kristian Cardozo

Consider this more of a “put-this-name-on-your-radar” nod than an actual ranking in the system. Cardozo, a native of Venezuela who has “34” in his Instagram handle as a tribute to his idol King Félix, was a well-regarded IFA prospect set to sign with the Dodgers. LA then ran out of money to sign him, allowing the Mariners to swoop in. Cardozo has earned praise for his preternatural command, especially of the changeup, at a young age, and while he currently only works in the low 90s with limited physical projection left, he draws praise from scouts for his easy, repeatable mechanics and low-effort delivery. The Mariners—as they do with their J2 signees—had Cardozo on a strength and conditioning program rather than throwing in games, so we’ll have to wait for this summer to get reports on game action. -KP

47. OF Arturo Guerrero

Not all OBPs are built alike. In general it’s tough to draw much from Dominican Summer League stat lines, but Arturo Guerrero’s at least raised some curiosity, if not conclusions. Guerrero ran a .397 OBP despite a merely normal 9.5% walk rate and an elevated 27.2% strikeout rate, on the back of 26 HBPs in just 232 PAs. Guerrero was pegged over 11% of the times he stepped into the box, which he then took advantage of, going 11/11 swiping bags. Guerrero’s frame has added some muscle, which should help him do a bit more damage (or endure it), but the issue will be in tightening his swing. Currently Guerrero seems to uncoil with a lengthy swing that fires the hips well but leaves the hands a step behind, leaving him susceptible to swing-and-miss. As HBP are typically an unreliable source of bases year-to-year, Guerrero has to convert more of his PAs into contact to tap into the potential Seattle saw when they signed him for six figures in 2017. As he begins his first season stateside, Guerrero has a chance to take a big step, having drawn excellent reviews for his maturity and intelligence, with full bilingual fluency and a leadership role in offseason workouts. -JT

46. C Carter Bins

Judging a defense-first catcher these days is especially difficult. By the time Bins makes his major league debut, RoboUmps™ may reign supreme. Thankfully(?) for Bins, pitch framing isn’t his sole métier. Bins possesses a strong, accurate throwing arm with steadfast blocking ability. He has good baseball acumen and is known for his ability to call a strong game for his pitchers. The question for Bins will be whether he can reestablish the hit and power tools that had him held in such high regard during his early years at Fresno State. Bins struck out 36% of the time at Everett last season, something he’ll need to cut way down on if he’s to reach his big league potential. There’s plenty of bat speed and loft in his swing, so at worst, he should run into a chunk of dingers each year. Bins thwacked seven of them last season. Bins is cut from the same cloth as fellow backstop Jake Anchia, forming a Hack N’ Mash duo in Seattle’s low minors. He likely projects as a backup catcher at the big league level. -JD