In the winter following Baseball America’s ranking of Seattle as the league’s top farm system, the venerable scouting publication has released their Preseason 2022 Top-100 Prospects List, featuring five Seattle Mariners. The M’s farmhands ranked are as follows:
No. 2 OF Julio Rodríguez
No. 12 RHP George Kirby
No. 18 SS Noelvi Marte
No. 45 RHP Matt Brash
No. 83 LHP Brandon Williamson
The headliner, as it has been and hopefully will be for many years to come, is Julio. Seattle’s precocious slugger was in the debate for No. 1 overall prospect, but settles instead just behind Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman. Baltimore has two of the top six prospects on the list and both the top position player and pitcher between Rutschman and No. 6 overall prospect RHP Grayson Rodriguez, and the Detroit Tigers have both the No. 4 and No. 5 prospects in the game with OF Riley Greene and 1B Spencer Torkelson, however Seattle has a healthy consolidation of top talent too.
The M’s are one of three clubs (along with the aforementioned duo of Baltimore and Detroit) to place two players in the Top-15 and the only club with three in the Top-25. These are arbitrary cutoffs, of course, as the tiers don’t break down quite so neatly, but Seattle’s system is fortunate to have a consolidation of top talent rare in any system. Those other top tier names are to be expected: RHP George Kirby is in the conversation for one of the best pitching prospects in baseball, while Noelvi Marte is improving step-by-step and performing at a level far beyond his years in the low minors.
Matt Brash’s ranking is aggressive even given his eye-popping numbers, but BA obviously believes in the fireballing righty to a hefty degree. Similarly, they place Brandon Williamson in the back half of their list, a worthy inclusion given Williamson’s health over the 2021 season despite past struggles with durability. The tall southpaw has less radar-shredding heat than Brash, but his extension and deception help it all play up. A couple notable names to not make the list are RHP Emerson Hancock, whose struggles with health and effectiveness in his first pro season were enough cause for concern to drop him off the list, as well as 2021 first rounder Harry Ford who could likely play himself onto the list in 2022, but was outpaced by more experienced players.