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Mariners linked to two of MLB Pipeline’s top international free agents in 2023 class

One of the brightest rising stars in this upcoming free agency class is likely to be a Mariner

A few days ago MLB Pipeline published their annual list of the top international free agents in this upcoming class, and once again the Mariners are linked to a player at the top of the class: SS Felnin Celesten.

Pipeline has Celesten ranked second in the class, behind Venezuelan catcher and legacy Ethan Salas. However, in the official writeup, they not only suggest Celesten has one of the highest ceilings in this class if not the highest, but perhaps one of the highest ceilings for any shortstop prospect in a decade—higher even than Rays’ superprospect Wander Franco.

What makes the ultra-athletic Celesten’s skillset so enticing to evaluators is the loudness of his tools, all of which project to be well above average. Defensively, he’s a polished defender at short, with a strong, quick, accurate arm. There’s a casual athleticism and smoothness to the way he plays shortstop, where his actions are lightning-quick but smooth and coordinated. The quickness but lightness of his feet reminds me of the elegance of Trea Turner or prime Tulowitzki, but Celesten also has a cannon for an arm that’s only gotten more impressive as he’s matured physically.

At the plate, Celesten is a switch-hitter who has gone from “surprising pop in a small frame” to consistently hitting the ball with authority as he’s added size and muscle, and scouts now project him to hit for more power than when he was showing flashes of it before he grew to his current size of 6’1”/180. Celesten’s power potential is more from the right side currently, where he exhibits plus bat speed and his swing is built more for loft, rather than his more line-drive oriented swing from the left side.

Celesten has been connected to the Mariners for a while, often posting Instagrams of himself wearing Mariners gear. Usually the high-profile players the Mariners are publicly connected to do sign, so feel free to start getting excited about the future of Celesten.

The Mariners have also been connected to the top prospect out of Mexico, RHP Jeter Martinez. The 6’3” native of Durango has spent some time on the US showcase circuit, . Martinez has a prototypical projectable, durable starting pitcher’s body, and should add velocity to his 88-91 MPH fastball as he undergoes professional training. He shows a good awareness of the strike zone and is working on complementing the fastball with a power curve and a developing changeup that shows some good fade. Martinez has long levers that might remind some of Logan Gilbert, with a similar leg-whip finish.

As a reminder, the international free agent signing period no longer begins in July—the famed “J2” date. This class won’t sign until January 15, at which point we’ll have a more complete list of all the signings. The Mariners received a Competitive Balance Pick in Round B of the MLB Draft, so they’ll have one of the larger bonus pools to work with: $6,366,900. Most of that will be dedicated to Celesten, who will command a large signing bonus, but the Mariners are also in good position to make some other moves in replenishing the young talent on their farm after paying some significant prospect costs in trades this season.