Now that the Mariners have graduated their wave of top prospects over the past couple years and built an exciting young core, there’s been an understandable drop in where they rank among baseball’s farm systems. But that’s okay, because that indicates the process is operating as intended, with players moving through the system and graduating to the bigs; stadiums don’t display banners for “best farm system”, after all.
And it’s not as if the Mariners system is completely empty; just recently, Baseball America named three current Mariners farmhands to their Top 100 list. They are:
- C Harry Ford at #64
- SS Cole Young at #99
- RHP Bryce Miller at #100
(Amusingly, Ford is squashed between his two former organization-mates, with Noelvi Marte at #63 and Edwin Arroyo at #65.)
Ford is currently Seattle’s top prospect, so it tells you a little about the state of the system that he’s the highest-ranking member of the Mariners organization at #64. However, given that the Mariners just recently graduated a crop of high-ranking prospects, they still stack up surprisingly well with the rest of the AL West as far as Top-100 prospects.
The Angels have just two Top-100-ers, SS Zach Neto (#53) and C Logan O’Hoppe (#42), who made his big-league debut in 2022 after coming over as the return for Brandon Marsh and will have graduated off the next iteration of this list. The sinking-ship A’s somehow only have one, C/1B Tyler Soderstrom (#35), although that could change if Oakland continues selling off what remains on their roster for parts. The Astros annoyingly have two on the list despite successive years of forfeiting their first-round picks and a passel of prospect graduations: C Yainer Diaz at #82 and #28, RHP Hunter Brown, who was actually with the big-league club for the playoffs and will be graduated from the list the next time it comes out.
The only other AL West team with as many Top-100 prospects as the Mariners is the Rangers, and they also have the highest-ranked prospect in the AL West: OF Evan Carter, who ranks at #26. RHP Owen White is #59 and Josh Jung is listed at #66, behind Ford, but will have accrued enough MLB service time to graduate off the next iteration of the list when it’s published.
While it’s possible Bryce Miller will also be a graduation before the next list, it is important to note the youth of the players the Mariners have landed on the list, with Ford and Young headlining the next wave of players to Seattle. It’s also not unreasonable to expect recently-signed SS Felnin Celesten to appear on the list the next time it’s published, especially with Jerry Dipoto indicating the team has sent him to the club’s annual pre-Spring Training minicamp to have him work out with the top minor-leaguers in the organization.
On his weekly show on @SeattleSports Jerry Dipoto said that Felnin Celesten will come directly to Az to join mini camp with the Mariners minor league players. Wants to make sure he spends some time with Julio as well.— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) January 19, 2023
That’s somewhat of a rare step for the Mariners, who generally develop young international players slowly, helping them to build foundational skills on and off the field before subjecting them to the high-pressure environment of competitive ball. But as Dipoto notes, Celesten has had a different level of “exposure” as a top prospect to those kinds of environments, and the club is comfortable with challenging him. With more evaluators able to look at Celesten stateside, it will raise his profile more than if the Mariners solely kept him stashed away in their complex in Boca Chica. If scouts like what they see, expect El Fénix to start rising up prospect lists the next time prospect season is upon us.