It’s deep in the off-season, which means it’s prospect season time. If you missed it, we kicked off our overview of the Mariners system with a group of arms that probably won’t pop up on top prospect lists elsewhere, but are worth knowing if you’re a Mariners fan who wants to follow the farm system. Today we’ll be doing the same thing, but for position players. Once again, these are players who have just started their professional careers or deeper draft picks, or those who have some significant flaw in their game that’s keeping them from a higher projection. If you missed the initial writeup on pitchers, make sure to catch up with that here. As a reminder, we won’t be adding the latest IFA signings to this group, but you can read our overview of the current signings here.
Kelvin Alcantara, OF
Age: 18 / B/T: L/L / Signed: 2023 / Final level in 2023: DSL / MLB ETA: 2028
Kicking things off with perhaps our deepest sleeper, Alcantara was one of the better hitters on last year’s DSL team that was in dire need of some offense. With more walks than strikeouts from the left side, Alcantara has an advanced approach for someone his age and was regarded as one of the better “gap-to-gap” hitters by Mariners’ international scouting director Frankie Thon Jr. He’s yet to see considerable power develop into his game, however having played all of last season at just 17, it’s assured that Alcantara will do plenty of physical maturation in the coming years that could lead to more power output. He’s about as far out from the big leagues as you can get and far from a sure thing, but he showed enough to warrant a mention.
Freuddy Batista, C
Age: 24 / B/T: R/R / Signed: 2023 / Final level in 2023: A / MLB ETA: 2027
God bless the organizational catchers. Freuddy has hung out in Modesto the past two seasons, cheerfully absorbing blows from the wild pitchers and hitters of the California League and providing strong leadership and enthusiasm, while spending his off-season playing for the Leones del Escogido, his grandfather’s favorite team, back in the DR. Give him a big cheer when you see him in Everett this season.
Ricardo Cova, SS
Age: 19 / B/T: R/R / Signed: 2021 / Final level in 2023: ACL / MLB ETA: 2028
Cova, a small statured shortstop signed out of Venezuela in the 2021 IFA period, was not considered one of the top prospects in Seattle’s class yet has been a steady producer since turning pro. Cova is a contact-oriented, low-power hitter who hit .330 in the ACL last season. Typically a very aggressive hitter prior to last season, Cova added a bit more patience to his game last season and walked at an impressive 13.2% clip. It’s a bit of a baffling profile as he provides little power, strikes out a ton, (31.1% last season) and is running entirely unsustainable BABIP numbers, (.430! and .509!! the past two seasons) but he’s managed to repeat success. His batted ball profile lends itself to high BABIP numbers, but the K rate is definitely a major concern so low in the minor leagues. He’ll have to find a way to crack into a loaded Modesto infield, but he’s at least worth a watch to see if his offensive output is sustainable.
Josh Hood, INF
Age: 23 / B/T: R/R / Drafted: 2022 / Final level in 2023: A+ / MLB ETA: 2026
A versatile defender all across the infield, Hood missed substantial time in college due to the Ivy League canceling sports in 2020 and 2021 over the pandemic. Hood then transferred to North Carolina and posted solid numbers while playing a quality shortstop and was picked up by Seattle in the sixth round. He’s been a respectable player throughout his time in the organization and could be a nice utility option with some pop and speed, à la Dylan Moore.
Josh Hood makes the leaping catch. pic.twitter.com/vqaiJe2pxe— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) September 14, 2023
Carlos Jimenez, OF
Age: 21 / B/T: L/L/ Signed: 2019 / Final level in 2023: CPX / MLB ETA: 2028
After signing Julio Rodríguez and Noelvi Marte in back-to-back years, the Mariners stepped back their international class in 2019 but still gave Jimenez about 500K, making him one of the larger signing bonuses in that class. After repeating the DSL, Jimenez struggled some in a move stateside, and seems to be struggling to make contact—something the slightly-built outfielder will need to do to find a role moving forward. However, there’s some legit pop in the bat if he can improve his overall plate discipline.
Bill Knight, OF
Age: 24 / B/T: R/R / Drafted: 2022 / Final level in 2023: AA / MLB ETA: 2026
Knight was a 10th-round pick out of Mercer, the same school they selected Kyle Lewis out of back in 2016. The athletic center fielder is an all around player that doesn’t have one carrying tool but doesn’t have a glaring weak spot either. He’s a fourth outfielder profile that can play all three positions and has good speed on the base paths. The contact and power abilities are fringe average at best, but the rest of the tools allow him to contribute positively. After a middling stint of just 51 plate appearances in Everett after a late season promotion from Modesto, Knight was promoted to AA Arkansas for the last two games of their playoff run. While this certainly seems like a quick trigger, Knight will turn 25 during the season and perhaps an accelerated timeline is warranted. He’s not going to be the guy you count on when you’re building a lineup, but he’s got a shot to be an interesting piece for an Arkansas team that lacked pizzazz for much of last season.
Bill Knight mashes a triple. pic.twitter.com/fCsEWHNG2K— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) April 26, 2023
Gabe Moncada, 1B
Age: 22 / B/T: L/L / Signed: 2018 / Final level in 2023: A / MLB ETA: 2027
The 6’2” slugger made big strides in a repeat tour of Modesto, settling in at a full year of the level. There’s still a lot of swing and miss in the long-levered Moncada’s profile, but he’s looking more like a TTO candidate with a healthy walk rate and plenty of power in the bat propping up his overall profile. There’s some big-time violence in his lefty swing that might put you in mind of other lefty power sluggers like Harper or Bellinger.
Crushed. Gabe Moncada blasts a game tying solo HR in the 7th! pic.twitter.com/X9JpDo5qDY— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) April 14, 2023
Charlie Pagliarini, 3B
Age: 23 / B/T: L/R / Drafted: 2023 / Final level in 2023: ACL / MLB ETA: 2027
Drafted out of Fairfield University in last year’s draft, Pagliarini led the Stags offensively with a ridiculous slash line of .399/.528/.851, good for an OPS of 1.379. He left the Stags as the all time program leader in homeruns and is known for his prodigious power from the left side. There’s quite a bit of swing and miss in his game and he’s already 23 to start his first full season as a pro, but he showed enough to pique people’s interest as a 19th rounder. Whether or not it’s fair to him and his development, it feels as though he’ll have to kick the year off in Everett due to his advanced age and jammed up infield in Modesto. Should that be the case, Pagliarini will have the opportunity to test his skills against some substantial competition and and flex his lefty power in a park built for his lofted swing.
Jared Sundstrom, OF
Age: 22 / B/T: R/R / Drafted: 2023 / Final level in 2023: A / MLB ETA: 2027
Listed at 6’3 225, Sundstrom is a hulking presence in the outfield and has tremendous power to all fields. Despite his larger frame, Sundstrom actually has above average speed and can cover some ground in the outfield. Playing centerfield in college, Sundstrom likely profiles better in a corner spot where his speed and strong throwing arm will play up. His swing has a lot of natural loft and allows him to hit some absolutely ridiculous dingers, like this grand slam and first professional homerun in Modesto.
Sundstrom provides an intriguing blend of athleticism, power, and speed to a system that’s a bit lacking in the outfield department. If there’s a criticism in his brief career to date, it’s the lack of patience at the plate and lack of walks, but he’s an aggressive hitter and it hasn’t led to inflated K rates thus far. Don’t be surprised if he earns a quick promotion to Everett, perhaps even beginning the year there.
Hogan Windish, INF/DH
Age: 24 / B/T: R/R / Drafted: 2022 / Final level in 2023: A+ / MLB ETA: 2025
Drafted in the 7th round of the 2022 draft out UNC Greensboro, Windish quickly established himself as a polished hitter down the stretch for Modesto in his draft year. Earning a promotion to Everett for the beginning of 2023, Windish again found success for the Frogs and was a staple in their lineup. Slashing .286/.388/.504 for his career, Windish has had little trouble with the bat to date. The rest of the profile, however, leaves a lot to be desired. Windish is likely to be resigned to first base or DH in the future and is a far cry from a prototypical second or third baseman. He has below average speed and is a liability on the infield dirt. Additionally, the strikeouts this last season were concerning (30.8%). Windish was lauded coming out of school for his elite exit velocities and barrel rates and the results are hard to discredit, but they don’t come without some concern. Look for the slugger to debut in AA Arkansas this spring where he’ll have a real shot at getting back into the top 30 of the system.