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  1. I’m #1 and most definitely not a pitcher. Nick Franklin is #4 and is the best non-pitching prospect in the system?

    Comment by Mike Zunino — December 18, 2012 @ 9:08 am

  2. solid farm system….it might even be number…..6…

    Comment by steve — December 18, 2012 @ 9:09 am

  3. There is some debate over whether or not the prospect’s hit tool will end up as average or a little above for a catcher but there probably aren’t many, if any, that would argue his right-handed power is a plus tool. Along with his intriguing bat,

    Do you mean “isn’t a plus tool”? Otherwise it sounds like you’re saying his hit tool is at best a little above average for a catcher and his power isn’t plus – that doesn’t sound like an intriguing bat to me.

    Comment by Paul Clarke — December 18, 2012 @ 9:37 am

  4. Forgot to mention: be careful with minor league wRC+ figures, as they’re league but not park-adjusted. Tacoma is a pitcher’s park by PCL standards, so Franklin’s 83 wRC+ isn’t as bad as it looks; meanwhile, Everett is a hitter’s park, so Kivlehan’s 152 isn’t as impressive as it looks.

    Comment by Paul Clarke — December 18, 2012 @ 9:43 am

  5. thanks for the Franklin catcher, I missed the “next” best

    Comment by Marc Hulet — December 18, 2012 @ 9:44 am

  6. It is true, but still remains a rough indicator… which pretty much sums up all minor league numbers…

    Comment by Marc Hulet — December 18, 2012 @ 9:45 am

  7. Nice looking top ten. After that… Who knows? A guy 4 years away with an 88 mph fastball is not a super exciting prospect, to be sure.

    Comment by Bookbook — December 18, 2012 @ 9:58 am

  8. You misspelled “extraneous” in the Paxton writeup.

    Comment by Christian — December 18, 2012 @ 10:02 am

  9. At this point, you’re not even beating a dead horse. The shit is decomposed and putrid.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — December 18, 2012 @ 10:02 am

  10. I agree that was an awkward sentence… I tried reworking it a bit, so hopefully it’s more clear.

    Comment by Marc Hulet — December 18, 2012 @ 10:07 am

  11. Seattle Mariners fans = copy editors… thanks guys.

    Comment by Marc Hulet — December 18, 2012 @ 10:09 am

  12. Hultzen was the #2 pick in the 2011 draft, not 2012.

    Comment by Spike — December 18, 2012 @ 10:09 am

  13. The M’s look to be in great shape. If Smoak’s progress in September carries over and you believe in Seager at third base, you could move Ackley to LF and really have the makings of a good young squad (kinda like the upstart Rays a few years ago).

    Comment by Pinstripe Wizard — December 18, 2012 @ 10:10 am

  14. oh have a sense of humor

    Comment by steve — December 18, 2012 @ 10:12 am

  15. Please don’t take this the wrong way, as your writing is excellent… but it seems like sometimes there’s a disproportionate amount of Mariners articles or Mariner examples on Fangraphs. Why is a last place team getting so much attention?

    I realize there’s only so much to write about at this point in the offseason, but I’d think that a series about top-10 or top-15 prospects for all clubs, or for the bottom 5 clubs (to give them hope) or something else that samples more than Mariners would be good here.

    If you guys want to write so much about the Mariners, leave more of it on Lookout Landing or USS Mariner. I thought this was an overall baseball analysis blog.

    Comment by Joe — December 18, 2012 @ 10:13 am

  16. I knew I smelled something.

    Comment by Pinstripe Wizard — December 18, 2012 @ 10:13 am

  17. You must be new here.

    Comment by Pinstripe Wizard — December 18, 2012 @ 10:14 am

  18. they are a persnickety bunch. you should visit Lookout Landing…

    Comment by Spike — December 18, 2012 @ 10:15 am

  19. LOL.

    Comment by Spike — December 18, 2012 @ 10:15 am

  20. What are the prospect qualifications? I would have thought that Capps and Pryor would be disqualified from this list.

    Comment by Jason — December 18, 2012 @ 10:17 am

  21. 50 IP for pitchers or 45 days on the major league roster not counting time spend on expanded September rosters.

    Comment by jtmorgan — December 18, 2012 @ 10:21 am

  22. I would assume as long as they maintain their rookie status heading into the upcoming season, they should still be eligible for prospect consideration.

    Comment by Pinstripe Wizard — December 18, 2012 @ 10:22 am

  23. He said “NEXT best non-pitching prospect in the system”.

    Comment by The Congo Hammer — December 18, 2012 @ 10:22 am

  24. I would rather have teams like them covered though instead of what we get from MLB Network and ESPN.

    Comment by bjs2025 — December 18, 2012 @ 10:24 am

  25. So you’re saying you don’t want more Harold Reynolds and Mitch Williams?

    Comment by Pinstripe Wizard — December 18, 2012 @ 10:28 am

  26. Thanks, that’s clearer.

    Comment by Paul Clarke — December 18, 2012 @ 10:52 am

  27. #6org

    Comment by Evan — December 18, 2012 @ 10:55 am

  28. Pretty sure Marc has done a “Top 15” prospect list for every team, every year, for a long while now. Do a bit of searching and you’ll find them all.

    Comment by ASURay — December 18, 2012 @ 11:00 am

  29. who are the 5 they are behind?

    Comment by Spike — December 18, 2012 @ 11:01 am

  30. None taken but I’m writing Top 15s for every club… I can’t very well exclude them…

    Comment by Marc Hulet — December 18, 2012 @ 11:16 am

  31. Any thoughts on Julio Morban? I wasn’t surprised BA left him off their top 10, but both you and Bullpen Banter have left him off top 15s. Health and High Desert are concerns of course but he’s one of the few HD prospects to hit better on the road than he did at home, and the Ms liked him enough to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.

    Comment by Paul Clarke — December 18, 2012 @ 11:33 am

  32. Thanks for the prospect columns!

    For me, the font size is consistent when viewed in IE but varies viewed in Firefox (some writeups are different sizes than others and there is variation within Brad Miller’s). FYI

    Comment by jonkk — December 18, 2012 @ 11:38 am

  33. i think hulet edited

    Comment by wily mo — December 18, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

  34. If he was healthy and sustained his success, would Jack Marder have made the list, and where if he did?

    Also, Kivlehan is simply a stud for getting to this point after being away from a game that requires so much repetition to develop. Even if he doesn’t make it, it’s still an amazing story.

    Comment by Danny — December 18, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

  35. Call it “observer bias” or “user error” or “reader is a dumbass”, then. :) Thanks. I’ll go hunt up your other top 15’s, this one was really good.

    Comment by Joe — December 18, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

  36. He could have picked from any number of prospects to round out the top 15: Jack Marder, Julio Morban, Joe DeCarlo, Stephen Proscia, Leon Landry, John Hicks, Tyler Marlette, Francisco Martinez, Anthony Fernandez, etc. Most of the High Desert guys are suspect until they produce in AA, demonstrated by none of their inclusion in the top-15.

    Comment by Ryan — December 18, 2012 @ 12:26 pm

  37. Interesting that the Walker writeup ended with this: ‘has the ceiling of a No. 2 starter.’ Honestly, it’s the first time I’ve heard anything other than ace-potential for Walker. There have been several articles on Fangraphs and elsewhere that say he has the highest upside among all pitching prospects not named Dylan Bundy, and some even believe he has similar upside (with a lower floor). Marc, care to elaborate on why you see his ceiling as a #2 and not an ace/#1? Nothing in the writeup seemed to indicate long-term concerns with control or secondary pitches or with any development issues despite an up-and-down 2012, just wonder what the #2 ceiling is based off of.

    Comment by Ray — December 18, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

  38. Pike had shown more velocity in high school and may possibly just need to mature and get stronger to regain his high school velo.

    Comment by Jacque Jones — December 18, 2012 @ 1:03 pm

  39. Any reason you used “Michael Zunino” but then switched to nicknames for “Nick Franklin” (Nicholas) and “Brad Miller” (Bradley)? I’ve never seen anyone call him anything other than Mike before.

    Comment by ThirteenOfTwo — December 18, 2012 @ 1:07 pm

  40. This. Never heard anyone, anywhere say he has a ceiling as a number 2. Fangraphs or otherwise. All the buzz is about his extremely high, best starter in baseball ceiling. But due to playing and focusing more on basketball in high school he’s behind the developmental curve, as are many multiple sport stars. Would love to hear the authors thoughts.

    Comment by Matt — December 18, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

  41. I understand that Hulet reports on what he sees, but really? Taijuan Walker’s enormous upside is a total consensus. There isn’t another serious prospect evaluator out there that that would say his ceiling is anything other than #1. Sickels, Law, the BA crew, name your evaluator of choice, they all get it that his upside is #1. Whether he reaches it remains to be seen, but it casts a bit of doubt on the rest of the writeup when the author marks Tai Walker as a #2 ceiling.

    Comment by Taijuan — December 18, 2012 @ 1:12 pm

  42. Is it possible he put Walker’s ceiling as #2 considering who the M’s #1 is?

    Comment by Sarpar — December 18, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

  43. what happened to Triunfel?

    Comment by Pat G — December 18, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

  44. Where would Marcus Littlewood/Guillermo Pimental rank?

    Both of them both had some prospect shine but lost their luster.

    Comment by BothDakotas — December 18, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

  45. Anything to keep my good name intact.

    Comment by Mike Zunino — December 18, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

  46. In the write up, he wasn’t thrilled with the lack of movement on the fastball. (The off speed issues seemed to be things Walker could improve with repetition.)

    Triunfel was, at this point, touch and go for the 40-man roster addition. I’m glad he didn’t make the top 15 prospects.

    Comment by Bookbook — December 18, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

  47. Is that what you call that, Steve?

    Comment by Jeff — December 18, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

  48. While he’s still young, he stopped progressing with the bat and no longer grades out well as a fielder (result of injuries?). It seems like he should be older (turns 23 in Feb) since he has been around for years and he still has time to put it together, each passing day moves him further onto the “failed prospect” list.

    I didn’t find a reference to link on a quick search but I believe he is out of options so this spring may be his last with the Ms.

    Comment by TerryMc — December 18, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

  49. I know Catricala had a horrific year, but does he have any chance of bouncing back and eventually contributing in the bigs?

    Comment by Ed — December 18, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

  50. He was added to the 40-man last November, so he has two options left.

    Comment by Paul Clarke — December 18, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

  51. Wow, that’s a huge concentration of MI talent.

    Comment by Chad — December 18, 2012 @ 7:50 pm

  52. Stefen Romero at 6’3″ shouldn’t be playing in the middle. I would like to see more of him at 1st base. He’s going to be the perfect fall back if he can hit in Tacoma the first couple of months and Smoak struggles. The other thing, if Ackley struggles and Romero can handle 3rd then you can move Seager back over to 2nd. He’s the closest thing the M’s have to a 30 homer 100 rbi bat in their system and he could be ready to get a cup of coffee by June.

    Comment by Docmilo — December 18, 2012 @ 8:27 pm

  53. led me to your article . Enjoyed its content. Well done sir.

    Comment by Laceysam — December 18, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

  54. What’s up with the funky font?

    Comment by Greg — December 18, 2012 @ 9:11 pm

  55. They said the same thing about Cal Ripken…just because someone fits a profile doesn’t immediately mean thats where they’re most valuable.

    Comment by Larry Bernandez — December 19, 2012 @ 7:09 am

  56. Walker had a bit of a rough spell in the last half of the season. That and a straight fastball and still young age are sufficient for a #2 ceiling. The author and responders are equally entitled to their opinions.

    Comment by maqman — December 19, 2012 @ 9:28 am

  57. I think you may be overvaluing High Desert power numbers a bit. I can’t get any prospect expert to agree that Romero has anything close to 30-HR power.

    Comment by Bookbook — December 19, 2012 @ 10:26 am

  58. Just a thought here: Did anyone else notice the glaring lack of outfileders on this list?

    Comment by Andrew — December 19, 2012 @ 10:32 am

  59. Even Dylan Bundy hit a rough patch pitching in AA, walking 8 batters in his 12 innings there. Fact is Walker was 19 years old pitching a full season in AA, there’s bound to be a rough patch or growing pains at that aggressive a level. Most 19 year olds, even the elite ones, don’t reach AA at 19 and even then they mostly just get a short post-ASB sniff of it. I agree, Marc is certainly entitled to his opinion and I value it, I would have just liked some clarification as to why he put his ceiling as a #2 when it seems universal that his upside is that of an ace.

    Comment by Ray — December 19, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

  60. I don’t think “ceiling” means what you think it does.

    Comment by Jay Stevens — December 19, 2012 @ 11:09 pm

  61. Care to enlighten me? I’ve only been following the minor leagues and reading scouting reports for the better part of two decades but maybe I’m wrong. Goldstein said ‘Walker’s ceiling ranks with any prospect in the game’. Mike Newman wrote on Fangraphs a few months back, when comparing Walker and Bundy, that Walker may have the highest ceiling in the minors. called him a future ‘front line ace’. I could go on and on. Ceiling, to me, has always been used to define a players upside at his peak, nothing more…and regardless of the definition there have been many, many articles from scouts and prospect mavens that his ceiling is that of an ace. What do YOU think ceiling means?

    Comment by Ray — December 20, 2012 @ 8:05 am

  62. Anyone who followed Stefen Romero’s previous year in Clinton knew his bat was for real.

    Comment by Gomez — December 20, 2012 @ 4:33 pm

  63. He’s not a HR slugger. But he hit well in Single A Clinton before High Desert, and certainly profiles as a potentially solid, productive bat.

    Comment by Gomez — December 20, 2012 @ 4:33 pm

  64. Catricala’s value comes down to his bat, because his defense isn’t all that good at any position.

    His speed was a contributing factor to his production. Is that still present?

    Comment by Gomez — December 20, 2012 @ 4:35 pm

  65. I’m not sure where Triunfel’s rep as a good glove comes from outside of internal scouting boilerplate. He’s always been a minus defender up the middle.

    His bat was supposed to materialize as he matured, but that clearly never came to be.

    Comment by Gomez — December 20, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

  66. Yeah, if wRC isn’t adjusting for park I’d be very careful about using the stat at all. Factors for MiLB parks can vary wildly.

    BTW play in Tacoma and Clinton tends to be somewhat pitcher friendly, High Desert is of course a launchpad, Jackson is more neutral and Pulaski + Everett are offense friendly.

    Comment by Gomez — December 20, 2012 @ 4:41 pm

  67. Julio Morban, if healthy, is a legit OF prospect. The M’s probably don’t have any others. Good thing they’re stacked at the major league level..,

    Comment by Bookbook — December 21, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

  68. Marc Hulet, first of all, thanks for the great article!

    Articles like these gives us baseball fans a broader perspective of the big leagues, it makes it real fun to watch the games, knowing what kind of prospects are in the respective farm systems!

    As for Seattle, they seem to have one of the top 3-4 farm systems in baseball, is that about right Marc?

    And what do you think Seattle should do with their ballpark, I’m thinking they should move in the fences even more, considering how a hitter friendly park seems to help the slightly above average players in Texas take a slight leap in hitting, while big parks like Citi Field seems to have a supressing impact on hitters.

    While at the same time, pitchers really aren’t that much affected, since they only play every 10th game at home.

    Comment by BubbaNoTrubba — December 22, 2012 @ 10:00 pm

  69. I think Morban probably profiles more as an extra OF. He doesn’t seem to have that one defining tool to make him more than that. I think I have some video of him I can throw together. . .

    Comment by steve — December 27, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

  70. The M’s love Marder. . .love his athleticism. . . One of their big boys dropped a Biggio on him. . . don’t know if I buy that, but whatever.

    Comment by steve — December 27, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

  71. No. With that logic, Lucas Harrell is a number 1 starter.

    Comment by Gary LaPlante — January 20, 2013 @ 2:47 am

  72. If you can’t find a prospect expert to agree that Romero is a 30 homer bat, it’s because they aren’t experts. I was watching a show on TV called Bigfoot Hunters. That show has a bunch of Bigfoot experts on it. Nuff said.

    Comment by Doc Milo — March 11, 2013 @ 8:34 am

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