While the big league squad has been somewhat of an unadulterated mess, the Seattle Mariners do have some hope for the future, namely in the infield. Let’s take a tour, shall we?
Currently, perennial disappointment Justin Smoak is manning first for Seattle, but the switch-hitter is running out of time to prove himself as an offensive cornerstone. On the horizon is 2013 1st rounder DJ Peterson. Peterson played third at New Mexico, and while he’s stated very clearly that he’d like to remain at the hot corner, he will be moving over to first sometime soon. Peterson is an advanced college hitter who should move quickly, and there’s a chance we see him in the bigs sometime late next year. Peterson isn’t seen as a big-time power prospect, but he’s already hit one past the protective netting in Everett, and my sources tell me the ball is still rolling down the street.
While Peterson is the most likely to end up at first, Jesus Montero was working there in AAA before landing on the DL. Montero can continue to work in the field all he wants, but he’ll never be able to play anywhere on the diamond.
Nick Franklin is the man of the future, and he’s already playing well in the big leagues. Franklin is a slim man, but he does have some power from both sides of the plate. Franklin looks real smooth at the plate, and the youngster is a patient hitter who likes to take walks if the opportunity presents itself. Frankly, I’m a bit surprised Franklin has done so well right out of the gate, but he’s got a good future ahead of him. Think 10-15 homers with a .280 average and a good OBP for Franklin’s future performance.
Dustin Ackley has been the present and future for most of the last three years, but now the former top prospect is working in the outfield in Tacoma. Ackley played a bit of center field in college before injuring his throwing arm, but odds are he ends up in left when coming back to the bigs. I’ve seen far too much good from Ackley to believe he can’t hit in the majors, but his future is still up in the air. If he comes back and hits, owners will be able to enjoy Ackley at second next season.
Slick fielding Brendan Ryan has turned in a suitable offensive performance recently, but he’s still no one fantasy owners want on their teams. Luckily for all us roto players, Ryan isn’t long for his starting job.
In the minors is Brad Miller, a recent high draft pick. Miller is crushing the ball down in AAA Tacoma, and he should be given a brief big league cameo in August and September. Miller’s weird swing is part of the reason he fell in the draft, but when I watched the lefty in spring training, I was impressed. Miller hits the ball hard, displays patience at the plate, and does a good job making contact. He’s displayed good HR power in the minors, but he’s not going to be a masher in the bigs. The only question surrounding Miller is his defensive deficiencies. Miller has the range to play short, but he does make his fair share of blunders. While his bat should more than make up for his errors, some big league managers will have a problem with a poor defensive player in the hole.
The hot corner is really simple: Kyle Seager. Seager is a steadily good third baseman who is only getting better. He’s probably a better real-life player than fantasy one, but he’s still a starting roto third baseman.