Mariners’ farm system is setting them up for sustained AL West success

Jan 14, 2021, 4:07 PM
Mariners Jarred Kelenic...
Jarred Kelenic could join Kyle Seager and Kyle Lewis on the Mariners roster in 2021. (Getty)

You hear a lot about the Mariners’ farm system these days.

Related: New prospect rankings show how far Mariners’ farm has come

You hear about Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodríguez being among the top minor league players in the game. You hear about Logan Gilbert, George Kirby and Emerson Hancock heading up a number of high-round draft picks with MLB rotation potential for Seattle. You hear about prospects joining the Mariners’ top 10 list after being added to the system through trade.

What you don’t hear so much about is how it compares to the Mariners’ competition in the American League West, specifically how far Seattle is ahead of the division’s four other teams. Expect that to change soon, though.

Baseball America national writer Kyle Glaser joined the Mariners Hot Stove Show on 710 ESPN Seattle this week, and his expert opinion on Seattle’s farm system is one that M’s fans are going to want to hear.

“There’s no question, this is one of the strongest top fives, and really you can extend even to the top seven if you want to go all the way down to George Kirby,” Glaser said when asked about how the Mariners’ top-tier prospect talent stacks up against the rest of MLB. “This is one of the strongest top of the systems in Major League Baseball. The Tampa Bay Rays are in that conversation, the San Diego Padres even after all of their trades are in that conversation, but there’s no question the Mariners have some elite, elite talent at the top of their system matched by few others in Major League Baseball today.”

And when you boil it down to just the AL West, it gets even better for the M’s.

“The Mariners have the best farm system in the American League West, and it’s a pretty wide margin,” Glaser said. “No other team in the AL West can match the mix of top-end talent and depth that the Mariners’ system has.”

OK, so what does that mean for Seattle’s chances of not just competing but actually being a favorite in the division in the not-so-distant future? It means that when you look ahead, there’s not a lot of options for the other AL West teams to keep the Mariners at bay.

“Will that translate to the Mariners reeling off a run of multiple division titles in a row? That’s going to depend on what the Astros do, for example, with some of their key free agents – George Springer, Michael Brantley leaving this year, you have Zack Greinke and Carlos Correa potentially leaving after next year,” Glaser said. “Depending on what they do with them, that’s certainly going to decide how likely it is the Mariners supplant them as one of the powers. Same thing with the A’s losing Marcus Semien and Liam Hendriks potentially in free agency this year.”

The Mariners’ arrival as a contender may require just a bit more patience, but the payoff could end up being well worth it.

“The Mariners’ future already looks bright,” Glaser said. “… There’s no question the Mariners have a really, really good opportunity to start becoming potentially a true power in the American League West and the American League as a whole.”

You can hear the full interview with Glaser beginning around 27 minutes into the podcast at this link or in the player below.

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Mariners’ farm system is setting them up for sustained AL West success