Mariners Hot Stove: How far ahead is M’s farm system in AL West?

Jan 26, 2022, 12:12 PM | Updated: 1:42 pm
Mariners Juilo Rodríguez...
Mariners prospect Julio Rodríguez reacts after his walk-off single in February 2021 spring training game. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

If you missed 710 ESPN Seattle’s Mariners Hot Stove at 7 p.m. Tuesday night, never fear – we have a podcast.

Can Kyle Lewis and Evan White contribute to the Mariners in 2022?

A Hot Stove podcast with a twist. With team broadcasters limited in what they can do during the lockout, we’re incorporating some of our Talking Mariners podcast into the weekly one-hour show, with myself co-hosting with James “Boy Howdy” Osborn.

This week’s edition of the show featured a conversation with Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser, who spoke about the Mariners placing five players on the recently released Top 100 list. As Glaser has made the rounds in the past week talking about Julio Rodríguez, George Kirby, Noelvi Marte, Matt Brash and Brandon Williamson, we were interested to get his insight on the competition – specifically in the American League West – in 2022 and beyond.

Related: Three M’s in top 20, five in top 100 of new Baseball America rankings

“The Mariners have far and away the strongest farm system among AL West teams,” said Glaser, pointing out that the Mariners set out to accumulate talent in their “step back” while others around them were focused on contending or trying to contend.

“They’re in a great place.”

As for the rest of the division, the Angels and A’s each have just one player on the top 100 list, the Astros have two and the Rangers have three. With the acquisitions of Marcus Semien and Corey Seager, Texas is attempting to build quickly, but according to Glaser it will take time.

“This is now really the first time they kind of have some of the horses on the major league roster or in their farm system where you can say, ‘OK, they are moving in the right direction,'” he said.

In recent years, Glaser has seen the Rangers tout what he called “dubious talent” in their farm system, and players at the big league level like Joey Gallo and Rougned Odor didn’t quite play up to the hype. What they are doing now is different, though.

“They have turned the page on that,” he said. “They traded a bunch of guys at the (2021 MLB trade) deadline, really brought in some interesting talented players. They’ve invested in some really good players in the draft – (third baseman) Josh Jung, (pitcher) Jack Leiter this year. I think really for the first time in years the Rangers are moving in the right direction, but it just started. It’s what they did at this trade deadline. It’s what they did in the last two drafts. It’s still a couple of years away from building up to a place where they are going to have both the major league talent and the farm system talent to really contend. Signing Marcus Semien, signing Corey Seager, signing Jon Gray, the start is strong but there are a lot of steps here before the Rangers are ready to compete in the AL West.”

The story of course is different from their Texas neighbors, the Houston Astros, who continue to sit at the top of the division despite key losses in free agency. Their strength in the minors, according to Glaser: development.

“They have done a good job of finding guys under the radar and turning them into something,” he said. “They had this run where they were drafting at the top of the draft, spending a bunch of money internationally, bringing up home grown stars. Now it’s more about finding gems that are maybe not that highly touted.”

The tide is turning, however. Slowly.

“They are staring to lose some serious talent,” he continued. “I will say this: The Astros are going to remain competitive. The bottom is not going to drop out here, they still have good players in the major leagues and they do a good job of developing some guys in the farm system that maybe you are not paying as much attention to. But again, it’s hard to replace (George) Springer, (Carlos) Correa, and (José) Altuve is starting to get a little older so we will see. But they have had a great run and I expect will remain competitive for at least one, two or maybe three years.”

Mariners Radio Network producer/engineer Gary Hill also checks in on the Hot Stove with his weekly “break it down” segment. This week he takes a look at how runs are being scored in the major leagues, which then kicked off a Hot Stove conversation about the Mariners’ biggest remaining need. Last, but hardly least, we once again take the opportunity to learn a little bit more about the baseball connection for a 710 ESPN Seattle host, with Bob Stelton talking about how he looks to bring baseball to the fans each afternoon on Wyman and Bob.

Jake and Stacy: The important message Mitch Haniger sent about the ’22 M’s

Date Starting Pitcher
Saturday, May 28 @ 7:10 pm

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
Chance Light Rain
High 60° | Low 51°
Roof is open
Astros at Mariners today at 7:10pm

Shannon Drayer

Mariners Jarred Kelenic...
Shannon Drayer

Drayer: Kelenic’s demotion is best way to get him where Mariners need him to be

What should you know about Jarred Kelenic's demotion by the Mariners to Triple-A? Shannon Drayer has the details with help from Mike Blowers.
15 days ago
Mariners Jarred Kelenic...
Shannon Drayer

Drayer: Mariners’ Kelenic is scuffling, but still in good place to take step forward

It's been a slow start for Jarred Kelenic, but Shannon Drayer breaks down why he and the Mariners feel he's trending in the right direction.
22 days ago
Mariners manager Scott Servais protests a call by umpire Shane Livensparger on Thursday. (Photo by ...
Shannon Drayer

Mariners address frustrating strike calls against rookie Julio Rodríguez

Mariners manager Scott Servais finally let an umpire have it for a called strike 3 on Julio Rodríguez, and revealed how the M's are addressing it.
29 days ago
Mariners Logan Gilbert...
Shannon Drayer

Drayer: If this is breakout season for Mariners’ Logan Gilbert, he’s off to great start

Robbie Ray is the reigning AL Cy Young and Matt Brash has grabbed the attention, but it's Logan Gilbert leading the charge for the Mariners' rotation.
1 month ago
Mariners Julio Rodríguez...
Shannon Drayer

Drayer on Mariners: 11 things that stand out through 10 games

The Mariners are 5-5 as they head into their fourth series of the season Tuesday. M's insider Shannon Drayer shares her first impressions.
1 month ago
Mariners Mitch Haniger Ty France...
Shannon Drayer

What the Mariners are bringing north: Drayer breaks down the roster

The Mariners have their roster set as they move north for the regular season. Shannon Drayer details everything you need to know.
2 months ago
Mariners Hot Stove: How far ahead is M’s farm system in AL West?