5 Mariners make ESPN’s MLB top 100 — how do they compare to Astros?

Mar 23, 2023, 12:00 PM

Mariners Julio Rodríguez Logan Gilbert...

Logan Gilbert, Julio Rodríguez and other Mariners high five prior to Game 2 of the 2022 ALDS in Houston. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners are getting some national recognition going into the 2023 MLB season.

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At the same time that rising superstar Julio Rodríguez graces the cover of Sports Illustrated for the publication’s annual MLB preview edition, he and some of his M’s teammates are all over a list by another sports media giant. ESPN released its rankings of the top 100 players in MLB on Thursday, and Rodríguez leads a contingent of five Seattle players included.

The Mariners on the list are:

• No. 7, CF Julio Rodríguez
• No. 37, SP Luis Castillo
• No. 91, SP George Kirby
• No. 98, SP Logan Gilbert
• No. 99, RF Teoscar Hernández

To read the full ESPN article with the top 100 list, click here.

So what can be taken away from the list? First, the No. 7 ranking for Rodríguez is significant for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a full eight positions before the first player from the defending champion Houston Astros, Yordan Álvarez, shows up. And second, in a “Season Prediction” for Rodríguez, ESPN senior writer David Schoenfield not only predicts that he will finish in the top three of the American League MVP but that he will lead Seattle in a surprise AL West title run.

Got your attention now?

There’s more where that came from when it comes to the M’s getting the upper hand in the rankings over Houston. Seattle’s top-two combo of Rodríguez plus Castillo at No. 37 is ahead of the Astros’ two highest-ranked players, Alvarez and fellow outfielder Kyle Tucker, who is No. 38.

After that, though, the Astros’ depth becomes evident. Following Tucker at No. 39 is Houston third baseman Alex Bregman, then shortly after comes Astros pitcher Framber Valdez at No. 42. In total, Houston has eight players in the top 100, signifying the perceived gap between a perennial AL power and its up-and-coming division rival.

The AL West in general is expected to be more competitive this season, and the ESPN list reflects that. The Angels have the top two players in the game overall, Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, though they have no other players in the top 100. Three Rangers, meanwhile, make an appearance – Corey Seager (40), Jacob deGrom (44) and Marcus Semien (65).

So where do the Mariners sit when it all shakes out? Some good news is that they have more two players on the list than the New York Yankees (three), but they still trail Houston, Toronto (seven), the New York Mets (seven), Atlanta (six), Cleveland (six), San Diego (six) and Philadelphia (six) in total players in the top 100.

The M’s will wrap up spring training Monday and head north for opening day on Thursday, March 30 in a 7:10 p.m. game at T-Mobile Park against the Guardians. Coverage of every Mariners game is carried live on Seattle Sports beginning with a one-hour pregame show for regular season and postseason broadcasts.

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