SHANNON DRAYER

Notebook: Baseball America and Keith Law weigh in on the Mariners

Nov 30, 2016, 5:05 PM | Updated: Dec 1, 2016, 12:17 pm

Baseball America rates Mitch Haniger, acquired in the Taijuan Walker trade, as the Mariners' No. 5 ...

Baseball America rates Mitch Haniger, acquired in the Taijuan Walker trade, as the Mariners' No. 5 prospect. (AP)

(AP)

Baseball America has released its top 10 prospects list for the Mariners and it looks quite different from a year ago. The 2017 list is as follows:

1. Kyle Lewis, OF
2. Tyler O’Neill, OF
3. Luiz Gohara, LHP
4. Nick Neidert, RHP
5. Mitch Haniger, OF
6. Andrew Moore, RHP
7. Drew Jackson, SS
8. Max Povse, RHP
9. Dan Altavilla, RHP
10. Daniel Vogelbach, 1B

Obviously this list has been in flux the last two weeks with the moves general manager Jerry Dipoto has been making. Pitching dominates the list, although the two highest-rated pitchers are most likely the furthest away from the big leagues. There are as many as four players on this list that have a decent to better-than-decent chance to make the team out of spring training and one in Andrew Moore who should be minor-league depth in 2017 if he continues to progress.  Four of the 10 players have been brought into the organization by Dipoto.

Taking a look at the 2016 list:

1. Alex Jackson, OF
2. Edwin Diaz, RHP
3. Drew Jackson, SS
4. Tyler O’Neill, OF
5. Nick Neidert, RHP
6. Luiz Gohara, LHP
7. Braden Bishop, OF
8. Andrew Moore, OF
9. Boog Powell, OF
10. D.J. Peterson, 1B/3B

Jackson, of course, is gone but the rest remain in the organization. One has graduated to the big-league roster and three have fallen off the list. There have been a couple of flip flops, but it would appear that Baseball America still feels relatively good about the younger players it placed on the list a year ago.

Of course, actual performance is more important than how any publication views a player and with young players, it is constantly evolving. As for rankings of entire systems, the Mariners have been ranked very low for some time, but I don’t believe that is completely reflective of what is going on down on the farm. With the turnaround in records we saw this year and the ability of Dipoto to make a number of moves – both this year and last – involving players from the minors to fill immediate needs, I believe this speaks better to the actual quality in the system. It’s not great, yet, but I don’t believe it is as poor as it was ranked heading into 2016.

Individual assessments like the ones released Wednesday are a little different as more study can be put into a much smaller number of players who are considered to be near the top in an organization. All the players on the top 10 list, and more – pitcher Thyago Vieira comes to mind immediately – warrant keeping an eye on throughout the season.

In addition to the top 10 list, Baseball America also put out a Mariners prospects Best Tools list and a projected 2020 lineup.

Notes

• ESPN’s Keith Law was a guest with John Clayton Wednesday and he gave his view of Dipoto’s most recent moves, not only where he thinks they put the Mariners today, but also why the moves were made. I think he is pretty good on the why, but I would have to say his evaluation of Jean Segura’s fit at shortstop appears to be off. “He’s older. His body is a little thicker. Moving him back to shortstop with (Robinson) Cano also showing some decline defensively at second base could put the Mariners in a bad spot in terms of middle-infield defense. If they had a great second baseman and an Adrian Beltre-type at third, maybe I would be less concerned,” Law said. Cano was brilliant at second last year and Kyle Seager’s defensive numbers were better than Beltre’s in most categories. I’m not worried about the Mariners’ infield defense. In fact, I am very interested to see what happens when Segura gets to the Mariners, who shift more than any team in baseball. Positioning could and should help him at short.

• Some interesting things on Twitter Wednesday (and if you don’t follow me, you should @shannondrayer) starting with what looks to be the launching of the campaign to get Edgar Martinez into the Hall of Fame. The Mariners have put all sorts of useful info about Edgar in this piece. If you want to track Edgar’s progress, follow @NotMrTibbs, who tracks all published Hall of Fame ballots.

• For the Spanish speakers, there would appear to be controversy brewing between two former Mariners shortstops regarding the Venezuelan WBC team. Marcos Grunfeld, a reporter in Venezuela and good follow for news on Venezulean baseball players, gives the rundown on his Twitter feed.

• Heads up on a couple of upcoming dates to watch: Assuming the CBA gets worked out and there is not work stoppage, Friday is the non-tender deadline. Teams must offer contracts to their arbitration-eligible players or the player becomes a free agent. The Winter Meetings start Monday and the Rule 5 Draft is next Thursday.

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