These “Top Prospect” lists come out periodically from various outlets, and everyone has a different ranking of talent. Here’s one from a guy that covers the minor leagues as closely as anyone, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com.
Mayo’s list of the Top 50 prospects doesn’t contain a single Mariner. Part of that is because Carlos Triunfel, their most dynamic prospect, has been out since mid-April with a fractured fibula in his left leg and ligament damage in his left ankle. Matt Tuiasosopo, who also was on the rise, was out much of the season following elbow surgery. Part of it, perhaps, is because guys like Greg Halman, and Phillippe Aumont haven’t fully taken off yet, and maybe someone like Michael Saunders is under-appreciated. I know Saunders is in the majors now, but so is recently promoted Chris Tillman (an ex-Mariner farmhand that went to Baltimore in the Adam Jones deal), and he’s on the list, so there seems to be some wiggle room.
But mostly it’s because the Mariners are simply lacking in big upside prospects that are close to major-league ready. That’s something that Jack Zduriencik, as a former well-respected scouting director that oversaw the resurrection of the Brewers’ farm system, should be able to address. We’ll see soon what Tom McNamara’s first draft yields, but I’d expect to see Dustin Ackley high on these lists shortly after the Mariners get him signed. And, yes, I expect him to get signed by the Aug. 17 deadline, though not without Scott Boras making them go through some pain and suffering. It’s what he does.
One ominous sign for the Mariners: The Rangers, already having a breakout season at the major-league level, have two in Mayo’s top 10 (first baseman Justin Smoak and pitcher Neftali Feliz) and four in the top 50. Their farm system is now routinely ranked as one of the top three, if not the best, in MLB.