(Taijuan Walker and James Paxton answer questions at the recent FanFest at Safeco Field. Broadcaster Rick Rizzs is far left. Seattle Times photo by Alan Berner).
Keith Law’s annual organizational rankings were released today, and the Mariners fared pretty well. They are No. 11, which is actually down a spot from his rankings heading into the 2011 season but still indicative of improvement in a farm system he ranked 21st in 2010. Note that Law’s rankings are behind ESPN’s pay wall.
Also, FanGraphs today released their Top 15 Mariners’ prospects, which is also worth a look. The one surprise (to me, anyway) was shortstop Martin Peguero, ranked No. 9.
Law only looks at players who haven’t lost their rookie eligibility, so Jesus Montero is considered, while Dustin Ackley isn’t. The only exception to that is that he doesn’t count first-year players from the Japan major league, who are technically rookies by MLB’s standards but not by Law’s.
In his comment, Law notes that the Mariners have a great front five (and I assume he’s talking about Montero, Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker, James Paxton and shortstop Nick Franklin, who top virtually every Mariners’ prospects ranking), “but the gap between No. 5 and No. 10 in their system is huge.”
Interestingly, Law puts the Yankees 10th, one spot ahead of the Mariners, and mentions pitcher Jose Campos — acquired in the Montero trade — as having “star potential.” Baseball America had Campos ranked as the Mariners’ No. 5 prospect before the trade.
The Padres, by the way, are the top-rated farm system by Law. In the AL West, he has Texas seventh (and that’s without counting Yu Darvish), Oakland 9th, the Angels 15th, and the Astros (who join the division in 2013) at 27th.