Fortunately for me, last year’s Mariners list came out after the big trade that sent Michael Pineda to the Yankees and brought Jesus Montero to Seattle. The trade resulted in some quirkiness in the rankings as Montero ranked atop two separate lists last year.
Prior to the trade, right-hander Taijuan Walker was the top prospect in the system and while Montero was a very good prospect, there was some pause on my end concerning which player would rank first. Walker has an incredible ceiling with the potential to front a big league rotation once his development is complete. Ultimately, Montero’s proximity to the Major Leagues, middle-of-the-order potential and even his nominal catching ability forced him to the top. I don’t regret anything with that last minute decision.
Danny Hultzen had a rough year in 2012 but that doesn’t change the fact that he would have sat in the third spot on this list. Both pitchers project as number three or four starters but Hultzen carries less risk.
If Nick Franklin truly projected to stay at shortstop, he would have ranked third on last year’s list, but he looks more like an offense-oriented second baseman, pushing his ceiling down just a bit. I really like Franklin and I was tempted to push him into the top three or four in spite his defensive projection, but ultimately, I couldn’t justify it for a second baseman.
I continue to believe in Francisco Martinez and I think he could still have a big league role. Ranking him in the top ten may signal that I got a little carried away, but looking at the talent behind him, there’s nobody that blatantly should have taken his spot.
Players like Vinnie Catricala and Chance Ruffin really didn’t belong on this list. In looking back, it seems as though I shied away from risk on this list, ranking those type and then continuing with players like Chih-Hsien Chiang and Alex Liddi; lower ceiling players that aren’t normally my cup of tea.
Instead, players like Brandon Maurer, Carter Capps, Stephen Pryor and Cavan Cohoes may have been more up my alley and more appropriate. I’m glad I fit Tyler Marlette on the back of the list and I still think he could breakout as a serious catching prospect.
One relatively significant omission from last year’s list was Brad Miller. In retrospect, he should have been there, if for no other reason than some of the players ahead of him didn’t deserve to be there. I still believe, just as I did a year ago, that Miller isn’t an everyday guy at the big league level, but he has a slim chance and that’s more than I can say for some of the other players I put on the list.
As I prepare this year’s Mariners list, I will be focusing on what types of players I am considering and how I am making my decisions. I have no good explanation for my deviation from my typical ranking style, other than I may have been suffering from some ranking fatigue by that point. All I can say is I will do my part to ensure these mistakes are not made again this year.