Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 12/13/12
I caught the upper level Mariners affiliates (Jackson & Tacoma) on a swing through the southeast late in the minor league season and there are a handful of prospects from those teams I haven’t written up yet. Both of these teams were deep with big leaguers and have some interesting prospects beyond the obvious elite guys. Stefen Romero had the lowest draft profile player among these prospects, as a 12th round pick that signed for $100,000 out of Oregon State, but he kept barreling balls up when I saw him and he’s done it all year (.346/.387/.588 in Hi-A and AA). He does it mostly with a pull-oriented, aggressive, early count approach that normally doesn’t project well, but works for some guys in the big leagues, so you can’t rule him out. Normally this kind of approach comes with below-average hitting tools and allows the hitter to take advantage of the mistakes lower-level pitchers make, but falls apart against the advanced command of the upper levels. When Romero keeps raking in AA and picking his spots against better pitching, it starts becoming more likely he’s a useful big leaguer and he has some big league tools to back that up. Romero has solid bat speed, above-average raw power to his pull side and a simple swing. His plate discipline is just okay, there is some stiffness to his swing and there’s occasional length to his bath path with a high finish that can become an uppercut at times. Going back to my three elements of a hit tool, his tools are solid-average, his bat control shows flashes of average and his plate discipline is below. That’s enough to be a big league hitter with the power to punish a mistake and the 6’3, 225 Romero was actually playing second base for Jackson. His big frame and below-average feet will limit him to a corner utility role in the big leagues, but his hands looked good enough that he may be able to play a solid third base. Even as strictly a corner outfielder, he can be a righty platoon bat with a chance for a little more. Righty starter Erasmo Ramirez is interesting as a smallish (5’11, 210) finesse type, but his stuff and command were both just solid-average in my look. He keeps hitters off balance by working in all four quadrants of the zone and his best pitch was a 90-93 mph fastball that bumped 94, at times showing arm side run or cut. Ramirez’s heater was mostly flat and he tended to overthrow it up in the zone at the higher end of that range. He wasn’t getting swings and misses and he lost his release point a few times in the game, but at his best, would use his unpredictability to keep hitters off balance. Ramirez’s best off speed pitch was an 81-85 mph slider that he would vary the break of and had occasional late bite, flashing solid-average potential. His changeup was mostly average at 78-80 mph with some late fade along with occasionally using a 77-78 mph curveball as a fringy fourth pitch to change eye level. Ramirez would land on a stiff leg at times and this would cause him to elevate at times when he didn’t mean to. He has a clean arm and solid, simple delivery otherwise. I saw his command a little spottier than some other scouts in other looks, but I could see the elements are here for a rotation piece. As a sub-six-foot righty with solid-average stuff, the command and sequencing needs to be advanced for him to be a back-end starter and he showed enough flashes that I can see Ramirez doing just that. Francisco Martinez played center field for me in Jackson with one game at third. His actions are a little long for third base and his reads in center field are just okay. With solid-average speed, a slower first step and some projection left in his 6’2, 210 pound frame, he may fit best as a fourth outfielder than can play all three spots. His above-average arm can play anywhere and he could bring some value as a guy that can also play some infield in a pinch At the plate, there’s some obvious bat speed, an ability to make contact and a line drive swing with future average raw power. Martinez’s biggest issue is loose plate discipline that hampers his ability to hit for average. He has some trouble identifying off-speed pitches and commits early to pitches, making it look like he’s guessing. He has solid bat control and an ability to square some pitches up, but his linear bat path holds him back. His plate discipline makes it harder to make contact, so a flatter bat path puts him in the zone longer to help with contact, but also limits his raw power: the saving grace of a similar hitter in teammate Romero. Boiling it down, Martinez’s lack of feel for hitting is undermining his impressive tool package and now he’s getting old enough that performance outweighs tools. I can’t project Martinez as more than a cup of coffee guy with some versatility and upside that he likely won’t live up to. Along with Martinez, another of the pieces acquire for Doug Fister, lefty reliever Charlie Furbush was rehabbing for Tacoma for me and the first two things you notice about him is his huge frame (6’6, 220) and his crossfire delivery. The delivery and his three-quarters slot ratchets up the deception and life on his pitches and when you combine those things with his length, Furbush’s stuff across the board plays up better than the raw scouting grades. Furbush’s 90-92 mph heater has plus two-seam life and he spotted it consistently down in the zone. He backs that up with an above-average 77-80 mph curveball with 11-to-5 tilt, late snap and good depth. Furbush made some adjustments this year to unlock his potential and the numbers bear that out. A 6’6 lefty with two above average to plus pitches, plus-plus deception, heavy life and good feel is a shutdown setup guy and a potentially very rich man if he can stay healthy.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Redick gives Clippers ‘F-minus’ grade for losing Jordan

Report: PGA pulls Grand Slam event from Trump course

Three things to watch for on Hard Knocks with the Texans

Pierre-Paul could face charges for possession of fireworks

Report: Warriors trade David Lee to Celtics for Gerald Wallace

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rivers believes Gates' PED use was unintentional

Favre felt 'bothered' by Green Bay's decision to trade him

Ned Yost explains Alex Rodriguez’s All-Star Game snub

Donovan McNabb arrested for DUI after rear-ending car

It is progress time for the Philadelphia 76ers

Andrew Luck talks Super Bowl hopes and Patriots

Vin Scully teaching the history of the American flag is a national treasure

Top MLS players at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup

How the Pacers' new identity will look

Matt Bonner blames iPhone 6 for elbow injury, shooting woes

Evaluating Tarasenko’s eight-year, $60M contract

Tigers should accept reality and become trade deadline sellers

5 running backs who could break the Heisman Trophy streak

Roy Halladay snaps selfie while getting a speeding ticket

National Basketball Players Association to set up heath insurance for retirees

'Corrected' 2015 MLB All-Star Game picks

NHL expansion process begins, application cutoff set for Aug. 10

Cardinals send rookies to Starbucks to pick up order

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top MLS players at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup

5 RBs who could break the Heisman Trophy streak

Watch to watch on Hard Knocks with the Texans

Tigers should become trade deadline sellers

JPP could face criminal charges?

'Corrected' 2015 MLB All-Star Game picks

MLB's 2015 All-Star snubs

Gronk, David Ortiz in latest Dunkin Donuts iced coffee video

The 2015 All-Star reserves & pitchers

Are LeBron, Cavs just playing teenage games?

Bucks threatens move to Vegas, Seattle

Bryce Harper to skip Home Run Derby

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.