Originally posted on Razzball  |  Last updated 1/4/12

Seattle Mariners 2011 Minor League Review

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America:

2011 (18) | 2010 (12) | 2009 (24) | 2008 (12) | 2007 (24) | 2006 (27)

2011 Affiliate Records

MLB: [67-95] AL West

AAA: [70-74] Pacific Coast League – Tacoma

AA: [68-72] Southern League – Jackson

A+: [59-81] California League – High Desert

A: [63-76] Midwest League – Clinton

A(ss): [37-39] Northwest League – Everett

R:  [32-36] Appalachian League – Pulaski

The Run Down

The spacious Safeco Field is a wonderful ballpark in which to begin a pitching career.  The Seattle farm system is deep with pitching, and it’s not difficult to envision a handful of prospects making an impact on the mound this year.  Beyond the names I’ve noted, keep an eye on relief arms like Stephen Pryor and Erasmo Ramirez – both could occupy roles in the M’s pen.  Also, Mauricio Robles will be back from elbow surgery and could be ready for Major League duty before long.  Offensively, the Seattle farm system took a tragic hit with the murder of Greg Halman.  But with youthful infield prospects like Nick Franklin and Francisco Martinez, in addition to some big league-ready talent (Liddi, Catricala, Chiang), Mariners fans have reason for hope in the coming years.

Arizona Fall League Players – Peoria Javelinas

Steven Hensley (RHP); Danny Hultzen (LHP); Brian Moran (LHP); Forrest Snow (RHP); Adam Moore (C); Nick Franklin (SS); Chih-Hsien Chiang (OF)

Graduated Prospects

Dustin Ackley (2B); Mike Carp (1B); Kyle Seager (2B/3B); Trayvon Robinson (OF); Carlos Peguero (OF); Michael Pineda (RHP); Blake Beaven (RHP); Charlie Furbush (LHP); Tom Wilhelmsen (RHP)

Players of Interest

Hitters

Alex Liddi | 3B:

Liddi has Mark Reynolds upside. By that I mean:  .225 AVG, 30 + homers, and a shizzload of strikeouts.  At just 23 years old, there’s still time for him to improve on his plate discipline and cut down on the K’s.  Scouts like his glove at third, too.  With his power potential, if he’s getting regular AB’s Liddi will be worth consideration in most formats.

Vinnie Catricala | 3B/1B/OF:

In 600 PA between High A and Double-A, Catricala posted 2011 slash line of .349/.421/.601.  With 17 stolen bases, he also showed a little speed.  His 77 XBH, including 25 homers, are good indicators that Catricala is at least ready for AAA, if not for MLB.  Provided he can fit in somewhere defensively, I expect him up by September, at the latest.

Pitchers

Danny Hultzen | LHP – SP:

Hultzen won’t require much time in the minors.  Seattle’s first selection (second overall) from the June Draft pitched professionally for the first time in the Arizona Fall League, where he posted a 1.40 ERA over six starts.  The consensus on Hultzen:  he’ll be an effective Major League starter very soon.  Ultimately, though, he lacks the dominant offerings of an ace, and probably projects more like a number two starter.  Regardless of all that, Hultzen seems like a can’t-miss guy.  He’ll absolutely be worth owning as soon as he’s called up, and he might even make the rotation out of spring training.

James Paxton | LHP – SP:

As a lefty, frontline starter, Paxton projects similarly to Hultzen.  After collecting 131 K’s and a 2.37 ERA in 95 IP between Low A and AA in 2011, it seems he won’t need much more time in the farm system.  Given the whole Safeco Field thing, Paxton will be a smart addition to any fantasy roster as soon as he’s up.

Chance Ruffin | RHP – RP:

Acquired in the Doug Fister swap, Ruffin should break camp with the big club and immediately fit into a late-innings relief role.  The 48th selection in the 2010 Draft pitched in only 44 games before Seattle obtained him and promoted him directly to their big league bullpen.  In those 44 minor league games (48.2 IP) Ruffin posted a 2.03 ERA, 60 K’s and 19 saves.  The righty features a mid-90s fastball and counters with a slider and the occasional curve.

Dan Cortés | RHP – RP:

Stephen describes Cortés accurately in his M’s piece a year ago, “…appears to be a high-risk, high-reward late innings reliever. Throws a 96 to 98 MPH fastball, a ‘hammer 12-to-6 curve’ and a sharp slider with work in progress changeup… Beyond control and command issues, Cortes has a lot of upside.”

Honorable Mention

Hitters

Nick Franklin | SS:

Arguably Seattle’s best hitting prospect, Franklin will be 21 in March and will likely return to AA to begin 2012.  The M’s are surely eager to replace Brendan Ryan’s bat at shortstop, but Franklin is still probably a year away from taking over.  Barring a setback, he should be in line for a late-season call up and ready for regular action in 2013.

Chih-Hsien Chiang | OF:

Seattle acquired Chiang as a part of the Erik Bedard trade with Boston.  Although his post-trade line in the Southern League wasn’t so impressive (.208/.255/.262), his Eastern League numbers while in the Red Sox organization were tremendous, and his overall 2011 reads:  .302/.361/.537 with 66 XBH (18 HR) in 499 trips to the plate.  Chiang likely starts 2012 in Tacoma, but he’ll be in the discussion for playing time in centerfield if The Big FraGu isn’t healthy.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: NFL modifies injured reserve rule

Report: Cowboys DE facing four game-ban for supplement

Charlie Sheen working on ‘Major League 3’ with original cast

Report: Odell Beckham Jr. expected at OTAs Thursday after no-show

Kelvin Benjamin looks overweight and slow during drill

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Red Sox players feel John Farrell does not back them enough in media

CBS producer calls Tony Romo the next John Madden

Seattle Times writer apologizes to Michael Bennett

Predators fans throw catfish on ice to celebrate Stanley Cup berth

WATCH: Draymond Green tries just a little to hard to sell foul

Eddie George fires up Predators fans before Game 4 vs Ducks

Box Score 5/23: Preds, Warriors move on to respective Finals

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

The 'Happy birthday to two of the NBA's all-time antagonists' quiz

The shortstop evolution continues to raise the ceiling

Three Up, Three Down: Astros dominate in every category

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

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

The 'Happy birthday to two of the NBA's all-time antagonists' quiz

The shortstop evolution continues to raise the ceiling

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker