The Seattle Mariners have drastically altered their farm system through two incredible MLB Drafts in 2022 and 2023. Of the 20 prospects on this list, 10 of them were drafted in the last two years. One more, Felnin Celesten, was signed as an international free agent in 2023. These guys don’t make the list out of a lack of competition, either. They’re players who would be ranked similarly in most of the best farm systems in the Majors.
The one thing the organization lacks is pitching, but that’s not surprising considering they’ve recently graduated guys like George Kirby, Matt Brash, Bryce Miller, and Bryan Woo. Although, their pitchers are always closer to the Majors than you might think. None of the four pitchers I listed above spent any time in AAA before debuting in the Major Leagues. Lesser-known guys like Jimmy Joyce and Reid VanScoter could realistically log a handful of MLB starts this season.
Top Mariners’ Prospects
The Top Tier
1) Harry Ford – C, 21 YO
2023 Stats (A+): .253/.407/.423/15 HR/24 SB/19.4 K%/18.3 BB% in 582 PA
Harry Ford has now played two full minor league seasons where he’s shown a well-rounded skillset both for real-life and fantasy purposes. He also hasn’t yet moved away from catcher as his primary position, where he would have an even greater impact on fantasy teams. Ford’s arm strength and athleticism behind the plate should allow him to be impactful on the defensive side of the ball. As he continues to develop game power at the plate, the possibility of being the (2nd or 3rd) 20-20 catcher in MLB history will continue to rise. He’s already shown us that his speed will impact the base paths, having stolen 20+ bases in each of the last two seasons.
A 20/20 catcher alone is enough to get excited about, but Ford also brings incredible plate skills to the table. He’s increased his BB/K with each promotion and in 2023 his BB/K was 103/109, or 0.94. This fantastic plate discipline paired with a respectable contact rate of 73% should allow him to consistently perform well above other catchers in the player pool in batting average.
The Mariners have shown recently that they have no qualms about playing talented offensive catchers in the DH role, as Cal Raleigh saw an extra 76 PAs as a DH or pinch-hitter last season. They just signed Mitch Garver as their backup C/DH as well. Ford has secured everyday playing time in the minors by DH-ing multiple times each week. It may be expected due to the lack of competition for DH PAs at the lower levels, but it does prepare him for that kind of workload moving forward and into the Majors. His bat will find its way into the lineup on days when he isn’t catching, and he should continue to catch often enough to retain eligibility throughout his early-to-mid-twenties.
2) Cole Young – SS/2B, 20 YO
2023 Stats (A/A+): .279/.406/.448/11 HR/22 SB/14.9 K%/15.2 BB% in 625 PA
Cole Young cemented himself as a legit SS prospect in his first full season of professional baseball. After being drafted in the first round out of high school and proceeding to spray balls all over the field in his limited professional debut in 2022, he showcased his full range of talents in 2023. He’s increased his ISO at each level and even though his power ceiling likely doesn’t include a 30-HR season, he’ll be plenty valuable in the 15-20 range of home runs with 25+ extra bases mixed in as well.
Young should be a consistent 20-SB threat as he works through the Minors, as he already has a knack for drawing walks and has posted great contact rates. I see him as a table-setter in the lineup so the opportunity to run will be there. In his brief MiLB career, he’s posted 96 walks and 98 strikeouts, which further speaks to the great plate discipline he already possesses through his age-19 season.
3) Tyler Locklear – 1B, 23 YO
2023 MiLB Stats (CPX/A+/AA): .284/.398/.512/16 HR/12 SB/22.4 K%/11.9 BB% in 402 PA
Tyler Locklear had become a pretty popular sleeper pick by the time FYPD season came around this time last year. He was a college hitter outside of the Power 5 conferences that absolutely raked. It looks like the Mariners got him as a steal at 58th overall in the draft, as he’s establishing himself as a consistent offensive threat.
Locklear profiles to be a middle-of-the-order run producer who can potentially chip in double-digit steals as well. He has a strong lower half and incredible bat speed, which he was able to showcase in the Arizona Fall League in 2023. He’s going to be able to rise through the organization pretty quickly, as he’s already made it to AA and his bat is advanced enough to make at least one more jump up in 2023.
4) Jonatan Clase – OF, 22 YO
2023 Stats (A+/AA): .243/.357/.448/20 HR/83 SB/27.7 K%/14.1 BB% in 622 PA
Jonatan Clase stole how many bases in 2023? Even after his promotion to AA and the ensuing career-worst OBP of .331, he was still able to steal 62 bases in 489 PAs. During that stint in AA, he experienced an abnormally low BABIP, especially for someone as fast as he is. He also struck out at a career-high clip, but it was mitigated a bit by his ability to work deep into counts and take his walks.
Even in an offensive slump, Clase’s speed is impactful enough to keep him valuable both in real life and on fantasy rosters. He excels at keeping the ball off the ground, hitting a ton of line drives and fly balls. Even though his raw power isn’t super impressive, his approach to lift the ball allows him to tap into a bit more power.
5) Colt Emerson – SS/2B, 18 YO
2023 Stats (A+/AA): .405/.511/.577/2 HR/8 SB/16.2 K%/14.0 BB% in 136 PA
Colt Emerson may end up being the best value pick of FYPDs this offseason. You can typically pick him late in the first round, and if we didn’t have such a deep class of talent drafted in 2023 he might have gone closer to the top 5. He’s getting a lot of hype due to his fast start in professional ball in 2023, and it’s really difficult not to get caught up in awe of his stat line in the small sample.
The prep shortstop has a great hit tool and impressive athleticism, but it’s unclear how much power he’ll provide as he continues to develop. He makes consistent hard contact, but he currently has more of an all-fields approach that doesn’t maximize his raw power. Regardless, he has an extremely talented bat and could easily find himself in a similar position to Cole Young by next offseason.
6) Emerson Hancock – SP, 23 YO
2023 Stats (AA): 98.0 IP/4.32 ERA/26.0 K%/9.2 BB%
2023 Stats (MLB): 12.0 IP/4.50 ERA/12.2 K%/6.1 BB%
Emerson Hancock was the latest Mariners pitching prospect to skip the high-altitude parks of the Pacific Coast League in AAA and head right to the Majors. He didn’t generate nearly as much hype as Miller or Woo, and his results were pretty pedestrian. Hancock got to AA a full year before them but was passed up in the pecking order in 2023. His arsenal and his command is good but not great, and his upside outcome is a 4th or 5th starter for the M’s. There have been rumors this offseason of the team trading away a young starter, and whether it’s him or Miller or Woo, the deal would certainly create more opportunities for MLB starts for Hancock.
7) Jimmy Joyce – SP, 25 YO
2023 Stats (A+/AA): 70.0 IP/2.57 ERA/28.9 K%/6.9 BB%
Jimmy Joyce could be a sneaky pitching prospect to watch for the 2024 season in Seattle. The organization doesn’t have much pitching depth beyond their current five-man rotation and Emerson Hancock, and they were very lucky last year to see all of their impactful starters remain healthy throughout the season. It’s likely the M’s will need some spot starts here and there, and Joyce already has 30.2 quality AA innings under his belt.
As far as his actual skills that would allow him to take advantage of any opportunities, the most impactful weapon in his arsenal is his sinker. It has a huge amount of arm-side movement and consistently gets ground balls and weak contact. The slider looks similar to the movement profiles of past Mariners pitching prospects and has sharp, tight movement in favor of a sweeping slider. Overall, Joyce has a career groundball rate of 58.5%. That’s a large enough sample to be confident in his ability to suppress base hits and rallies going forward, and he could carve out a role as a quality innings eater. But don’t sleep on his strikeout skills either, as he posted a 16.1 SwStr% in A+ and a 12.3 SwStr% in AA.
Prospects Dynasty Managers Should Know
8) Lazaro Montes – OF, 23 YO
2023 Stats (CPX/A): .291/.430/.543/14 HR/2 SB/26.3 K%/17.6 BB% in 323 PA
Lazaro Montes is the Mariners’ best power-hitting prospect. He crushes the ball and he hasn’t posted a wRC+ lower than 150 at a level so far. But like most prospects with impressive exit velocities, he has an issue making consistent contact. Those issues have been mitigated so far due to extremely high BABIPs. As he continues to get promoted and sees better defensive players on the other side of the ball, he should see that number come back down to Earth.
9) Ryan Bliss – 2B/SS, 24 YO
2023 MiLB Stats (CPX/A/A+): .304/.378/.524/23 HR/55 SB/19.4 K%/9.4 BB% in 612 PA
Ryan Bliss set AA on fire for the first half of the 2023 season when he led the level with a .358 batting average. After a promotion to AAA he cooled off significantly and was traded at the deadline to the Mariners from the Diamondbacks. Despite his early season success in getting base hits, he doesn’t profile as an elite contact hitter. His overall contact rate was slightly below average, but he does have sneaky power and impactful speed.
10) Felnin Celesten – SS, 18 YO
2023 MiLB Stats – N/A
Felnin Celesten has yet to make his professional debut after signing with the Mariners as an international free agent in 2023. He arrived at Spring Training late due to Visa complications, and then he suffered a grade 2 hamstring strain that derailed his season. He was touted as the best prospect in his class of international signees, and he has a great hit tool from both sides of the plate with easy power especially from the left side.
11) Tai Peete – 2B/3B/SS, 18 YO
2023 Stats (A+/AA): .265/.331/.376/2 HR/6 SB/29.2 K%/9.2 BB% in 130 PA
Tai Peete had a modest showing in his first professional games in 2023 after being drafted in the late first round in July. For an 18-year-old infield prospect, Peete has tantalizing raw power and a very projectible body for further development. He’ll likely have to work through some swing-and-miss issues but he’s still young and has plenty of time to develop without the pressure of the other infield prospects above him.
12) Axel Sanchez – SS/2B, 21 YO
2023 Stats (A+): .199/.285/.353/7 HR/14 SB/29.2 K%/8.5 BB% in 305 PA
It looked like Axel Sanchez had started a breakout in the lower Minors in 2022, but he lost a lot of progress in 2023. He spent all of this time at High-A but struggled to make good consistent contact. His power output took a step back as well, but his moderate speed and steals output stayed consistent. I think there’s still plenty of raw talent but I’m not jumping at the opportunity to buy low – it’s more of a wait-and-see situation for me.
13) Jonny Farmelo – OF, 19 YO
2023 Stats (A+/AA): .200/.304/.450/1 HR/0 SB/34.8 K%/13.0 BB% in 23 PA
Jonny Farmelo was also drafted in the late first round of the 2023 draft, but his professional debut was delayed by a concussion. It’s difficult to take much away from his limited plate appearances to end the season, and his hit tool is much better than a 34.8% strikeout rate suggests. He didn’t show significant game power in high school, which is making me hesitant to rank him much higher.
14) Reid VanScoter – SP, 25 YO
2023 Stats (A+): 143.1 IP/3.27 ERA/26.0 K%/5.8 BB%
Reid VanScoter put in an impressive body of work in his first season of professional baseball. His proclivity for inducing ground balls and his immediate ability to handle a large workload points to his potential for working deep into games. The crafty lefty consistently works his low-to-mid-90s fastball inside to right-handed batters and induces lots of weak contact with it. The changeup is lethal and he needs to develop his breaking pitches a bit more to unlock another level of potential.
15) Brock Rodden – 2B/3B, 24 YO
2023 Stats (CPX/A): .317/.390/.461/3 HR/2 SB/17.1 K%/9.6 BB% in 187 PA
Brock Rodden is a switch-hitting infielder who handles left and right-handed pitching equally well. He hasn’t shown much game power yet, but he did hit 17 homers and 18 doubles in 55 games for Wichita State in 2023. He likely won’t offer double-digit steals, so his value as a middle infielder will likely hinge on him being able to hit 15+ home runs and maintain a good batting average in a healthy season.
The Next Five
Although these prospects do not crack the top-15, dynasty managers should keep their eye on these five players.
Michael Arroyo – 19 YO – SS with contact skills that are much better than his .234 AVG suggests; has sneaky speed too but doesn’t stand out at the position
Ben Williamson – 23 YO – The third baseman showed really good plate skills and speed in college in 2023, but had a disappointing professional debut
Brandon Schaeffer – 24 YO – Flashed good strikeout stuff in Low-A and lost it in High-A; SwStr% and CSW% suggest the drop off wasn’t that bad; old for the levels in ’23
Alberto Rodriguez – 23 YO – Outfielder who offers a well-rounded profile with moderate power, speed, and contact skills; lefty with no splits issues
Luis Suisbel – 21 YO – All-or-nothing 1B prospect with great raw power and contact issues; hit 12 HR in 284 PAs last year
*CSW%, SwStr%, Ball%, and Contact% are courtesy of the MiLB database available through a subscription to the Dynasty Dugout Substack.