Bonus Mariners prospects: Nos. 21-25
The march of bonus prospects goes on. Next up: The Seattle Mariners.
As of today, the Mariners are just a game out of a Wild Card spot. While the current big league roster has certainly received a boost from big-time acquisitions like Robinson Cano, there’s also been a lot of help from within. Seager, Miller, Taylor, Ackley, Zunino, Paxton… just some of the names who were drafted and developed under the watch of GM Jack Zduriencik and his staff.
There’s more coming, with Taijuan Walker back and healthy, D.J. Peterson not far off… I wouldn’t say it’s the deepest system in the world, but they do keep churning out big leaguers. There is a bit of a dropoff at the back end of the list, but that doesn’t mean the 21-25 set can’t produce some talent.
21. John Hicks, C: A 2011 Draft pick out of the University of Virginia, HIcks struggled in Double-A in 2013. The good news is he went back this past year, performed well and earned a promotion to Triple-A. His best tool is his arm, throwing out a combined 38% of would-be basestealers in 2014 (He’s at 47% for his career). He greatly improved other aspects of his defensive game, cutting his passed balls total from a whopping 17 in 2013 to just two this past season. He also bounced back with the bat, hitting for average albeit without much power. He appears just about ready to help out as a big league backup soon.
22. Jack Reinheimer, SS: The East Carolina product was a fifth-round pick in the 2013 Draft and had a solid first full season as a pro in 2014. Most of it was spent in the Midwest League, though he did get bumped up late to the California League. He’s a solid defender who’s tools play up because of his plus instincts. He saw some time at second base as well, but the Mariners like to have their middle infielders play multiple positions as they move up, if at all possible (Nick Franklin, Chris Taylor stand out as examples). Reinhemer’s baserunning instincts also allow him to maximize his solid, though not plus, speed. His 39 steals in 2014 put him second in the organization. How much he’ll hit will determine what kind of future he’ll have.
23: Austin Cousino, OF: The Mariners like their college position players, don’t they? Cousino was their third-round selection from the most recent Draft (He was ranked No. 182 on our Draft Top 200.). The University of Kentucky product debuted in the short-season Northwest League this summer, hitting .266/.341/.402 while his 23 steals (in 27 attempts) were good for fourth in the league. He runs well and plays a very good defensive center field. It’s all going to be about the bat for Cousino. If he can hit for average and get on base (he’s not a power guy), he has the chance to patrol center field at the highest level.
24. Stephen Landazuri, RHP: Sometimes talent can be found in the later rounds. The M’s took Landazuri out of the California high school ranks in the 22nd round of the 2010 Draft and he spent the 2014 season in Double-A. He fits the mold of the “undersized right-hander,” but has shown a solid three-pitch mix with his fastball that touches 93-94 mph, a curveball and a changeup. He missed nearly two months of the season with an oblique injury. He’ll need to tighten up his command a bit, but could be a back end of the rotation type in the future.
25: Dylan Unsworth, RHP: It’s been a slow climb for this South African right-hander, who made his United States debut at age 17 back in 2010 (He struck out 44 and walked just one in the rookie-level Arizona Legaue that summer). A member of South Africa’s World Baseball Classic team, he struck out Shawn Green in a qualifier against Israel. He spent the 2014 season in High Desert, a horrific place for pitchers in the California League. He’s still a command/control type, and walked just 19 — while striking out 119 — in 119 innings. He has fringy stuff across the board and was way too hittable (11.5 hits per nine innings), but it will be interesting to see if he can make adjustments once he gets away from High Desert.