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State of the Farm: When I was younger, so much younger than today….”

Prospect rankings primer

 The Top Ten

  1. RHP Taijuan Walker
  2. C Mike Zunino
  3. LHP Danny Hultzen
  4. IF Nick Franklin
  5. LHP James Paxton
  6. RHP Brandon Maurer
  7. LHP Luiz Gohara
  8. RHP Victor Sanchez
  9. LHP Tyler Pike
  10. IF/OF Stefen Romero

1. Taijuan Walker

Position: RHP
DOB: 08/13/1992
Height/Weight: 6’4’’ 210 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2010 draft, Yucaipa High School (Yucaipa, CA)
2012 Stats: 4.69 ERA (126.2 IP, 124 H, 118 K, 50 BB) at Double-A Jackson
The Tools: 7 FB; 6 potential CB; 6 CT

What Happened in 2012: After an impressive full-season debut in 2011, Walker jumped straight to Double-A in 2012, making 25 starts and blossoming into one the top pitching prospects in the game.

Strengths: Ultra-fast arm; impressive size/athleticism; from easy release, fastball works in the 93-97 range; pitch shows late action to the arm-side; can push velocity higher in bursts; curveball flashes plus and should develop into consistent plus offering; pitch features a tight rotation and heavy vertical action; cut fastball already plays as a plus pitch, with upper-80s/low 90s velocity and late glove-side slice; shows some feel for a changeup; high-end competitor.

Weaknesses: Arm action can get long; delivery can lose lower half/get arm-heavy; fastball command is fringe-average; can slip under curveball and lose the sharp break; can get slurvy and loose; changeup can get deliberate and lacks turnover.

Overall Future Potential: 7; no. 1 starter profile

Explanation of Risk: High risk; likely to be a major-league pitcher, but high-end ceiling comes with risk; needs command improvement; secondary consistency.

Fantasy Future: Has the potential to be a true top-of-the-rotation arm, with high strikeout ability.

The Year Ahead: Walker is far from a finished product, so he will need more seasoning in the minors in order to refine his command and improve his secondary offerings. With a potent fastball and a nasty cutter, Walker can often look more like a reliever who is starting than a true starter, so he will need to add more nuance to the arsenal by taking steps forward with the changeup and finding more consistency with the curveball. The total package could be a legit no. 1 starter at the highest level, but there is more work to be done before the Mariners can celebrate that reality.

Major league ETA: 2013

2. Mike Zunino
Position: C
DOB: 03/25/1991
Height/Weight: 6’2’’ 220 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2012 draft, University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)
2012 Stats: .373/.474/.736 at short-season Everett (29 games); .333/.386/.588 at Double-A Jackson (15 games)
The Tools: 5+ hit; 5 power; 5+ arm; 5 glove

What Happened in 2012: After getting drafted third overall, Zunino proceeded to stomp on professional pitching for the next 44 games, solidifying his status as one of the top catching prospects in the minors. 

Strengths: Quality bat speed can put good wood to ball; good raw power; ability to hit 15-20 HR in majors; good catch-and-throw skills behind the plate; fast-track player; high floor. 

Weaknesses: Hit tool likely to play as 5; will have exploitable holes; early extension opens up inner-half, limits barrel control; receiving skills are fringe at present; lateral movement (framing/blocking) needs to improve; drifting issues; ball carries after impact; bat ahead of glove.

Overall Future Potential: High 5; first-division potential

Explanation of Risk: Moderate risk; high-floor player, but receiving skills are fringe at present; bat could play under projection.

Fantasy Future: Likely to be a 5/5 bat behind the plate, with a chance to hit .265-plus with 15-plus homers from a premium defensive spot.

The Year Ahead: Zunino needs to improve his receiving skills, but he is near major league-ready player who can contribute at some point in 2013. His bat will play down the lineup, with fringe-average to solid-average grades on the hit/power. While it might seem like a knock to suggest Zunino is only a role 5 player, the value plays up because balanced glove/bat catchers are hot commodities, especially when they will be under team control for six seasons.

Major league ETA: 2013

3. Danny Hultzen
Position: LHP
DOB: 11/28/1989
Height/Weight: 6’3’’ 200 lbs.
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2011 draft, University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)
2012 Stats: 1.19 ERA (75.1 IP, 38 H, 79 K, 32 BB) at Double-A Jackson; 5.92 ERA (48.2 IP, 49 H, 57 K, 43 BB) at Triple-A Tacoma
The Tools: 5+ FB; 6 CH; 5 SL

What Happened in 2012: Hultzen made his much anticipated minor-league debut, blowing away the competition in Double-A before facing a harsh reality after a promotion to Triple-A.

Strengths: Plus pitchability; knows his arsenal and can execute every pitch; fastball will work in the low 90s and can touch plus velocity; shows good arm-side movement; changeup is plus pitch, with excellent depth and deception because of consistent arm speed; slider can work above average.

Weaknesses: Wore down in second half of season; struggled to maintain velocity; offerings lacked intensity; slider had a tendency to flatten out; release points were inconsistent; struggled with fastball command; arm angle can hinder ability to work inside to right-handers; lacks high-end raw stuff.

Overall Future Potential: High-5; no. 3 starter

Explanation of Risk: Moderate risk; achieved Triple-A level; quality of raw stuff narrows error margin.

Fantasy Future: Should develop into mid-rotation starter, capable of heavy innings workload and at least league-average production.

The Year Ahead: Hultzen was drafted second overall in a very deep draft class, so expectations are high for the 23-year-old lefty. He wore down toward the end of the season, which is common for first-year players and shouldn’t be a major concern going forward. The raw stuff isn’t special, which will limit his effectiveness if the command isn’t sharp, but the pitchability and polish he showed in Jackson wasn’t the product of smoke and mirrors. He will most likely iron out the kinks in a return trip Tacoma before taking the final step to the majors, where his solid-average arsenal should settle into the Mariners rotation for the foreseeable future.

Major league ETA: 2013

4. Nick Franklin
Position: 2B
DOB: 03/02/1991
Height/Weight: 6’1’’ 180 lbs.
Bats/Throws: B/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2009 draft, Lake Brantley High School (Altamonte Springs, FL)
2012 Stats: .322/.394/.502 at Double-A Jackson (57 games); .243/.310/.416 at Triple-A Tacoma (64 games)
The Tools: 5+ hit; 5 raw; 5 glove; 5 run

What Happened in 2012: Franklin returned to Jackson to start the season, and soon mashed his way to Tacoma, where he struggled to make consistent contact and adjust to the level.

Strengths: Natural swing and easy contact from the left-side; strong hands; excellent bat control; shows ability to make loud contact; drives the ball; uses the gaps; can hit velocity; average speed plays up; good fielding actions; makes plays; solid-average defensive profile at second; shows on-the-field baseball skills

Weaknesses: Doesn’t profile on left-side of the infield; arm is fringe; range only adequate; struggles from the right-side of the plate; swing isn’t as easy; bat speed not as impressive; doesn’t seem to pick up the ball very well; lacks a plus tool.

Overall Future Potential: 5; second-division player

Explanation of Risk: Low risk; already achieved Triple-A level; low ceiling/high floor; mature use of tools.

Fantasy Future: Gamer type who should be able to hit for a decent batting average (.270-plus) with a healthy amount of doubles. Lacks plus speed, but can swipe a few bases.

The Year Ahead: Franklin struggled after a promotion to Triple-A, where his woes from the right side of the plate continued, as the 21-year-old hit an anemic .190/.269/.284 on the season. He will need to take steps forward against lefties to avoid a platoon situation at the highest, which will limit his overall ceiling. Franklin is a solid-average all-around baseball player, with a good stick from the left side and a good defensive profile on the right side of the diamond. While he doesn’t profile as a first-division player, his overall feel for the game allows his tools to play up, and if he can solve the mystery of left-handed pitching, he could exceed his modest projection.

Major league ETA: 2013

5. James Paxton
Position: LHP
DOB: 11/06/1988
Height/Weight: 6’4’’ 220 lbs.
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Acquired: 4th round, 2010 draft
2012 Stats: 3.05 ERA (106.1 IP, 96 H, 110 K, 54 BB) at Double-A Jackson
The Tools: 6 FB; 6 CB

What Happened in 2012: In a return trip to the Double-A level, Paxton continued to show the ability to miss bats despite struggling with control and command throughout the season.

Strengths: Excellent size and present strength; fast arm; shows multiple fastball looks; can work low-90s with some run; can dial it up 95-plus; uses the fastball with confidence; curveball is best offering; true plus grade of mid-upper 70’s breaker; big depth; solid command of the offering; changeup will flash 5.

Weaknesses: Delivery features a lot of moving parts; pronounced arm swing takes a long path; loses release point; fastball command is fringy; struggles to finish offerings and elevates up in the zone; changeup is a 4; often tips pitch with deliberate mechanics; lacks above-average projection.

Overall Future Potential: 5; no. 3/4 starter

Explanation of Risk: Moderate risk; arsenal has two (now) plus pitches; command needs refinement; changeup needs grade improvement.

Fantasy Future: Has workhorse potential, with a big, strong frame and a bat-missing breaking ball. Command could be his undoing; will need to limit the damage he creates.

The Year Ahead: Sources are mixed on Paxton’s ultimate role, with some seeing a potential middle-of-the-rotation starter, while others like the promise of a max-effort two-pitch mix, where his loose command could play better and his fringy changeup wouldn’t get exploited. The delivery can be problematic, as the long action limits the command profile and could keep Paxton working from behind at the highest level. With more minor league seasoning, Paxton could improve the changeup and consistency of the release, but it is unlikely he will reach his full potential because of the mechanics and their affect on his overall command.

Major league ETA: 2013

6. Brandon Maurer
Position: RHP
DOB: 07/03/1990
Height/Weight: 6’5’’ 200 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 23rd round, 2008 draft, Orange Lutheran High School (Orange, CA)
2012 Stats: 3.20 ERA (137.2 IP, 133 H, 117 K, 48 BB) at Double-A Jackson
The Tools: 6+ FB; 5+ SL; 5+ CB

What Happened in 2012: Fully healthy, Maurer jumped to the Southern League, where he made 24 starts and showed off three above-average pitches.

Strengths: Excellent size/strength; throws the ball downhill; fastball works in plus-velocity range; 90-94 and can go get more with effort; movement is 6+ with heavy sink; slider flashes plus with sharp slice; curveball already works above average with depth and heavy vertical break; attacks the zone; competitor with big makeup.

Weaknesses: Injury history; throws strikes, but command can get loose; delivery has some effort; changeup can get firm, lose action; present 4; lacks above-average projection; sequencing/situation needs work.

Overall Future Potential: 5; no. 3/4 starter

Explanation of Risk: High risk; injury history.

Fantasy Future: Looks like a prototypical innings eater if he can stay healthy. Big and physical; pitches well off the fastball; fills up the zone with heavy stuff; shows two above-average breaking balls.

The Year Ahead: Maurer will move up to Triple-A where continued success will put him in line for a major league call-up in the event of injury or ineffectiveness on the major-league staff. He will need to prove his injury red flags are a thing of the past by staying healthy and mechanically consistent. His changeup needs work, and both breaking balls could use more refinement, but the fastball is a true plus offering with true plus movement, which will help him induce weak contact and pitch his way out of trouble.

Major league ETA: 2013

7. Luiz Gohara
Position: LHP
DOB: 07/31/1996
Height/Weight: 6’3’’ 220 lbs.
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2012, Brazil
2012 Stats: N/A
The Tools: 6 FB (present); 6+ potential CB; 6 potential CH

What Happened in 2012: Had some of the best raw stuff on the international market, and signed for $880,000 in August, a few weeks after turning 16.

Strengths: Excellent size and present strength for age; mature build; impressive arm strength; fastball already works 89-93 and has touched 95; big inside life; curveball flashes plus potential; very tight spin and shows some command of the pitch; changeup shows some feel; good projection; will also show slider; easy arm action; repeats.

Weaknesses: Limited experience against quality competition; high maintenance body; limited industry looks; too many unknowns.

Overall Future Potential: 7; high-end no. 2 starter (basically, I have no idea. He’s 16 and very few people in baseball have seen him pitch. The ultimate projection is a guess based on arsenal projection).

Explanation of Risk: What’s the level beyond extreme?

Fantasy Future: Everything at this point is a fantasy.

The Year Ahead: Based on the opinion of five sources, Gohara was not only included on this list, but was praised at such a level that he should probably rank even higher. Despite the limited looks, the 16-year-old looks like a monster in the making, with loud stuff from the left-side delivered from a big body with feel. Do you like that profile? Gohara is advanced enough to start the season in extended spring training before moving to the college-heavy Northwest League before turning 17 years old, which should shine a very bright spotlight on the young Brazilian arm. He could be special.

Major league ETA: 2017

8. Victor Sanchez
Position: RHP
DOB: 01/30/1995
Height/Weight: 6’0’’ 255 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2011, Venezuela
2012 Stats: 3.18 ERA (85 IP, 69 H, 69 K, 27 BB) at short-season Everett
The Tools: 6 FB (present); 6+ CH (projection); 5+ CB (projection)

What Happened in 2012: Huge bonus baby from 2011 J2 market made his professional debut in the advanced Northwest League, where the 17-year-old only allowed 69 hits in 85 innings against much older competition.

Strengths: Natural pitcher; torque-heavy delivery with pronounced upper-half twist, but the arm works well and he repeats; hides the ball well with high-leg and late hand break; fastball operates easy plus 91-94 with life; creates good angle despite limited height; attacks the strike zone; changeup nice complement pitch to fastball; has good deception and some depth; projects to be above-average offering; shows hard curveball with short, sharp break; another above-average projection.

Weaknesses: Build is already mature; thick lower half; despite athleticism, high-maintenance body going forward; because of height, needs to work lower in zone to maintain plane; secondary offerings lack consistency; needs to sharpen command; struggles with finishing pitches.

Overall Future Potential: 6; no. 2/3 starter

Explanation of Risk: Extreme risk; only 17-years-old; yet to play full-season ball.

Fantasy Future: Has huge upside, with a plus FB (present) and at least two secondary offerings that could play above average. Should be able to log innings and develop into strikeout pitcher.

The Year Ahead: Sanchez will move up to full-season ball and will continue to be challenged by much older competition. His delivery is very easy and the fastball already works so well that he should be able to stay above water while he continues to work on his secondary arsenal and overall command of the arsenal. Because of his age and limited professional experience, the reports are uneven and projection heavy, but a solid season in Low-A and Sanchez will move up this list and emerge as a top prospect. He is another teenaged arm in the Mariners system with extreme upside that is currently married to equally high risk.

Major league ETA: 2016

9. Tyler Pike
Position: LHP
DOB: 01/26/1994
Height/Weight: 6’0’’ 180 lbs.
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Acquired: 3rd round, 2012 draft, Winter Haven High School (Winter Haven, FL)
2012 Stats: 1.78 ERA (50.2 IP, 34 H, 57 K, 21 BB) in the AZL
The Tools: 5+ FB; 6 potential CH; 5+ potential CB

What Happened in 2012: As an 18-year-old fresh from the high-school ranks, Pike made 11 starts at the complex level, missing more than a bat an inning.

Strengths: Plus athlete; very simple delivery; clean action; fastball works in the 89-91 range; has touched higher, but loses the zone; changeup projects as above-average pitch; consistent arm speed and some fading action; curveball will flash; good pitchability.

Weaknesses: Lacks size; lacks loud offering; fastball can get straight; lacks much projection; curveball can get too big; loose rotation; currently below average.

Overall Future Potential: 5; no. 4 starter

Explanation of Risk: High risk; only 18; yet to pitch at full-season level; wide gap between present and future on secs.

Fantasy Future: Not the sexiest profile, but Pike could end up with three solid-average to above-average pitches in combination with good pitching execution, giving him good 3/4 rotation potential. If the stuff ticks up, he could be a lot more.

The Year Ahead: Pike has the type of arsenal and feel for his craft to jump straight to the full-season level in 2013. He lacks plus stuff at the present, but the delivery is athletic and the arm work well, so he could see the raw stuff tick up a bit as he adds strength to his frame. While he is unlikely to develop into an overpowering pitcher, he does project to have a solid three-pitch mix and a good command profile, so he should be able to keep hitters off-balance and force weak contact.

Major league ETA: 2016

10. Stefen Romero
Position: IF/OF
DOB: 10/17/1988
Height/Weight: 6’3’’ 225 lbs.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 12th round, 2010 draft, Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR)
2012 Stats: .357/.391/.581 at High-A High Desert (60 games); .347/.392/.620 at Double-A Jackson (56 games)
The Tools: 5+ hit; 5 power; 5 run

What Happened in 2012: After a respectable professional debut in 2011, Romero exploded in 2012, raking in the friendly environment of the California League before raking even more in the Southern League. Basically, he did a lot of raking. 

Strengths: Big, strong athlete; quick hands at the plate; excellent hand-eye; shows ability to barrel the baseball; uses the gaps and shows game power; despite torque-heavy swing, doesn’t get wild with the bat; makes steady contact; solid run; some defensive versatility (IF/OF); big makeup; very baseball aware.

Weaknesses: Lacks loud impact tools; power doesn’t project to plus at highest level; actions at second base are fringe; arm only average at third base; better OF profile (LF).

Overall Future Potential: 5; second-division player

Explanation of Risk: Moderate risk; already achieved Double-A level; lacks high-end tools, but plays above level; smart player with makeup; will play in majors.

Fantasy Future: Has the ability to hit for batting average with good secondary skills; could do a little of everything at the highest level.

The Year Ahead: Romero can really hit and he can really play, but he’s not going to keep hitting .300-plus and slugging .500-plus. He should move up to Triple-A, where craftier pitchers with craftier secondary arsenals will challenge the utility of the hit tool, and will most likely bring the offense back down to earth. But don’t discount the bat because he doesn’t project to be an all-star at the highest level. Romero is a good hitter with good secondary skills and some defensive versatility, so he will find a way to eventually carve out a major-league career, most likely as a second-division starter.

Major league ETA: 2013

Prospects on the Rise:
1.     OF Gabriel Guerrero: Prototypical right field profile, with plus power potential and a strong arm. The nephew of Vlad Guerrero, Gabriel signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2011, and absolutely crushed at the complex level in 2012. Look for the 19-year-old to continue crushing in short-season ball in 2013.

2.     RHP Edwin Diaz: Ultra-projectable, with long limbs and a fast, easy arm, Diaz can already work in the low-mid 90s with his heater, and already shows a promising breaking ball. The native of Puerto Rico will pitch the entire 2013 season as a 19-year-old, and could be on the verge of a breakout.

3.     LHP Jordan Shipers: Short in size but not on stuff, Shipers can bring the heat with a plus fastball that shows plus arm-side run, an out-pitch slider, and a changeup that flashes above-average potential. He might end up in the bullpen down the line because of his size and the short-burst potential of the raw stuff, but he has the potential to start and he already has a case to be a top 10 prospect in the system. 

Factors on the Farm (Prospects likely to contribute at the ML level in 2013
1.     RHP Stephen Pryor: A fifth-round draft pick in 2010, Stephen Pryor rolled through the minors last season, finishing the year with 23 innings in the majors. With a plus-plus fastball and a hard, plus cutter, the 23-year-old reliever is able to miss plenty of bats and should be able to lock down a high-leverage relief role at some point in 2013.

2.     IF Brad Miller: A middle infielder with a gamer mentality and a plus hit tool, Miller was fantastic last season at two professional stops. He doesn’t have an ideal profile for an everyday shortstop, but his versatility could make him a valuable utility player at the major-league level, with a mature approach on both sides of the ball.

3.     RHP Carter Capps: A third-round pick in the 2011 draft, Carter Capps can kill a man with his bare hands and with his fastball, sitting in the 97-99 range. The 6’5’’ 220-lb. reliever also uses a hard curveball to intimidate his opposition in the box, and should emerge as a late-inning force in the years to come.

Top 10 Talents 25 And Under (born 4/1/87 or later)

  1. Taijuan Walker
  2. Jesus Montero
  3. Mike Zunino
  4. Danny Hultzen
  5. Kyle Seager
  6. Nick Franklin
  7. James Paxton
  8. Dustin Ackley
  9. Brandon Maurer
  10. Luiz Gohara

It has been quite a while since Mariners fans didn’t get to see ace Felix Hernandez atop this list. While he may have graduated from an under-25 ranking, the Mariners have another potential frontline starter who has taken the throne. Taijuan Walker has absolutely everything you want in an elite pitching prospect. He needs to complete his development but the potential is unreal. Mike Zunino’s defense will push Jesus Montero from behind the plate permanently, but he can’t match Montero’s tremendous offensive upside. Montero could be an elite-level hitter at his peak and Zunino could be an All-Star level catcher. I have some personal reservations about Danny Hultzen’s profile but no matter what reservations I have, it is hard to avoid seeing a mid-rotation workhorse. Kyle Seager and Nick Franklin are both infielders with pop that should help anchor the club’s hot corner and keystone spots for the next few years. Dustin Ackley has not approached the ceiling set by his pre-draft scouting reports and hype, and to be honest, I don’t really know what he’s going to be, but he can still contribute in the big leagues. Seattle’s wealth of pitching prospects continues with the likes of Paxton, Maurer and the very young but very talented Luiz Gohara, and it even continues beyond the top 10 listed here. In total, the Mariners look to be building a roster  full of young pitching, and they will have to hope the offense can catch up or they can use some of that pitching talent to deal for bats. –Mark Anderson

A Parting Thought: The Mariners system is absolutely stacked with talented arms, ranging from the low ceiling/high floor variety to the high ceiling/low floor types, and everything in between.

Last year's Mariners list

Special thanks to Mark Anderson, Chris Mellen, Nick Faleris, and Jason Cole for their input and influence on this list. 

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How much higher did your sources think Gohara should be?
On ceiling, he can stand with Walker. But that's not a reality we can embrace yet. He is still a 16-year-old without a professional record. We can be aggressive with his ranking, but we can't go absolutely crazy yet.
Shouldn't Erasmo Ramirez rate a mention somewhere ? Fastball velocity was up last year and he posted good MLB numbers with a promising changeup.
Ramirez was in the mix for the back of the U25 list but I ultimately liked the other players better. He's got some arm strength, but he's an undersized righty with an uncertain profile that could end up anywhere from 5th starter, 7th inning arm or middle reliever.
you're an undersized righty with an uncertain profile
Uncertain profile? Absolutely!

Under-sized? Nah, I can't agree to that one!
ok. well. 2 out of 3 is pretty good. i was going off reports, haven't put eyes on you myself
I think you are severely underrating Erasmo. I don't see how he wouldn't already be considered better than a 5th starter.
The level beyond Extreme is Ludicrous
Where's my boy Guillermo Pimentel? Not even mentioned in the prospects on the rise? I've heard good things about Pimentel and I was surprised he was left off the list.

He was bad in the Midwest League in 2012, both in terms of numbers and in the scouting reports. He wasn't in consideration for the top 10. I'm not sure he could crack the top 20. He still has a lot of upside, but the questions about his pitch recognition skills and overall approach are a big concern.
Love the work here, guys. Gohara definitely being the one to watch in 2013.
Also worth noting that 7 of these 10 you gave MLB ETAs of this coming year. M's fans have to like seeing that.
That Tacoma (Triple-A) roster could feature seven prospects from the Top Ten, not to mention a few other players that were in Top 10 consideration. Stacked isn't a strong enough word.
7 of the Top-10 and 10 of the 16 overall where in Jackson at some point last year, so makes sense.
When you say "multiple fastball looks" for Paxton, what exactly do you mean? Varying movements? or varying armslots/release points? Is this a byproduct of his not having a consistent release point, or something he could maintain if he does refine his mechanics?

Also, just a heads up that it says "thrown" instead of "throne" in the U25 paragraph.

Love the work guys! Thanks!
Paxton uses both a two-seam fastball and a four-seam fastball.
Thanks Jason
Fixed thrown/throne.
"Ball carries after impact." What does that mean? It sounds like a strength, not a weakness. Also, what does "ultra-fast arm" mean?
You don't want the ball to carry a catcher's glove after impact. Catcher's are responsible for framing the ball. Salesmen of the strikezone, if you will. If you let the glove drift, you could negatively affect the call. Zunino has some drifting issues to work out.

A fast arm is exactly what it sounds like. As reductive as it is, some arms are simply faster than others, and the arm speed is a vital characteristic of a pitcher's profile. The faster the arm, the more explosive the pitch.

Thoughts on Justin Smoak and the U25 list, if he wasn't 26 years, 0 months, 16 days?
I would have had a hard time justifying his inclusion. He certainly would have been in consideration for the last couple of spots, but with the visual evidence I have and what scouts have told me, I just don't see it.
From watching, still seems like Justin Smoak has too long/loose of a swing. Reminds me of Russell Branyan but even loopier/longer. He can know a fastball is coming and miss it sometimes.
Jason, How does Gohara compare to Heredia (Pit)?
Heredia was even bigger at the same age, standing close to 6'6''. It's really hard to say because the two pitchers have different backgrounds, different approaches, etc. Gohara is a lefty with pretty serious stuff for his age; Heredia had an equally impressive fastball, but his secondary stuff wasn't flashing at the same level. Again, its really hard to compare the two arms. Not many reports exist on Gohara.
So if Franklin rates as a second division starter does that mean only the first 3 figure to crack the overall Top-100 list?
Low risk second division types have a lot of value. Second division shouldn't be viewed as a knock. Franklin should find himself in the Top 101. He's a good player.
Jay-Z and Taijuan Walker need to hook-up for a "Watch the Thrown" competition. Excellent work.
Carlos Peguero? What do you expect from him. Surprised he didn't at least get some consideration. Good power numbers.
He's not prospect eligible. 199 career AB at the major league level.
Also he's really bad
Wails at everything. Horrendous strike zone recognition and worse, can't hit good high gas. Won't/can't cut down his swing.

Awesome power but it's useless.
I hate to be a grammar nazi, but the proper verb is "whales" -- whaling away on someone, etc. It's just such a wonderful, evocative verb that it deserves proper usage, and not "wails," which conveys pretty much the exact opposite image.
Thank you. :)
Fans could be disappointed if TW jumped straight to Double-A in 2013...

Happy holidays to everyone at BP! Loving all the off-season content. Can't wait for the Annual and spring content.

Best, Burr
I expected Victor Sanchez to have a bigger face at 6-0", 255. does he have a huge Jose Fernandez/Chad Billingsley sized ass?
He's a tank. Wide shoulders, wide waist, big legs. Everything about him is big.
I'll admit this is a fantasy question. But who do you think is more likely to be the M's long-term closer, Capps or Pryor?
"Walker jumped straight to Double-A in 2013," - you might want to change that to 2012, it's not the New Year yet. great analysis, It'll be quite interesting to see how the Mariners rotation looks especially in 2014
Montero didn't show much last year. What kind of numbers might we see this year and future?
Probably something like 7 hit tool, 6 or 6+ power tool. .300, 20 homers. Edgar-lite?
That's the ultimate projection. I think he gets close to that. His bat can be delicious.
LOL Brad Miller