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MLB Seattle Mariners

Seattle Mariners Top 15 Prospects

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Seattle Mariners Top 15 Prospects

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Peter Aiken- USA TODAY Sports

Jack Zduriencik has not seen a whole lot on the field success during his tenure as the Seattle Mariners general manager.

He has made some very poor trades also, like trading a superstar like Cliff Lee to the Texas Rangers for Justin Smoak. Also, he traded a talented young pitcher like RHP Doug Fister to the Detroit Tigers for next to nothing.

Zduriencik also brought Milton Bradley to Seattle from the Chicago Cubs and he gave up on Brandon Morrow a little bit too early, sending him to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2009.

So my point is Zduriencik has made some brutally bad trades as Mariners GM, However, he has done an excellent job drafting very talented young players and signing some of the best international free agents.

The Mariners have a slew of young pitching that includes the highly-touted “Big Three” that consists of Danny Hultzen, James Paxton and Taijuan Walker.

Although he has an excess of talented arms, Zduriencik has been very slow to trade any of his young pitchers, with the exception of the proposed deal to the Arizona Diamondbacks that would have swapped Taijuan Walker for superstar Justin Upton. However, Upton used his no-trade clause to reject the deal.

The Mariners also have a talented group of young shortstops. Although they are not as highly-regarded as the “Big Three”, the group of Brad Miller, Carlos Triunfel and Nick Franklin all have a lot of potential to be part of the Mariners infield of the future.

Here are my top 15 prospects for the Seattle Mariners:

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15. Carlos Triunfel, SS

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Steven Bisig- USA TODAY Sports

Of the top three shortstops in the Mariners minor league system, Carlos Triunfel was the first to reach the major leagues, playing ten games in September. Triunfel will look to improve on his fielding, as he has averaged over 24 errors a year in his six minor league seasons.

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14. Chance Ruffin, RHP

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Kyle Terada- USA TODAY Sports

Chance Ruffin has pitched briefly with the Mariners over the last two years. He was acquired in the deal that sent Doug Fister to the Tigers. Ruffin projects to be a late-inning reliever, flaunting a fastball in the high-90s.

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13. Francisco Martinez, 3B

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Kyle Terada- USA TODAY Sports

Francisco Martinez was also acquired in the Fister deal from Detroit. Martinez had major struggles last year in double-A, hitting only two home runs in 95 games. Speed is the best tool that Martinez possesses.

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12. John Hicks, C

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Mark Dolejs- USA TODAY Sports

John Hicks was drafted in 2010 along with his University of Virginia teammate, Danny Hultzen. Hicks hit .300 in the minor leagues last year and is impressing in spring training with the club.

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11. Vinnie Catricala, 3B

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Jake Roth- USA TODAY Sports

Vinnie Catricala is one of the many third basemen that the Mariners have in their very deep minor league system. Catricala has good potential, but he struggled in triple-A Tacoma last season, hitting only .229.

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10. Julio Morban, OF

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Jake Roth- USA TODAY Sports

Julio Morban made a great impression the other day, hitting two home runs in one of his first spring training starts. Morban is one the few talented outfielders that the Mariners have in their system. He hit .308 in the minor leagues last season.

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9. Brandon Maurer, RHP

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Rick Scuteri- USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Maurer may not be as highly-regarded as the “Big three”, however, he could be the first to pitch in the major leagues. Maurer has pitched very well in the spring and in my opinion he has earned the fifth spot in the Mariners rotation.

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8. Brad Miller, SS

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John Reed- USA TODAY Sports

Brad Miller can hit, there is no doubt about it. In 137 minor league games last season he put up an average of .334. Miller’s bat will get him called up to the major leagues at some point, but his defensive ability could be holding him back, as he projects to be a below average fielder.

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7. Carter Capps, RHP

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Steven Bisig- USA TODAY Sports

Carter Capps made his major league debut last season, striking out 28 hitters in 25 innings and posting an ERA of 3.96. Capps has an absolutely electric fastball that could lead to him being the Mariners closer of the future.

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6. Stephen Pryor, RHP

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Joe Nicholson- USA TODAY Sports

Carter Capps and Stephen Pryor are basically interchangeable. They both feature fastballs that can touch 100 mph and will be in competition to be the Mariners closer of the future. Pryor came in on top because he had a slightly lower ERA than Capps, at 3.91, but it really doesn’t matter. Both of them are incredible.

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5. James Paxton, LHP

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Rick Scuteri- USA TODAY Sports

James Paxton is a rare commodity in baseball, a hard-throwing lefty. Paxton sits in the mid-90s with his fastball but can touch up to 96. He also features a very good curveball and a changeup that is improving. Paxton projects to be a middle of the rotation starter in the Mariners system, but would be a future ace just about anywhere else.

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4. Nick Franklin, SS

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Jake Roth- USA TODAY Sports

Nick Franklin hit the ball very well in Double-A last season, at .322, but when he was called up to Triple-A, he struggled, hitting only .243. Franklin is a switch-hitter that will hit for a very good average, but he does not have very good power, hitting only 11 home runs last season in the minor leagues.

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3. Mike Zunino, C

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Jake Roth- USA TODAY Sports

Mike Zunino made a very good first impression with the Mariners organization last year, reaching Double-A by the end of the 2012 season, the same year he was drafted. Zunino has a chance to make the club out of camp, as he is still with the big leaguers in spring training. He has also stolen the role of catcher of the future from Jesus Montero.

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2. Danny Hultzen, LHP

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H. Barr Deiser- USA TODAY Sports

Danny Hultzen was impressive early on last year, but struggled with his control once he was called up Triple-A. Hultzen was pitching very good in the spring and many thought he had a chance to make the club, but he was recently optioned to Triple-A to start the 2012 season. If Hultzen shows improved control, expect him to be with the team very soon.

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1. Taijuan Walker, RHP

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Mark J. Rebilas- USA TODAY Sports

Taijuan Walker is one of the best pitching prospects in baseball going into the 2013 season. Walker has a fastball that sits in the high-90s with a “filthy” curveball. The Mariners are in no hurry to bring Walker to major leagues, as he is only 20. If all goes well, Walker will be in the rotation for the Mariners by next year.