Baseball America 3 Years On, #4-6

#1-3 Prospects 2007


=== #4 Tony Butler, LHP ===

Had thrown a few innings in the low minors after the draft.


Baseball America:  Had a lousy start to his amateur season, throwing 86-87 mph, but Mariners scouts Bohringer and Madeja believed in him, and Butler suddenly jumped to 94-95 right before the draft...

Seattle stole him with a 3rd-rounder ...

Fastball is 92-95 and has late life... uses tall frame to leverage it down in the zone... buckles knees with his curve ...

Mature, intelligent, and fearless... [stiff mechanical motion needs work] ... ceiling = number 2 starter in the bigs.


Three Years On:  Very impressive that the scouts had him nailed as a "3rd-round steal" after only a short time in the low minors.  (Of course, G-Money and Jay had that nailed after like 5 minutes.)

Quickly established himself as one of the M's best prospects and helped bring Erik Bedard to Seattle, against a hot bidding war in the trade market that included huge offers from the Dodgers and Mets.

Totally conquered the strike zone in 2008 with the Orioles -- only 1.8 walks per game -- but in 2009 suffered an injury-riddled season, logging only 13 innings total.

Has yet to throw a pitch above class-A ball and has yet to prove he can stay healthy.


=== #5 Ryan Feierabend, LHP ===

Coming off an excellent season in AA and got a decent cup of coffee in Seattle.


Baseball America:  Has been very young for his leagues, and became the youngest rookie pitcher in the majors with Seattle ... with Felix, Fire and Jones, the M's had 3 of the 4 youngest players in the bigs...

Best pitch is a circle change and his game is based off that...

Athletic with upside from here ... lands on the side of his foot; awkward delivery will have to be watched...

Great maturity, IQ and work ethic... SHOULD become a solid #4 starter in the majors.


Three Years On:  Fire did indeed show an exciting 30-30-30 lefty game that reminded of Bobby Madritsch's. 

Injuries did catch up to him, as they do to most young pitchers.


=== #6 Wlad Balentien ===

In 2005 had posted a good season in high-A ball, at 20, and in 2006 had hit .230/.337/.445 in AA at 21.


Baseball America:  Has been crushing HR's and striking out in bunches since arriving in America... Few players in all of baseball can match Balentien's raw power ...

Is making good progress in plate discipline (doubled his BB's) and in using the whole field...

Not one-dimensional; has average speed and an arm among the best in his league ... can play some center field...

Chases pitches, pulls head off the ball, long stroke, can be helpless against breaking pitches, doesn't adjust when behind in the count...  out-of-control persona carries into field, where he made 11 errors...

Power undeniable, but whether it will translate to the majors is the question.  Ceiling very high.


Three Years On:  The tools scouting above is obviously spot on.

Wlad played very well in the minors in 2007 and 2008 -- slugging .584 at Tacoma at 23 -- and D-O-V pegged him as having a 30-40% chance of a Jose Guillen career.

Hit a competitive .264/.352/.427 for the Reds in one-quarter season in 2009.  Has 500 major-league AB's under his belt and two-three more years to jell.

Right now it looks like Wlad has a good chance to jell.


#5-7 Prospects 2007



Mixing and matching, but c'est la vie... as we've tried to pitch, the benefits (freebie stable site) outweigh the costs associated :- )
Triunfel: I think they are very anxious to see him on the field -- key fact: he played SS last night.  Carlos as a long-term SS changes the whole off-season equation in my book.
I didn't quite get why the immediate consensus, when Triunfel was 18 years old, that he would never ever wever play SS in the bigs.  Especially when BA's (etc) scouts had him as a legit potential SS.
"Long-term" in Triunfel's case may mean starting in Safeco at 21.


Dustin Ackley (right out of college and right into mega-blue-chip territory...I bet he gets a cup of coffee in 2010) - A/A (Ceiling/Probability)
Carlos Triunfel (raw and undisciplined still...needs to learn baseball intelligence) - A+/B
Matt Tuiasosopo (sort of the reverse of Triunfel, very polished an intelligent in approach despite mediocre K/ actual ability) - B/A-
Michael Pineda (maybe the tools scouts have infon on him that I do not that keeps him out of top-10 lists...everything I've heard suggests he's very intelligent on the mound and has plenty of stuff to induce very high K rates and K/BBs) - B/B
J.C. Ramirez (I've been following him for the last three years and trying to figure out whether I trust his future or not...the potential is definitely there for him to be a #2 starter) - B+/C+
Adam Moore (Color me perplexed about the folks who don't like Moore at the plate or behind it - he might take a couple of years to be productive...definitely looked raw at the plate in '09 cuppa, but I really liked his swing) - B-/C+
Mauricio Robles (on the list because I'd get lynched if I didn't include scouts love him...I don't...I think if he's the key to the Washburn deal...the key is stuck in the lock and the door is now jammed) - A-/D
Zeke Carrera (RAPIDLY improving EYE, fantastic short, quick stoke, well above average defensive outfielder and 30+ steal potential if he ever gets more intelligent on the bases) - C/B
Mike Carp (Pretty much set, at this point, as to what we can expect...he's basically 2007 Vidro with a better walk rate IMHO) - C/A
Daniel Cortes (10 dollar arm and 10 cent head - may never learn to be an adult, but if he does, the ceiling is still very high) - A-/F
If guys like Carp are eligible, then is Michael Saunders... I notice it's 62 PA's vs 128 PA's in the bigs... is that the difference?
Interesting put on Ezequiel Carrera and his .441 OBP this year.  Assuming he became a .400-OBP, 40-steals guy, where would he play in Seattle's OF?
Wonder what Gutierrez would bring in trade >:-]


You are REALLY desperate to trade Guti, aren't you, Doc? That embarrassed by your horrible mis-read of his hitting and fielding abilities that he needs to be gone from your roster? :D
I kid because I love. :)
 Michael Saunders didn't make the cut...100 PA was the line.  But if I were going to including all the guys who hadn't yet had a full year, Shawn Kelley, Michael Saunders, Doug Fister and maybe even Jason Vargas would have to get perhaps Rob Johnson.
The Mariners, as I've pointed out a bunch of times...are VERY young overall...with lots of new talent entering the MLB picture as we speak.


Yeah, we've got to get Guti out before he steps up his game again.  Then I'll never live it down.


Just because you said that, Guti's going to have a 35 HR year in 2010.  You realize that, right, Doc? :D

Anonymous's picture

Interesting list, Matt. :) 
1) Dustin Ackley - No argument, I love the kid.  Dunno about power but my guess is he's gonne be pegged as an Edgar Martinez "no power" kid who starts hitting 15-20 dingers and 40 2Bs a year in 3-4 years.
2) Carlos Triunfel - He's gonna have to actually put some production out there soon.  He's a SOLID body, and I still see him as an Asdrubal Cabrera - can play 2nd or SS, good bat, good skills.  I just don't see him as a superstar, I guess, just a quality player.  I think Carlos is overhyped and Drubie was underhyped, so I wouldn't have Triunfel as high on this list, but he's still a plenty good spect. 
3) Matt Tuiasosopo - Tui's Ks really concern me.  His career K rate wasn't awesome before this year, and his 3/1 AB/K rate this year is Halman-esque, which is not what I want to see from a guy with 2000 career pro ABs who plans to compete to be my starting 3B.  Combine that with his power outages against RHP (prior to this year) and his ability to fit our park...I have concerns.  Good spect, but I think you're over-rating his ability to reach his potential. A-?  It's unlike you to be generous, Matt. :)
4) Michael Pineda - I ADORE Pineda.  Except for his injury issue this year.  Guys pegged him early as not having blazing stuff, so his early results got marginalized.  I think that's a misnomer.  He's a freakin' badass in the making, and I just hope he can stay healthy from here out and remain a starter.
5) J.C. Ramirez - survived High Desert, and that's all I can ask.  Still has work to do.  He's got stuff, but he's going to be frustratingly inconsistent for a while yet IMO.  Give him a coupla years.
6) Adam Moore - When we drafted him I was surprised to the effect of "good bat, but don't we have Clement for this?" The answer to that is "no" and so I'm very glad we took Moore where we did.  He's a mix of Clement and Johnson, so I don't see why people would find that problematic.
7) Mauricio Robles - Yes, I would lynch you if he wasn't here. :) Best pitcher in the system not named Pineda, IMO.  He's thick and short, but I love what he brings.  What is it about him you don't like? I like his motion, his attitude, his stuff...he's a baller.  With too many pitchers being Cortes-like with their inability to produce, I guess I just don't worry about Robles that way. Did I mention he already destroys RHBs as a lefty, while his excessive walk totals come from lefties because he hasn't figured that part out yet?  That's a far better problem to have in a prospect than nibbling to opposite-handed batters, IMO.  I just really like the kid.
8) Zeke Carrera - I like Zeke a lot, but he gets KILLED by LHP right now (.636 OPS vs LHP, .937 vs RHP).  His BABIP was also really high IIRC.  Love his batting eye, his steals, his glove potential, and while he doesn't currently have power he's young and he injured himself twice this year, once on the thumb.  And he's got a pretty thick body that reminds me of Choo, though we're waiting on the power.  Don't sleep on Carrera.
9) Mike Carp - He's Casey Kotchman, IMO.  Play him, if he does well but somebody like Poythress or Raben pulls a Kendry Morales and catches fire down in the minors, don't hesitate to trade him for a good package.  I'm glad we got him, and I like him, but I'm not married to him.  That said, he should be a better bet than any of the other "talent" we've had at his position in the minors in a while.
10) Daniel Cortes - agreed on Cortes: I'm gonna want to see some maturity on and off the mound before I rate him too highly, even if his arm is all pretty and muscular.  I like that he was added to the system, but he's got work to do between the ears, and cutting his severe walk rates.  The last month of the season was encouraging.  I want more of that next year.
Guys in the debate for the top 10, IMO:  Gillies (think LH Eric Young), Nick Hill (I guess that makes him a LH Brad Radke).  And I think both guys have a really good shot of hitting their marks, unlike a Cortes (or even a Tui).  Liddi has more to prove, as do some other arms that are sitting in the 11-15 range for me.
AA is gonna be probably the most fun team maybe in any league for prospectors next year.  Potentially Liddi, Gillies, Robles, Carraway, Pineda, JCR, Poythress, Raben and Ackley at the midway point perhaps, (I would expect both to get a "soft" landing in the Cal League to continue to work on shaking off rust and improving with the wood), Wild, Dunigan, Triunfel, maybe even Aumont and Fields back... *laughs*  Those are gonna be some fun games to watch, I would think.
Is it Spring yet?

Anonymous's picture

Weird that I can post here but not in some other threads.  Guess I should log in occasionally.  Elsewhere (that I just found) Matt said:

On Robles, I'm down on him because his line is like the joke from Bull Durham...5 innings, 5 runs, 5 hits, 5 walks, 5 Ks and 5 hit batsmen.  He came to Seattle looking all impressive in Detroit's system and promptly self-destructed in Seattle.  I just...get a bad vibe with him.  Ability is there (hence the high potential grade)...I doubt the polish.

How is 46 innings of 9K/4.5BB work with a .197 BAA and a .276 BABIP, and one HR in the Cal League "self-destructing"?
The Mariners traded for him after his last start on 7/27, then had him pitch 1 inning of relief work for no apparent reason on 8/2, which caused a start 3 days later that he imploded in and only went 1/3 of an inning.  His next start was rough in some ways (6 BB/3K) but he gutted it out through 5 innings and gave up just 1 run.  And then reeled off a month worth of starts that reads: 26 IP, 16 hits, 4 ER, 30K/10BB,  
He was out of whack for 2 starts after the trade. He's cool as a cucumber (at least judging by the radio calls for all of his starts) even when the guys behind him are making a parade of errors.  I dunno man - looks like next year in AA will help clear up the descrepancies between what you see and what I do. ;)

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