From Sickels's list:
Kyle Lewis - small school bat who blew out his ACL. I looooooove this guy, but his two knocks are perceived level of competition and health. He's also at least 3 years away IMO.
Tyler O'Neill - with him it's all pitch recognition. Is he more Nelson Cruz or Carlos Peguero? It took Cruz a few years and some PEDs to put it together. Bodybuilding frames always carry some concern in baseball (think: Ruben Sierra destroying the middle part of his career because he lifted too much and lost flexibility). Still a big fan of Tank, too.
Nick Neidert - I like his arm, but he's started all 30 games he's pitched in across 2 seasons and still only has 126 IP. The Ms are using him in an abnormal way, which breeds concern as to why. He's young and has some growing to do, but he's several years away at best, barring some kind of Diaz-ing to the pen.
Dan Vogelbach - bad body, has hitting talent, hasn't taken full advantage. Billy Butler or Jack Cust? I come down on the Butler side, but both Cust AND Butler were done when the age clock chimed after 31. Shouldn't matter to Seattle since they have Vogue young. Being able to play 1B is more pressing, because a bad 1B ruins your infield defense from a catching-bad-throws perspective too.
Max Povse - couldn't make the top half-dozen arms for another org, is #2 for Seattle. Really a fan of his motion and stuff, but doesn't profile as a front-line pitcher. Seattle doesn't have anyone who necessarily does. Aimed at the MOR, which is fine for now.
Rob Whalen - too high, IMO, but a BOR possibility. More would require him to Moyer his way to success. We'll see how his stuff holds up to extended MLB exposure, but somewhat-wild soft-tossers with high Ks are usually begging hitters to make mistakes and chase. Maybe he can be effectively wild.
Mitch Haniger - love him. RH Saunders with his head on straight (because he wasn't trying to make his swing adjustments in the majors). Putting him with Gar should help keep swing constancy too. Fingers crossed, but I expect this to pay off big.
Andrew Moore - Another MOR arm that I expect pretty good things from. He's been an underdog his whole pitching life, so this is nothing new for him. The right roll of the dice gets us RH Mark Buehrle, which I would certainly take.
Well all of that looks good, right? The problem is that everything after that is scrap. A couple of relief arms will work out, maybe a teenage bat comes through in 2022, but I doubt it. Denver has no real expected (or even potential) TOR arm left on the farm at any level, and they have no MOTO-hitter types outside of what's on this list. It's all crappy shortstops, prayers in CF, and some non-positional guys like Joe Rizzo, DJ Peterson and Joe DeCarlo. If one out of 3 blue-chip prospects can make it in the bigs, then Seattle has about 2 major leaguers from the above list and then some fill-in pieces and #6 starters. O'Neill and Haniger will have a couple of years to get it right before Lewis shows up. After Lewis there is basically nothing.
If you want to be a top-heavy farm, then you'd like A-level upside. If you have a bunch of B-level guys then you want a ton of shots at it. Seattle has MOR arms and #6 hitters, and only a couple of each. That makes them very skinny. If they all pay off you look great, but at that point it's about player development, which Seattle has been terrible at for decades. You know how I am - I love the #19 prospect most years and see a lot of upside. This is not that farm (although that is Joe Rizzo this year, and I'm a fan of his).
Drafts are for replenishing the depth of a system, but we have none so that may take a while. DiPoto is rightly front-loading the talent because if Seattle can't get it done in the next 2-3 years then it's gonna be a fallow time. Felix is in decline, Cruz will be gone, and Cano's mammoth contract will be saddling this team with the price of reaching for the stars to try to get Felix into a World Series.
The time is now. But DiPoto is going to have to heist some other clubs to get some of the pieces he needs in 2019, 2020. If he can't manage to hit on all of these Haniger / O'Neill / Moore types, the reinforcements behind them look slim and none.
In the meantime, Seattle is attempting the All-Glove OF 3.0. It worked with Cammy / Ichiro / Winn because they could also hit. It did not work with Saunders / Guti / Ichiro because they hit like mostly CFs while the infield fell on its collective face. Because Seattle has a 2B and a 3B who are MOTO hitters, maybe they can get away with it until the corner production comes to the fore.
But Seattle is not betting on the Farm Collective to make this happen long-term. It's placed very specific bets, without a lot of outs if those bets don't pay off. If you want to chase a Jack-High Flush, be prepared to bust to a guy holding some 8s and 10s, and certainly to the guy with a pair of Aces. The Farm isn't gonna pick DiPoto up with a lot of surprise showings, IMO. It'll be somebody in the top-8, or nothing we have yet.
Unless you like pen arms. We should keep having those. Hey there Dan Altavilla!