Future Fantasy Baseball Stars On The Seattle Mariners
Out of the American League West race, the Seattle Mariners have little left to play for in 2011. So why not look ahead to 2012 and beyond? Here are my top five impact Seattle Mariners of future.
Some have already made their mark. Others are on the cusp.
1. Michael Pineda, starting pitcher (age 22)
Michael Pineda made a huge early impact with the Mariners as a rookie this season. The 6’7”, 260-pounder went 8-6 with a 3.03 ERA in the first half of 2011. Yes, he’s slipped badly since, posting a 6.09 ERA since the All-Star break, but that’s forgivable for a rookie.
The important thing is that he’s shown excellent control and strikeout ability for such a young guy.
Most pitchers have one or the other but not both. He’s an ace in the making.
2. Dustin Ackley, second baseman (age 23)
The 2009 second overall pick arrived in the bigs this summer and already looks like he belongs. His .281 average and .816 OPS through 57 games represent what some scouts thought was his ceiling. Now, those numbers look like his floor.
3. Justin Smoak, first baseman (age 24)
The Smoak Monster hasn’t put it all together for a full season yet and was hitting just .220 before a broken nose landed him on the DL two weeks ago.
But his 12 homers and 50 walks through 354 at-bats in 2011 suggest he can be a strong middle-of-the-order presence with power and patience.
4. Nick Franklin, shortstop (age 20)
Taken in the same year and round as Ackley, Franklin is has shown some crazy pop at Double-A, batting .472 in nine games so far. He won’t be ready for the bigs for a while yet, however.
Franklin is currently Baseball America’s No. 53 overall prospect.
5. Mike Carp, first baseman (age 25)
This is a debatable choice for the list, as Carp is the oldest pick at 25 years old, but he’s certainly making a case for an extended role with Seattle going forward.
He’s smashed seven homers and driven home 29 in 32 games since the All-Star break. Given his high strikeout rate and low walk rate, it’s hard to say if his production will be sustainable.
But, for now, Carp belongs on this list.