Let’s face it, the Seattle Mariners‘ organization has had a tough go-of-it in the past decade. After Bill Bavasi trashed the organization with some of the worst moves in league history and subsequence managers and presidents failed to correct his mistakes, fans of the Mariners have been left with a product on the field that is less than desirable.
While the M’s do occasionally show some form of life out there and do give us hope, they always have that six- to seven-game losing streak in their back pocket to suck us dry.
But, as all Seattleites will know and acknowledge, they’re still OUR Mariners and we still love them, or at least try to.
However, despite the lackluster product on the field in recent years that has caused more than a few fans to turn away from the boys from the Emerald City, I’m here to tell you that things may be changing very soon. The ripples of terrible seasons translating into high draft picks is starting to pay off; we can already see how Nick Franklin and Brad Miller may be the future of the middle-infield.
And while there are undoubtedly some frustrations that Mariner fans will have to get through in the coming months and possibly years, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This organization has some of the best young talent in the league and they are itching-at-the-bit to make an impact at the next level.
Some of these guys are already in the bigs and have seen significant action.
The aforementioned Franklin and Miller are complimented by Kyle Seager, a phenomenal third basemen who the Mariners will look to lock down, and Dustin Ackley, a player with so much potential who is having a tough year at the plate.
Mike Zunino has also been very impressive as a defensive catcher, though his bat still needs to adjust to major league pitching.
There young studs will always be complimented by veterans, too. Felix Hernandez will still be his dominant self in Seattle, and hopefully Hisashi Iwakuma will be there in future years to help lead the organization as well.
Give it a few months/another year, and the Mariners will be contending not only in the AL West, but in the playoffs as well. This will only happen, though, if they young talent at the AAA level produces in the bigs.
Looking ahead, it will be important for some of the guys who have yet to make their MLB debut to do so nearing the fall months.
Here are three guys I expect to get the call-up in the fall.
James Paxton – SP (Not on 40 man)
James Paxton is perhaps the pitcher I am most excited about at the big league level. Part of the big three in the minors right now, he’s been dominant with the Rainiers and could potentially see himself make the jump in the coming weeks, especially after Seattle navigates the All-Star break and trade deadline.
The Mariners aren’t going to make the playoffs, but it would be great to see Paxton get some time at the next level to give fans a glimpse of what he will bring to the rotation for many years to come.
It wouldn’t be the worst thing have a kid from the northwest playing MLB in his own backyard either. (He’s from Richmond BC)
Danny Hultzen – SP (On 40 man)
Sticking with the theme of pitchers (most of the more talented and young position players have already been called up), Danny Hultzen recently hurt himself but I expect him to make the jump to the bigs before the season is over. Another one of the big three, he has been equally dominant in the minors and it appears it is time to give the kid a shot in the MLB.
I know that many of you may be the kind of fans who want to see a prospect develop in the minors first, but I’m not like that at all and don’t believe the Mariners have had success with that kind of philosophy.
In order to be productive at the next level, Hultzen needs to get the call-up and get real big league action and face big hitters before the season is up so he can head into the offseason knowing what he needs to continue to work on to become a stud. I see him getting called up later than Paxton but perhaps making appearances in 4-5 games.
Brian Moran – RP (Not on 40 man)
Once again, the Mariners have a lot of young position players already up in the MLB, so we’re really focusing on pitchers who will be called up. The final guy who I think should get some time at the next level before the season is up is Brian Moran, a reliever who has pitched very well for Tacoma in 33 games.
He currently boasts a 2-3 record with a 2.70 ERA and four saves in 43.1 innings pitched.
Though opponents are hitting .265 off him, he has shown a keen ability to put the ball in play and allow his fielders to do the work.
I expect to see this relatively unheralded pitcher up with the team before the season is over. Am I right? Weigh in with the comments section below.