SEATTLE -- There’s still over a month to go until MLB Pipeline unveils the Mariners’ Top 30 prospect rankings for 2024, but the Top 100 overall rankings were out last week, and they included an interesting Seattle presence.
The Mariners have three players among that group --
Cole Young (No. 37 prospect), Harry Ford (No. 38) and
Colt Emerson (No. 87) -- and they would’ve had a fourth in
Gabriel Gonzalez (No. 79), but he was a key return in last week’s trade with Minnesota for Jorge Polanco. Pipeline also revealed that slugging outfielder
Lazaro Montes -- who could be poised for a big leap year -- just missed the cut.
Notably, Seattle did not have a pitcher in the mix for the first time since 2018, just before the wave of arms that has come to define much of its Major League roster joined the organization. Logan Gilbert, George Kirby, Matt Brash and Bryce Miller were graduates of the Top 100 in recent years.
The chunk of Seattle’s system has shifted far more on the position-player side, the best of whom are at the lower levels and probably at least another year away. Yet the Mariners still have plenty of intriguing arms that are also worth following this season.
Here are a few names to know (for the purposes of this exercise, pitchers who’ve already made their MLB debuts were not included, such as Emerson Hancock and
RHP Cole Phillips (Mariners’ No. 14 prospect): Acquired in December’s trade that sent
Jarred Kelenic to Atlanta, Phillips should be fully healed from the right elbow Tommy John surgery he underwent just before the Braves selected him in the second round of the 2022 MLB Draft.
Part of what may have led to his injury is also what made him so enticing, which is the fastball’s elite velocity that flirts with triple digits. Phillips has drawn comparisons to
Nathan Eovaldi, who also was high on Draft boards in 2008 as a Texas high schooler before suffering an elbow injury.
The focus for Phillips in 2024 will be to create a sound professional routine to allow his body to control everything that his elite arm can produce.