Mariners Prospect Primer

In the coming couple of weeks I will be profiling each of the guys that I believe are presently in the Mariners top 25 prospects. The Mariners have added a lot of depth to their farm system since Jack Zduriencik has taken over the team. I will be analyzing players based on statistics, scouting reports written by others, and my own personal scouting report when applicable.

We’re going to take some liberties along the way, but our first liberty is to remove a couple of guys from the list of “prospects.” The typical definition of a prospect is a player who is eligible as a rookie in the MLB. Technically guys like Jesus Montero and Tom Wilhelmsen qualify, but I think both those guys will be on the big league roster at the end of training camp, so evaluating them as prospects will lose a lot of value at the end of March.

Our rankings will be based on what I think is important. I reserve the right to value physical talent over advanced skills when I deem the talent fit of a better evaluation.

Most importantly though, I’m going to rate each player on a scale from 0-100. I know this doesn’t conform to the baseball tradition of the 20-80 scale. But I hate the 20-80 scale. Maybe it is that the place that I work has basically force-fed everyone the metric system, but I don’t understand the point of any scale that starts above zero, and I don’t understand the point of maxing a gauge out at 80 of anything, rather than a round, familiar number like 100. I think that the 20-80 scale is intentionally exclusionary. It’s designed as proprietary vocabulary that creates job security for professional scouts. For the purposes of our website the 20-80 scale is good to know, but pretty clunky to use.

Instead we have broken player value down into four buckets in order of importance: Potential, probability of success, positional value, and character.

Potential: out of 40 points

Potential isn’t a hard idea to wrap one’s head around. This is how good the player in question could be if everything in his development goes right. This is the player’s “peak” or “ceiling” or the second number on a 20-80 scale. This is one part projection, one part prayer. It drives player value quite a bit though.

Probability of success: out of 30 points

This is synonymous with a term like “major-league ready.” This rating quantifies the risk of a player busting, or the likelihood that they’ll succeed. The older players get, or the longer they perform, or the more refined their skills are, this rating will be higher.

Positional value: out of 20 points

This rating is based on the position(s) that  a player will play when he reaches the majors. The ranking of positions is essentially the same for position players as in the adjustments made for WAR based on what position a player plays. For pitchers we value left-handedness over right, and starting pitchers over relievers.

Character: out of 10 points

This is almost always an all-or-nothing statistic, players who have no prohibitive history that indicates that they’ll have some sort of an issue off-the-field or on-the-field will automatically score a 10. Josh Lueke would have scored a 0. Hector Noesi would have scored a 0. Mike Morse would have scored a 10 until he tested positive for steroids, then he’d have scored a 0. It’s pretty simple.


I’ll try to get these all out in the next two weeks. We will see what happens. I’m also going to try to update this at some point during the season. It may be every month. Mid-season, and end-of-season are more likely.

For now though, check out our list of guys who didn’t make the cut, but who are interesting guys to watch who could be sleeper candidates later in the year.