Welcome to the Mariners prospect update, where you’ll find news, promotions and standout performances, all year long.
Marte races for inside-the-parker at High-A (April 14)
Everyone loves an inside-the-park homer … well, except maybe the opposition. Noelvi Marte rounded the bases for his second roundtripper of the year in the top of the ninth inning of High-A Everett’s 5-0 win over Hillsboro. He belted the fourth pitch he saw from righty Collin Sullivan deep to left-center at Ron Tonkin Field. As the ball caromed off the wall, the second-ranked Mariners prospect rounded the bases and crossed the plate standing up.
After finishing up 2-for-5 with two RBIs for the day, Marte is hitting .316/.458/.532 with five RBIs and five runs scored through five games. Last season between Single-A Modesto and Everett, he compiled a slash line of .273/.366/.459 with 17 homers, 91 runs and 71 RBIs en route to being named an MiLB.com Organization All-Star. — Paige Schector
Kirby dazzles for Double-A Arkansas (April 13)
Mariners No. 3 prospect George Kirby exceeded all expectations in 2021, skyrocketing past several highly touted pitchers on the organizational depth chart and reaching Double-A in his first full professional season. If he keeps pitching like this, the ascendant righty might not need many more reps at the level.
Kirby was sensational in his second start of the season, scattering two hits over five scoreless innings to pace Arkansas’ 8-0 win over Springfield. The right-hander struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter, retiring his final 12 hitters in order at Dickey-Stephens Park.
“Right off the bat, I was really controlling my slider well in the zone and expanding it well,” Kirby said. “I had a good feel for it, was throwing it hard, getting good swings and misses. When everything is working and I’m throwing strikes, I kinda feel unstoppable, honestly.” Full story »
Brash K’s 6 in MLB debut (April 12)
Rookie Matt Brash was getting ready for his first career start, warming up in the bullpen prior to Tuesday’s game, when the White Sox brought out their entire team, one at a time by car from center field. In front of a sellout crowd of 36,948 fans, this was no Spring Training, no Minor Leagues. This was the big leagues.
“The pregame ceremony was extremely long, but for him to handle that, in his first Major League start, was awesome,” said Mariners manager Scott Servais. “I just said ‘Hey, go out and pitch like you’re a young kid pitching to Canada today.’ He looked at me [like], ‘I got this.’”
Brash, Seattle’s No. 6 and the league’s No. 97 prospect per MLB Pipeline, came out of the gate like it was a normal game, showcasing his arm power in the Mariners’ 3-2 loss. His first pitch was a 97.3 mph fastball that Tim Anderson fouled off. Then, two batters later, Brash darted a 99.2 mph fastball past reigning AL MVP José Abreu for a strike. More »
Noelvi crushes first homer of 2022 (April 10):
Given how he looked in Minors Spring Training, it’s not much of a surprise that Noelvi Marte is off to a stellar start to his season with High-A Everett. In a 10-7 win over Eugene, Seattle’s No. 2 prospect (MLB Pipeline’s No. 11 overall) unloaded a two-run homer in the sixth inning off Jake Wong that ignited the crowd on hand. Alberto Rodriguez, who was on first base, stopped to watch it sail before breaking into a slow trot. Per Everett, the ball went 405 feet and left his bat at 105 mph.
Marte played just eight games for Everett last year, having spent most of the year at Single-A Modesto before being promoted. For the year, he hit .273/.366/.459 (.825 OPS) with 17 homers.
Also on Saturday for Everett, Adam Macko (the Mariners’ No. 11 prospect) struck out 11, a new career high for Seattle’s seventh-round MLB Draft pick from 2019. — Daniel Kramer
Mariners announce affiliate rosters (April 7):
Seattle unveiled its Minor League contingent on Thursday, and here’s where the club’s Top 30 prospects reported:
And here’s a full breakdown of the Minor League rosters entering 2022:
Julio back on track (March 28)
Julio Rodríguez shook off back-to-back 0-for-3 games with a 2-for-2 showing against the Rangers. The club’s No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline walked in the second inning, hit a single off a 97 mph fastball in the fourth and roped an RBI double against an 0-1 curveball in the fifth before being lifted for a pinch-runner. He started the game in center field and batted seventh as he continues to make a bid for the Opening Day roster. — Daniel Kramer
Brash, Kirby continue to wow (March 27)
Matt Brash and George Kirby piggybacked each other once again, and once again they made a strong case to be on the regular-season roster. Each struck out six over three innings against Oakland, and they each got there via completely different mental processes. — Daniel Kramer More »
Julio shows off wheels (March 21)
The Mariners have been impressed with top prospect Julio Rodríguez‘s running ability throughout his Minor League upbringing, but before Monday, there was practically zero public data on that tool. That made his first stolen base of Spring Training all the more impressive.
Rodríguez swiped second successfully in the third inning against Arizona, shortly after he roped a 101.3 mph single to left. His sprint speed on the steal was an impressive 29.2 feet per second, well above the league average of 27 and just shy of the elite range of 30.
J-Rod has wowed in many ways throughout his development, but his speed could be the next tool that takes center stage. — Daniel Kramer
Despite jitters, Kirby solid in spring debut (March 21)
The final stat line isn’t what he would’ve liked, but right-hander George Kirby‘s takeaways from his first official taste of the big leagues were positive. Kirby was tagged for six runs on five hits and one walk while coming one out short of the intended two innings he was slated for in his Cactus League debut. But his stuff, particularly the fastball that topped out at 98.7 mph, stood out.
“It’s just a matter of he got some balls up in the damage zone,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “You’ve got to be higher than that. He got in the love zone for them, and they didn’t miss it. Guys, after they see him, they see what kind of arm he’s got. They’re gonna be up there and aggressive and hacking. He learned from today, believe me. I liked what I saw.”
If there were jitters, they manifested via a bases-loaded balk in the second inning.
“I felt really good,” said Kirby, the Mariners’ No. 3 prospect. “I thought I filled up the zone very well. I mixed in my offspeed pretty well. I’ve never dropped the ball on the mound in my entire life. I hope that never happens again. But overall, I thought I did great. Just, the stat line wasn’t the best, but for my for my sake, I thought I did pretty well.” — Daniel Kramer
Hancock won’t see Cactus League action (March 21)
Emerson Hancock, who suffered a lat strain roughly one month ago, will not be installed in a big league Spring Training game, Mariners manager Scott Servais said. That’s no major surprise given that Hancock dealt with shoulder issues last year that sidelined him twice and limited him to 44 2/3 innings, and that the Mariners also don’t have enough innings to go around given the condensed Spring Training schedule.
“He should be out starting throwing program again,” Servais said. “It was a pretty light strain, so he should be up throwing. He will not be built up. You will not see him in an ‘A’ game. We’re just not going to do it. There’s just no point. At that point late in the spring, we just won’t have the innings to get our other guys ready to go.”
Julio to play ’16 or 17′ of Mariners’ 18 Spring Training games (March 18)
The Mariners have made it no secret that Julio Rodríguez will be in the big leagues sooner than later, and they’re going to give him all the playing time they can in Spring Training to help prepare him for that leap. Manager Scott Servais said ahead of the club’s Cactus League opener on Friday against the Padres that Rodríguez, who did not start, will play in the majority of their spring slate.
“He will play a lot this spring,” Servais said. “I told him, ‘We play 18 games. You may play in 16 or 17 of them,’ and he just smiled. He said, ‘I’m ready.'”
Over the first week of camp, Rodríguez has been taking most — if not all — of his reps in center field, a position where he could see significant time in the Majors, depending how the rest of Seattle’s personnel looks and plays by the time he reaches the Majors. Jarred Kelenic is slated to start there, and despite his hiccups in 2021, the Mariners believe his route-running and jump issues are fixable.
“As big as he is, he moves,” Servais said. “He can throw. You watch how guys move and how they do it, he looks like a baseball player in everything he does. Some of the guys just have that look. He’s one of them.” — Daniel Kramer
Noelvi to see regular Cactus action (March 18)
He might be a little further off, but Noelvi Marte is on a trajectory that could see him on the cusp of the Majors by this time next year. MLB Pipeline’s No. 11 overall prospect is in big league camp for the first time and will see significant Cactus League action, manager Scott Servais said.
“He’s going to be fun to watch the spring,” Servais said. “He’s not ready, but you’re going to see him a lot this spring. We’re going to play Noelvi a lot.”
Marte will see a chunk of his action at shortstop — the position he’s grown up playing and the one the Mariners see him playing long term, despite apprehensions from scouts due to his size.
He’s only 20 years old, but Marte was the headliner in Peoria, Ariz., during Minors camp, before the lockout ended. — Daniel Kramer