The Mariners' Minor League system is more exciting than it's been in years. Some of the organization's brightest young stars are about to bring that excitement to Major League Spring Training.No. 13 overall prospectJarred Kelenic, No. 25 Julio Rodriguez and No. 48 Logan Gilbert were three of the 21 players
The Mariners' Minor League system is more exciting than it's been in years. Some of the organization's brightest young stars are about to bring that excitement to Major League Spring Training.
No. 13 overall prospectJarred Kelenic, No. 25 Julio Rodriguez and No. 48 Logan Gilbert were three of the 21 players extended non-roster invites to Major League Spring Training on Wednesday, the Mariners announced.
Kelenic got off to a fast start in 2019 after coming over from the Mets in the deal that sent Robinson Canó and Edwin Diaz to New York. The 2018 sixth overall pick climbed three levels from Class A West Virginia to Double-A Arkansas in his first full season, producing a .291/.364/.540 line with 23 homers and 20 stolen bases over 117 games. He was a finalist for the Top Offensive Player MiLBY and received Seattle's internal award as the Ken Griffey Jr. Minor League Hitter of the Year. Kelenic participated in the All-Star Futures Game as well. and was scheduled to play in the Arizona Fall League but played only three games due to a back injury and surgery to remove his wisdom teeth.
The 20-year-old, left-handed-hitting outfielder earns above-average grades across the board and is considered a plus overall hitter, plus runner and plus thrower. He spent the majority of his time in center field in 2019 but also saw time in both corners, notching nine outfield assists in total.
Combined with Kelenic, Rodriguez gives Seattle one of the most promising outfield duos in the Minors. The Mariners pushed the Dominican Republic native aggressively in his age-18 season last year and were rewarded handsomely. Rodriguez hit .326/.390/.540 with 12 homers in 84 games between West Virginia and Class A Advanced Modesto in his first season stateside. He was limited by a hairline fracture in his left hand in April but made up some of the lost time in the AFL, where he produced a .288/.397/.365 line in 15 games.
Rodriguez, who turned 19 in December, draws raves for his power potential from the right side as well as his overall hit tool, and while he does have experience in center, his plus arm should make him a good fit for right field.
Gilbert also climbed quickly in his first full season, seeing the same three affiliates as Kelenic. He was the organization's Jamie Moyer Minor League Pitcher of the Year and a MiLBY nominee after posting a 2.13 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 165 strikeouts over 135 innings between West Virginia, Modesto and Arkansas.
The 22-year-old right-hander, who was taken 14th overall out of Stetson in 2018, features a low-90s fastball but is capable of throwing a touch harder. His slider and changeup have above-average potential while his impressive control makes the arsenal play up.
Other ranked Mariners prospects invited to Spring Training were No. 7 Cal Raleigh, No. 18 Joey Gerber, No. 20 Wyatt Mills, No. 26 Aaron Fletcher, No. 28 Ljay Newsome and No. 30 Sam Delaplane. The other non-roster invitees are right-handers Jack Anderson, Darren McCaughan and Penn Murfee; left-handers Aaron Fletcher, Ian McKinney and Anthony Misiewicz; catchers Joe Hudson, Joseph Odom and Brian O'Keefe; infielders Jordan Cowan, José Marmolejos and Connor Hoover and outfielder Luis Liberato.
Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.