Here at SeattleClubhouse, our primary goal is to get information on Mariners players to the fans that want the knowledge. Looking beyond the numbers and using input from scouts and other baseball personnel and putting that together with my own input, I am going to give you a brief rundown on quite a few names in the Seattle organization that are worth tracking. Keep in mind that while the top five or seven players are fairly secure in their rankings, the rest of these players' positions in the rankings will be very fluid going forward.
45. Matthew Bischoff 24-years-old, relief pitcher, Low-A Clinton
Like No. 46 Tyler Burgoon, Bischoff is a bit undersized in terms of traditional bullpen power arms, but the numbers the 2010 20th round draftee have put up thus far in pro ball don't agree with that notion. 114 strikeouts in 82 1/3 pro innings against just 21 walks with only four homers allowed are signs of another fast-moving back-end bullpen arm.
He works with a fastball, slider and changeup and while his stuff isn't as fantastic as you'd think looking at his numbers--fastball is generally 90-92 with arm side run, his slider is short but with late break and his changeup is mediocre--he gets a lot out of that stuff because of a deceptive delivery and plus command. He short-arms his delivery a bit and comes from a true three-quarters slot while stepping across his body, creating a lot of deception. He was a starter in college at Purdue and has worked multiple innings out of the bullpen as a pro (29 games and 52 1/3 IP this season), but he profiles as a back-end, one inning arm.
44. Yordi Calderon 17-years-old, third base, Venezuelan Summer League
Calderon is very young and very raw but from what I hear the tools are very apparent. 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, he's already solidly built and while he has several possible plus tools, his power is perhaps his best tool. He hit .271/.373/.421 with 16 doubles and seven HR this season and also drew a good amount of walks. His strikeout number was a little high, but not terrible for a kid his age.
His defense is another story. 28 errors in 49 starts at third base--more than half of those hands related--are a bit of a warning sign, regardless of his age. There was some thought before 2010 signing day that the right-handed hitter could be moved to catcher, but the more likely destination is the outfield where his plus arm would play in right. Despite good overall numbers this season, Calderon went just 22-100 over his final 30 games this season, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him repeat the VSL in 2012 because of that stat combined with his age.
43. Stefen Romero 22-years-old, utility, Low-A Clinton
Romero wasn't heavily recruited out of high school. He eventually ended up at Oregon State where he put up very good numbers in his second season, leading the Beavers in home runs (13) and RBI (41) before fracturing his right arm diving back into first base on a pick-off attempt. That injury not only cut his season short, but dropped his draft stock, and the M's snuck in and picked him up in the 12th round of the 2010 draft.
Although he played third base almost exclusively--and played it very well--at OSU, he played mostly second base in 2011 in his first pro action for the Mariners, with games at third base and the outfield mixed in as well. He probably doesn't have the range to stick at second, and his arm may not be strong enough to stick at third, so he may become an outfielder soon. Romero hit 16 home runs with a slightly uppercut swing that gets good loft and generates good backspin on the ball. Although he doesn't draw a lot of walks, he makes good contact and has enough bat speed that the strikeout isn't an issue for him. Romero also has plus speed and very good instincts on the base paths. While his position is still up in the air, as Tom McNamara said when Romero was drafted, "You know the old adage, 'if you can hit they'll find a spot for you,'", and Romero showed in 2011 that he can hit.
42. Ambioris Hidalgo 20-years-old, starting pitcher, Pulaski
A 2007 International Free Agent out of the Dominican Republic, Hidalgo went through a rough patch near the end of the Appalachian League season but still impressed enough to warrant a spot here.
He is a four-pitch starter with an easy delivery, three-quarters arm slot, long stride and a pitcher's build. The fastball typically sits in the 90-92 range with movement and he has a sharp slider that both generate swinging strikes. Hidalgo also employs a curveball and changeup and they were enough to hold left-handed hitters to a .254 average this season. Although 2011 was his fourth season in the organization, it was his first stateside, so Hidalgo still has a ways to go before he is MLB-ready. But the early returns are encouraging.
41. Daniel Carroll 22-years-old, outfield, High-A High Desert
After battling hand injuries for a few seasons that kept the former third round pick in Low-A for three seasons, 2011 was a big breakout year for Carroll. Healthy enough to set a career high in games played and at bats by a wide margin, Carroll finally put the tools together in his fifth pro season.
Prior to the 2010 season, Carroll told a local newspaper in Iowa, "I know it's there. I'm a natural hitter. It's a God-given gift. I know I can do this. I'm just going to go out and play hard every day and have fun and not press." Although he missed time again that year, his confidence came through this season as he showed more power than ever before (18 homeruns) and drew 88 walks--61 more than his previous career high. He also ranked 4th in the minor leagues with 62 stolen bases in 76 attempts and has easy 60+ speed on the bases. The right-hander covers a lot of ground in the outfield and has a good arm and he uses little-to-no stride at the plate. Although he played mostly left field this season, Pedro Grifol calls him, "a true center fielder".
That's it for prospects 45-41. Check back every Friday as we reveal five more players in our countdown to the top prospects in the Mariners system.