2003 Stats: 13-11, 3.56 ERA, 4 CG, 67 K, 46 BB, 27 GS (AAA)
Anderson lacks the higher velocity and relies on his control and and intelligence to get hitters out. This works for some pitchers, but his command in the past two years has been a far cry from the 4.25:1 K/BB ratio he put up over his first three seasons in the minors. He also remains among the most HR prone pitchers in the system. Anderson, 23, doesn't figure to make an impact in determining which left-hander will pitch in the M's bullpen. He is most likely in camp to learn from Jamie Moyer, who uses a similar pitching style. Anderson will likely start the 2004 season with Triple-A Tacoma.
|Blackley put up mind-boggling numbers in Double-A in 2003.|
2003 Stats: 17-3, 2.61 ERA, 162.1IP, 144K, 62BB (AA)
Blackley is similar to Anderson but with a better all-around arsenal, primarily with his velocity. His 2003 season quite nearly earned him the Texas League Triple Crown for pitching. His repertoire, however, is more suited to starting than relieving. Left-handers hit just over .300 against him last season, therefore he doesn't figure to be a factor in the search for a second lefty reliever. Like Anderson, he will be there mostly to soak up pitching knowledge from Moyer and other veterans. Blackley, 21, is slated for Triple-A Tacoma to start the season.
LHP Terry Mulholland
2003 Stats: 45 G, 4.91 ERA, 99 IP, .246 avg vs. LHB (MLB)
Mulholland will be the NRI candidate for the LH ancient Mariner out in the bullpen. The 41-year-old is the more versatile of the veteran relievers, able to start on occasion and go for multiple innings out of bullpen if need be. He isn't nearly as tough on left-handed batters and for this reason he's not as likely to make the club.
LHP Mike Myers
2003 Stats: 64 G, 5.70 ERA, 36.1 IP, .237 avg. vs. LHB (MLB)
A submarine-style pitcher, Myers's delivery can be tough for left-handed hitters to pick up. Right-handers don't have the same problem, so he fits the profile for a situational lefty reliever. His control took a considerable drop last year, causing his ERA to finish tied for the worst in his career for a full season. Myers, like Mulholland, is in camp to provide veteran presence among the LHR candidates but don't be too surprised if the 34-year-old doesn't make the club.
LHP Jose A. Nunez
2003 Stats: 17 G, 3.92 ERA, 20.2 IP, .125 avg. vs. LHB (AA/A+)
Following his shoulder surgery, Nunez saw limited time at the AA and Advanced-A levels of the San Diego Padres system. He has a high-80s fastball and a sweeping slider which has allowed him to strike out around a batter per inning for his career. Nunez represents an intriguing possibility. He's a left-handed reliever with considerable upside, and will only be 25 years old by the time the season starts. On the other side of the argument his control in the majors has not yet met up with his minor league standards. If he demonstrates that he can handle major league hitters, the M's may have found a diamond in the rough. Nunez could start the season in Triple-A Tacoma.
LHP George Sherrill
2003 Stats: 16 G, 0.33 ERA, 27.1 IP, .174 avg. vs. LHB (AA)
Though his signing out of the independent Northern League garnered little attention, Sherrill dominated in limited time for San Antonio. He may represent one of the best candidates for a lefty out of the bullpen. Armed with an average fastball, a biting slider, and improving command, Sherrill is effective against both left and right-handed hitters. Sherrill is coming off of a three-country winter league tour and is definitely a player to watch during spring training. He's got a shot at grabbing a spot on the M's roster and at worst will start the season in Triple-A Tacoma just a cab ride from Safeco.
LHP Randy Williams
2003 Stats: 47 G, 3.12 ERA, 66.1 IP, .186 avg. vs. LHB (AAA/AA)
Another former Independent League signing, Williams has similar stats to Sherrill, though slightly less impressive all-around. His arsenal includes a high 80's fastball and a slurve. Williams, 28, spent some time with Triple-A Tacoma last year and was roughed up a bit after a strong showing in Double-A. He could surprise some during the spring, and might be the dark horse candidate among the relievers.
C Pat Borders
2003 Stats: 79 G, 51 RBI, .363 OBP, .536 SLG (AAA)
Borders made the team as a last minute backup catcher in 2003 when Dan Wilson suffered an abdominal strain. His chance of making the team in 2004 would likely have to come under similar circumstances. Borders, 40, was retained because of his ability to help the younger pitchers, and he'll probably continue to do so in Tacoma.
C Wiki Gonzalez
2003 Stats: 68 G, 30 RBI, .257 avg., .383 SLG (AAA/MLB)
Gonzalez is another player who hasn't quite made a successful transition to the majors. He was above average in his time in Portland, but in San Diego the 29-year-old hit right around the Mendoza line. Some scouts attribute this to a lack of work ethic on his part. Regardless, he would seem to be a good candidate for third catcher. A change of scenery may do him some good.
C Luis Oliveros
2003 Stats: 93 G, 19 2B .333 OBP, .391 SLG (A+)
Oliveros took the Inland Empire catching job and ran with it last season. In the early months of the season, he would have led the league in batting average with a few more plate appearances. His bat shows some promise, but his ability to call games and work with pitchers proved to be a greater asset during the season. Oliveros may figure into the future plans for catcher, but the 20-year-old will probably start 2004 in San Antonio.
C Rene Rivera
2003 Stats: 116 G, 19 2B, .344 OBP, .388 SLG (A)
A second-round pick in 2001, Rivera makes his second appearance as an invitee in Spring Training this year. Rivera, 20, was above average in an extreme pitcher's league last year, showing flashes of power while maintaining great endurance for a catcher. He will be in camp to get a better feel for higher-level catching, and has no real chance of making the club any time this season. Rivera will battle Oliveros for the starting spot in San Antonio.
UT Hiram Bocachica
2003 Stats: 344 AB, 48 R, .297 OBP, .410 SLG (AAA)
A former first-round pick, Bocachica, 27, might be the most versatile of the non-roster players, playing 20 games at second base and 69 in the outfield last year. Unfortunately, his hitting has been horrible thus far in the majors. He is yet another guy who might have some use if he shows that he can make it, otherwise he'll be back in AAA.
1B/DH Bucky Jacobsen
2003 Stats: 447 AB, 31 HR, .388 OBP, .564 SLG (AA)
Jacobsen began his career in the Milwaukee system and seemed like he might be of decent value until he suffered a freak injury in 1999 that damaged the nerves in his leg. He struggled for a while, but made a big comeback last year in the Double-A Southern League, in both his overall numbers and durability. Jacobsen seems to hit righties better then lefties, which lowers his platoon value with Olerud. He may still make the team for his power bat but is likely headed for the minors.
SS Adam Jones
2003 Stats: 31 G, .303 avg., 20 R, 6 2B (R, A-)
Jones was selected last year as a compensation pick for failing to sign John Mayberry Jr. Most scouts saw more upside with Jones' arm than with any other part of his game, but he impressed in limited time for Everett and Peoria. His arm remains his best tool; if his bat can't keep up, he might end up on the mound. He'll be in spring training mostly because of his draft status, and could start 2004 in Wisconsin.
SS Jose Lopez
2003 Stats: 132 G, .258 avg., 82 R, 35 2B (AA)
Lopez is generally considered to be the Mariners' shortstop of the future, possibly as early as 2005. He would have received a spring training invitation last year, but he had to undergo surgery for a broken bone in his foot. Lopez was slightly below average in the Double-A Texas League, but he showed advanced maturity at the plate and on the field. He will be just 20 years old for the entire 2004 season, and may start back in San Antonio before moving up to Tacoma. His performance this spring will determine where he starts the year.
SS Mickey Lopez
2003 Stats: 129 G, .275 avg., 68 R, 23 2B (AAA)
The other Lopez, Mickey, is a 30-year-old career minor leaguer. Last year, he was the second baseman and team MVP on a relatively weak Rainiers club. He might provide an offensive improvement over Ugueto or Santiago, but at the price of a roster spot, he wouldn't be worth it. His move to 2B may place his range and arm into question as well. Look for Lopez to be a veteran presence at the Triple-A level.
1B/DH A.J. Zapp
2003 Stats: 528 AB, 26 HR, .346 OBP, .496 SLG (AA)
Zapp had his best season to date last year for the champion San Antonio Missions. However, he struck out nearly 180 times in the process and if the Mariners are looking for a bat to add to the roster, Jacobsen may have an edge over Zapp who will probably start the season in Tacoma where he can continue to work on his plate discipline.
|Choo is a rarity in that he's a five-tool player.|
2003 Stats: 110 G, 13 3B, .365 OBP, .459 SLG (A+)
Choo missed time early last season due to a foot injury but when he returned, he didn't quite bounce back to his usual .300/.400 standards. His ability to take walks particularly took a step back. Choo is a five-tool player, capable of playing center or right field, but he's still developing and shouldn't see any major league action this year. Choo, 21, should start the season in Double-A San Antonio.
OF Eric Owens
2003 Stats: 111 G, 29 R, .300 OBP, .307 SLG (MLB)
Last year, Owens displayed little power and generally unimpressive ability to get on base. He can play a number of positions, both infield and outfield, though he's been primarily an outfielder in recent years. It's unlikely that the 33-year-old will make the team with McCracken already on the roster making guaranteed money.