Prospect Files: Jamal Strong

In four minor league seasons, the fleet-footed Jamal Strong has swiped 217 bases and hit a mere four home runs while working his way up through the Mariners' farm system. After getting a cup of coffee with the big-league club late in 2003, Strong will begin this year at Triple-A Tacoma hoping to get a return call to the bigs. subscribers can learn more about Strong and his future in Seattle right now!

Position: OF
Born: August 5th, 1978
Place: Altadena, California
Height: 5-10
Weight: 180
Bats: R
Throws: R
How Acquired: Selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 6th Round (176th overall) of the 2000 First Year Player's Draft.

The M's went fishing for an athletic outfielder in the 2000 draft and hooked a speedy lead-off hitter from the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the sixth- round. Jamal Strong has made consistent progress ever since and is knocking on the door to the big leagues after a solid 2003 season. The 25-year-old's speed and defense will likely land Strong a job in the majors for years to come. A Kenny Lofton style player, Strong will use his ability to get on base, steal a bag, and manufacture runs while hitting at the top of the lineup. Strong projects as a better-than-average center fielder or possibly a top-drawer left fielder and simply needs the opportunity to play.

Strong began his pro career by torching Northwest League base paths with 60 steals in 75 games as well as a startling 52/29 walks-to-strikeouts ratio to go with a .314 batting average. Strong was clearly ready for the next level after his 2000 season.

He started the 2001 season in Wisconsin of the Midwest League and quickly proved to be too much for his Midwest League opponents as well. In 51 games played, Strong hit .353 with 35 steals and sported a 40/27 walks to strikeouts ratio. The M's were convinced he was more than up to the challenge and was sent to Advanced-A San Bernardino.

Strong continued his torrid hitting and base stealing, victimizing California League batteries and finishing with a .311 average and 47 steals in just 81 games played. Strong began to show a bit of vulnerability to the strikeout, however, logging 60 in just under 400 plate appearances, but sustained a solid eye at the plate and recorded a very respectable 51 walks.

Strong's 2001 season produced 82 steals and 91 walks, both terrific attributes of a majorleague lead-off hitter. Mariner management, loving what they saw from the speedster, sent Strong to Double-A San Antonio.

Strong fell back to Earth somewhat as he put up more human-like numbers, hitting .278 with 87 whiffs in 127 games in the Texas League. He remained a serious threat on the bases, swiping 46 while keeping his walks at a nice level of 62. Despite the fallback in his batting average, Strong had a strong 2002 season and was primed for the next challenge.

The former Cornhusker rolled into Peoria for Spring Training looking to make a splash and possibly even make the Mariners 25-man roster. While impressing during spring drills, Strong sustained an injury to his shoulder that required surgery to repair the damage and was expected to miss the entire 2003 season. Strong had other ideas and returned just after mid-season to put up impressive overall numbers at Triple-A Tacoma after a short rehab stint with the rookie league M's down in Arizona. A solid .305 average with 26 steals in just 56 games earned Strong a cup of Starbucks at SAFECO in September.

Everywhere he has been he has hit well, stole a lot of bases, showed plate discipline, and most of all he's given pitchers and catchers nightmares.

Expect Jamal to begin the 2004 season back at Triple-A Tacoma in the Pacific Coast League, leading off in front of a prospect-stacked lineup, chasing fly balls in center field behind a prospect-heavy pitching staff as he waits for the opportunity to show his worth in a Mariner uniform.

TOOLS:Grading Scale

Stick: 50
With virtually no power at all, Strong has been successful at getting on base via the slap hit, the line drive, the infield hit and the walk. His tendency to make consistent contact at every level is a good sign he would do the same at the major league level.

Glove: 60+
Strong is really close to deserving a 70 here but due to his below-average throwing arm, his range rating isn't quite as valuable. He doesn't make a ton of GREAT plays but rarely makes a mistake and covers a lot of ground. Strongis an asset in the field.

Speed: 80
An absolute rocket on the bases, Strong can dominate an entire at-bat without standing anywhere near the batters box. His 50-steal abilities will land him a job in MLB someday despite his lack of power.

MLB ETA: 2004

Prospect Files Archives: (Subscribers Only)

LHP George Sherrill

3B Hunter Brown

LHP Ryan Ketchner

LHP Travis Blackley

RHP Aaron Taylor

RHP Felix Hernandez

SS/2B Oswaldo Navarro

OF Shin-Soo Choo

3B Justin Leone

RHP Clint Nageotte

OF Chris Snelling

SS Jose Lopez

2B Ismael Castro

OF Josh Womack

Seattle Clubhouse Top Stories