Prospect Power Rankings: Top 30 Future Mariners

The deeper into the 2004 season we go, the more we hear whispers about the future stars of the Seattle Mariners. Which current prospect is going to lead Seattle into the next generation of Mariners baseball? Who is going to be the next superstar to lace up the spikes at SAFECO Field? Check out this month's Prospect Power Rankings and See the Future.

1. Felix Hernandez, RHP, Inland Empire 66ers
Continuing amazing season as league's youngest pitcher, Hernandez leads organization in strikeouts with 85.

2. Jose Lopez, SS, Tacoma Rainiers
Combining with Hernandez to form one of baseball's youngest prospect duos, Lopez is progressing nicely in the PCL at age 20.

3. Travis Blackley, LHP, Tacoma Rainiers
Will the Australian sensation ever lose again? I say no. Still unbeaten since April 21, Blackley making M's brass take a long look.

4. Shin-Soo Choo, RF, San Antonio Missions
Choo is on a hot streak and making push for promotion to Triple-A Tacoma. The multi-talented corner outfielder would fit nicely in the outfield with Strong and Jacobs.

5. Chris Colton, CF, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
The hottest hitter in the farm system, Colton could get a promotion to the California League soon. Leads T-Rats with 10 homers.

6. Justin Leone, 3B, Tacoma Rainiers
Leads the Rainiers in home runs and is punishing mistake pitches on a regular basis. His days as in Tacoma may be numbered.

7. Greg Dobbs, 3B, San Antonio Missions
With Leone's time possibly up, Dobbs would likely get call to Tacoma. Recently took over team lead with a .328 average.

8. Jamal Strong, CF, Tacoma Rainiers
Staying hot with the bat and starting to run again after early season hammy injury held him back, Strong leads Tacoma with a .331 average. A certain call up for the M's this summer.

9. George Sherrill, LHP, Tacoma Rainiers
Do I have to say it again? Ok, fine. Sherrill has no business being on this list. He should be in the Mariner bullpen.

10. Adam Jones, SS, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
Jones could be hitting the wall a bit lately. The All-star break will do him some good.

11. Bobby Livingston, LHP, Inland Empire 66ers
Livingston might also need a break to recoup from recent struggles. Still has solid numbers with six wins and a 3.54 ERA.

12. Bucky Jacobsen, DH, Tacoma Rainiers
You can't ignore Big Bucky any longer. Even at 28, he demands attention. Jacobsen leads organization in RBI with 53.

13. Greg Jacobs, RF, Tacoma Rainiers
Recent promotion may have re-energized the sweet swing of Jacobs. Hitting .304 since being called up, Jacobs gives the Rainiers another offensive weapon.

14. Wladimir Balentien, OF, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
Still striking out a bit too much, but making strides. Just 19-years-old, Balentien is a quality power-hitting outfield prospect.

15. Juan Gonzalez, SS, Inland Empire 66ers
After a bump in the road to having a great season, Gonzalez has rebounded and still hitting .311.

16. Josh Womack, OF, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
The only negative statistic on Womack's resume is the high strikeout totals (60 in 227 PA's). Five triples, 10 doubles, and eight steals are all solid numbers in the Midwest League.

17. Jesus Guzman, 3B, Inland Empire 66ers
Guzman's .395 on-base percentage and 17 extra-base hits are signs of the 19-year-old being a possible blue chipper.

18. Ryan Rowland-Smith, LHP, Inland Empire 66ers
Now in a starting role, Rowland-Smith's 2004 season has taken new meaning. The left-hander could be one of the system's better southpaw pitching prospects.

19. Ryan Feierabend, LHP, Wisconson Timber Rattlers
A Midwest League All-Star at 18-years-old. ‘Nuff said.

20. T.J. Bohn, RF, Inland Empire 66ers
Bohn continues to be patient at the plate, take walks, and strike out. The 23-year-old needs to sharpen his at-bats to be considered for promotion soon.

21. Jon Nelson, OF/1B, Inland Empire 66ers
Nelson could find his way to the Texas League, along with Bohn, should the domino effect take place soon. Leone and Strong to Seattle, Dobbs and Choo to Tacoma, Nelson and Bohn to San Antonio. Sounds good to me. Shall we give Bill Bavasi a call?

22. Rene Rivera, C, Inland Empire 66ers
The top catching prospect is doing everything but taking walks. At 20, Rivera is on a solid timetable to reach the big leagues. The plate discipline will come with experience.

23. Nibaldo Acosta, RHP, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
Acosta tossed the organization's first nine-inning complete game and is starting to find a groove. The 21-year-old could see time with the 66ers.

24. Hyung Cho, 2B, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
Demoted to Wisconsin, Cho continues to hit. It's the one thing he will always do.

25. Hunter Brown, 1B/3B, San Antonio Missions
Nothing spectacular, but Brown is producing a solid season with the bat. Not to mention he has made only four errors in 56 games at 1B, 2B and 3B.

26. Dustin Delucchi, CF, San Antonio Missions
Delucchi, along with No. 28, is the best non-prospect player that is playing below Triple-A. Always finds a way to get a hit or two, and is constantly on base.

27. Cesar Jimenez, LHP, Inland Empire 66ers
Jimenez continues his fine season as one of the two top left-handers in the 66ers pen.

28. John Lindsey, 1B/DH, San Antonio Missions
The veteran minor leaguer leads the Missions in home runs and extra-base hits, while hitting .297. Lindsey is another candidate for a new uniform sometime this summer.

29. A.J. Zapp, 1B, Tacoma Rainiers
Zapp's steady season has hit a snag the past few weeks. The snag is named Mr. Strikeout. He has 24 of them in his last 66 at-bats.

30. Ryan Christianson, C, San Antonio Missions
Back from injury, Christianson is splitting time between DH and catcher. His bat seems to have already caught up with the rest of the league. The 22-year-old former first-rounder is hitting .278.


The Next Five:
RHP Rich Dorman, 2B Matt Rogelstad, LHP Thomas Oldham, LHP Miguel Martinez, LHP Randy Williams.

Notes:
LHP Bobby Madritsch, RHP Cha Seung Baek, and 2B Ismael Castro, do not appear in the top 30 due to injury that has kept them out of action for most or all of the past month. Castro is out for the season, while Baek and Madritsch are due back sometime in the next month.

Jason resides in a fantasy world where the M's make some bold moves, re-sign Freddy Garcia, and bring back Griffey. How crazy is that? Feedback is always welcome at JasonAChurchill@InsidethePark.com.

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