Mariners Prospect Power Rankings

King Felix is dealing. Shin-soo is bashing. Yung-Chi is stealing. Tui is crushing. It's safe to say there are plenty of reasons to be excited for the future of Mariners baseball. See where your favorite future star ranks in the latest edition of the Mariners Prospect Power Rankings.

1. Felix Hernandez, RHP – Tacoma, AAA – Hernandez has taken nicely to the Pacific Coast League, ranking 10th in the league in ERA (2.75) and tied for first with four wins. The club wants to see more consistency from Hernandez, mostly with his command. But there isn't much to complain about when your top prospect sports a sub-3.00 ERA in the PCL at age 19. Oh, did I mention that he's allowing just a .227 average that drops to .194 with runners in scoring position?

2. Shin-soo Choo, LF – Tacoma, AAA – Choo returned from the bench in Seattle to blast three home runs in a week's time, including a two-homer game on May 10 and a history repeating shot over the wall in dead center field at Cheney Stadium – the second ever to accomplish the feat. Choo is hitting over .400 since his return to the minors and his overall numbers are shaping up nicely - .294/.400/.544, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 4 SB. The multi-tooled outfielder has been solid defensively and has only struck out five times since the end of week two.

3. Matt Tuiasosopo, SS – Wisconsin, A – Tui has cooled off some and his secondary numbers are taking a major hit. Still hitting .319/.398, the soon-to-be 19-year-old has 18 strikeouts in his last 15 starts, a trend the club would like him to stay away from. Tuiasosopo is stuck on two home runs, no doubt a result of his contact problems. Perhaps removing defensive responsibilities is next, at least erasing shortstop duties. Let Tui think about hitting and catching fly balls, not turning double plays, backing up on every play, backhanding balls in the hole and making perfect throws from across the diamond.

4. Adam Jones, SS – Inland Empire, A+ – Jones is struggling with the bat and falling into a bit of a funk, hitting just .218 over his last 23 games. The 2003 first rounder does have some peripheral numbers that back up his status as a promising prospect. Jones leads the team with 13 extra-base hits, including three triples and four long balls. If Jones is going to be the shortstop of the future form the Mariners, he must do something about his 33-8 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.

5. Yung-Chi Chen, 2B – Wisconsin, A- Chen, too, has cooled off a bit, but the infielder has stayed failry consistent, fighting through a slump. Chen is hitting .292 with seven steals, but is picking up the strikeout bug a bit too much. Swinging and missing for a hitter like Chen isn't excusable.

6. Bobby Livingston, LHP – San Antonio, AA – Livingston is a rock. Despite an off start on May 10, Livingston continues to induce outs without missing many bats. Through May 11, Livingston is allowing a .245 average and in 41 innings has just 22 strikeouts. What's the secret? Only giving up two home runs and walking just 12 might have something to do with it.

7. Jorge Campillo, RHP – Tacoma, AAA – After a month in the states, Campillo continues to pound the strike zone and get consistent outs in the PCL. He may not be the "Mexican Maddux" but he might just be the lite/Latin version of Brad Radke. When the phone starts ringing at Cheney Stadium, Campillo should just start packing his things for the show. He's the only viable option to replace struggling right-hander Aaron Sele at this point. He's more "ready" to help right now than Felix Hernandez.

8. Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B/SS – Wisconsin, A– Cabrera is known for his defensive wizardry and his penchant for flashing said leather. But after returning quickly from an ankle injury that was expected to keep the Venezuelan out for more than a month, Cabrera has been red hot with the bat. Currently hitting .373, Cabrera is pounding the baseball and hitting for some power as well as average. In 14 games, Cabrera, supposedly of mild power, has two home runs, five doubles and a triple to go with the high average. In 92 innings in the field, playing second base, shortstop and third base, Cabrera has yet to committ an error. Big surprise.

9. Wladimir Balentien, OF – Inland Empire, A+ – Balentien's power has been shut off – quick, somebody rush to San Bernardino and flip the switch! The Impaler shares the same problem with teammate Adam Jones – to a tee. Thirty-three strikeouts versus eight walks. Though the whiffs are more acceptable coming from a power hitter, Balentien's further development relies heavily on improvement in this area.

10. Thomas Oldham, LHP – San Antonio, AA – Oldham is still adjusting to his new level and new league, but you can't tell from the always solid numbers sitting in his stat line. Oldham has walked just six in his 37 innings of work and allowed just one home run. Expect the 23-year-old to get better as the season goes, staying in the same groove that has him ranked eighth in the Texas League with a 2.68 ERA in six starts.

11. Michael Morse, SS – Tacoma, AAA – Morse's latest push at the plate has created a buzz about the 23-year-old getting a call to the majors. While he isn't quite ready to be the everyday shortstop for a big-league club, he has done everything the Mariners have asked of him thus far in 2005. As is for many prospects, Morse needs to maintin consistent play, both in the field and at the plate.

12. Robert Johnson, C – Wisconsin, A - Johnson made the biggest push since opening day, dislaying solid catching skills and staying hot with the bat. The Butte, Montana native is hitting .312/.340/.548 with four home runs and 20 RBI. If the 21-year-old stays consistent, say hello to San Bernie, Mr. Johnson!

13. Mumba Rivera, RHP – Wisconsin, A - Rivera's last five starts have been stellar, topped by his last three (20 IP, 16 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 13 K). A few more just like the previous trio and Rivera will need a new challenge. The California League isn't too far off for the 24-year-old.

14. Rene Rivera, C – San Antonio, AA - Rivera isn't giving away his seat as the top catching prospect very easily. While Johnson gains ground with his show of power, Rivera has been steady with the bat as well, hitting .281 with a pair of home runs. While defense will always be Rivera's meal ticket, his bat will dictate whether he is a major league catcher or not.

15. Jason Snyder, RHP – Wisconsin, A – Snyder was roughed up in his last start but remains one of the better right-handers in the system. Using his 6-foot, 6-inch frame to his advantage, Snyder needs to improve command and consistency to move through the system, but is more than capable of pitching his way through Double-A with his current arsenal.

16. Jamal Strong, CF – Tacoma, AAA – Strong is running out of time, but now that he's back from his 10-day suspension it's probably just a matter of time until Strong gets a look in the bigs as a speedy, defensive-minded reserve. A few more weeks of Strong's consistent bat (.364 OBP) and defensive play in center could convince the M's that it's time.

17. T.J. Bohn, OF – San Antonio, AA– Possibly the most consistent offensive player in the system is T.J. Bohn. The 25-year-old is hitting .345/.410/.504 with 14 extra-base hits and has used his speed and instincts to steal nine bases, fourth in the Texas League and tops on the Missions. Bohn is destined for Triple-A at some point this season – maybe sooner than later.

18. Aaron Rifkin, 1B – Tacoma, AAA– The M's scored with this Rule 5 draftee, as Rifkin leads the PCL in homers with 10 and is third in RBI with 28. The left-handed hitting first baseman is hitting .280 with a monstrous .593 slugging percentage as he anchors the Rainiers lineup.

19. Craig James, RHP – Wisconsin, A - Three 80s hip-hop terms describe the season of Craig James thus far; Can't touch this. Unscored upon in 10.2 innings this season, James is only allowing hitters a .171 average while striking out 10 and walking just two batters.

20. Ryan Christianson, C – Tacoma, AAA - There isn't much doubt that Christianson is a decent, if not solid bat. The key for the former first rounder is whether he can catch everyday – and do it effectively. Two exciting things in Camp Christianson; 1) With the injury to Dan Wilson, Christianson has been thrust into sharing catching duties with Bryce Terveen after Wiki Gonzalez was re-called, instead of splitting time as a DH and starting catcher; 2) Miguel Olivo is not getting the job done in Seattle, opening up the position for anyone who grabs it. An immensely motivated Christianson simply to needs to catch and throw well enough to get the attention of the M's brass.

21. Chad Fillinger, RHP – Wisconsin, A – Fillinger is another in a long line of unsung relievers that are doing more than simply getting the job done. The M's 16th rounder last June came into this season with an ERA over seven after two stops (Everett, Wisconsin) in his first taste of pro ball. In 10 appearances, Fillinger, 22, has allowed 18 hits in 18.2 innings of work, but only five earned runs (2.41 ERA). The Santa Clara product has struck out 22 and walked just seven without serving up a single long ball. Midwest League batters are hitting just .250 off the right-hander.

22. George Sherrill, LHP – Tacoma, AA – If Sherrill was four years younger, he'd likely be in the top 10 here. The southpaw has been flawless over the past three weeks, lowering his ERA to 2.45 and finishing eight of the Rainiers last 13 victories. PCL bats have yet to catch up to Sherrill, hitting just .211 off the 28-year-old. Left-handers are once again being baffled by the former indy leaguer, going one for their last 13 against Sherrill, and striking out eight times. Overall, Sherrill has 19 Ks in 14.2 innings.

23. Jesus Guzman, 3B – San Antonio, AA – Guzman returned from suspension last month and in his first 16 games, the 20-year-old has hit .293/.354 with a home run and eight RBI. Guzman never had a ton of power, only projecting to the mid-teens prior to his hiatus due to testing positive for a banned substance, so the pop in his bat shouldn't change much. Guzman's patience and plate skills should allow for a smooth transition to Double-A.

24. Cesar Jimenez, LHP – San Antonio, AA – After a bit of a slow start (4.65 ERA in first 7 appearances), Jimenez has tuned his game and reverted back to the pitcher he was a year ago when he posted some pretty nasty numbers in the California League (2.29 ERA, 81 K, 86 IP, 19 BB). The 20-year-old left-hander has reduced his ERA to 3.38 over his last nine appearances and in 18.2 innings of work has struck out 12 and walked six. Texas Leaguers are hitting just .229 off Jimenez and only .177 since April 27.

25. Juan Sandoval, RHP – San Antonio, AA – Sandoval goes virtually unnoticed at times, as he pitches in the shadow of three left-handers and a fellow right-hander who just won player of the week honors. behind Bobby Livingtson, Thomas Oldham, Ryan Rowland-Smith and Jon Huber, Sandoval is making quite a name for himself. The 24-year-old is 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA in six starts and has walked just nine batters in 31.2 innings of work. Sandoval was 27-26 in three pro seasons with an ERA over four, but this season has been much different from day one.

Seattle Clubhouse Top Stories