The rankings are based on a combination of when the player may get the call, and the likelihood that he stays there for an extended period of time – a year or more - once he initially arrives in the show. This system avoids a simple list of Triple-A players that are one step from the majors, as many times they will not stay for long. The lower half of the top 10 could still be 2-3 years from the call... The positions listed are the players expected position in the majors, should they reach the big leagues with the Mariners.
1. Chris Snelling, LF – Tacoma
Snelling is proving two things in Triple-A Tacoma this season; He can stay healthy when he puts his mind to it, and; he's ready for the big leagues.
2. George Sherrill, LHR – Tacoma
Sherrill is due to return from a side injury soon, and you can bet that by late July, the M's give him another look in the bullpen.
3. Felix Hernandez, RHS – Tacoma
Barring a setback with his current bursitis injury, it's just a matter of time before Felix gets the call. And when he does, he'll never sniff the minors again.
4. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS – Tacoma
Betancourt, not Michael Morse, is the shortstop of the future for the M's. Needs some more seasoning at the plate, but is dynamite with the glove.
5. Bobby Livingston, LHP – San Antonio
Livingston is teasing Texas Leaguers and might end up bucking the idea that he goes one level per season. With injuries to Hernandez and Campillo in Tacoma, might we see the Texan take the hill in Triple-A soon?
6. Jeff Clement, C – Unsigned
With big-league talent at the plate and the tools to develop behind it, Clement could be a rare fastrack catching prospect. Getting him signed and on the field quickly is essential.
7. Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B/SS – Inland Empire
Cabrera is Betancourt's equal in the field andshould be better offensively. Cabrera and Betancourt could be the M's equivalent of the Tribe's Omar and Alomar in the mid-90s.
8. Robert Johnson, C – Wisconsin
Johnson or Clement? It's a battle we may see for the next three years as the M's look for their future catcher.
9. Adam Jones, CF – San Antonio
Jones is going to play shortstop until he plays his way off the position, but if Betancourt and Cabrera continue to develop offensively, Jones will have to move if he wants to make the show in Seattle.
10. Matt Tuiasosopo, RF – Wisconsin
Made nice strides during his first full season of pro ball, but until the organization removes "shortstop" from his repsonsibilities, Tui is not going to develop the way he could if he didn't have to worry about his defense.
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