Walker returns to Jackson and will lead the staff
Hyped as the most talented team in the minor leagues last year, this version of the Double-A Jackson Generals isn't too shabby, either. As Jackson gets set to open their home schedule on Wednesday, SeattleClubhouse gives you a look at the prospect ranking and MLB-readiness of each player in the Southern League for the Mariners.
Having opened with a five game set on the road against Jacksonville in which they went 2-3, the Generals are set to open Wednesday at home against Montgomery. Here are brief capsules on the 2013 Jackson Generals active Opening Day roster, announced last week. Rankings are from the latest SeattleClubhouse Top-50 prospects in the Seattle Mariners system.
* = On 40-man roster
Taijuan Walker (No. 1 prospect on our Top-50): RHP, 20 years old
Rough first outing, but he's still the youngest player in the Southern League and has a bright future.
Roenis Elias: LHP, 24 years old
Brilliant in his first start, pitches with average stuff (88-90 mph with his fastball) but maximizes with pitchability and toughness.
* Hector Noesi: RHP, 26 years old
Was in the big league rotation last year, needs to improve on putting hitters away and keeping the ball in the yard.
* Chance Ruffin: RHP, 24 years old
Converting from relief to starting, which he did initially back in his college days. Fastball, slider, forkball pitcher that has been oddly hittable.
James Gillheeney: LHP, 25 years old
Gillheeney's made starts in Jackson each of the last three years. Lefty works in the high-80s with his fastball.
Jonathan Arias: RHP, 23 years old
Converted catcher is a hard thrower with fastball -slider combo.
Tyler Burgoon (No. 48 prospect on our Top-50): RHP, 23 years old
Fastball velocity (up to 98 at times) belies his size (5-foot-10).
Nick Hill: LHP, 28 years old
Last healthy in 2010, Hill initially reached Double-A in 2008.
Andrew Kittredge: RHP, 23 years old
Former UW Husky has pitched well since signing as non-drafted FA.
Stephen Kohlscheen: RHP, 24 years old
Tall right-hander's fastball gets on hitters quickly, making it look faster than it is.
Carson Smith (No. 17 prospect on our Top-50): RHP, 23 years old
Great sinking fastball and slider and a tough arm angle make Smith a candidate to move quickly towards the big leagues. Will close for Jackson.
Forrest Snow (No. 34 prospect on our Top-50): RHP, 24 years old
Astronomical rise during 2011, fell a bit flat in 2012 between Double-A and Triple-A. Still has stuff that can get big league hitters out with a little refining.
John Hicks (No. 15 prospect on our Top-50): C, 23 years old
Good defensive catcher with power, speed and hitting ability. Very athletic, too. Led minors in caught stealing percentage in 2012.
Brandon Bantz: C, 26 years old
Solid defender with good plate discipline but not much power has played at every level for Mariners over past four seasons.
Steven Proscia (No. 26 prospect on our Top-50): 1B/3B, 22 years old
Led M's MiLBers in HR (28) and RBI (103) in 2012. Played at Virginia with Hultzen, Hicks, etc.
Jack Marder (No. 14 prospect on our Top-50): 2B/OF, 23 years old
Marder is a baseball player, not afraid to get dirty going all out on defense or to get on base via the HBP. But he is talented, too.
* Vinnie Catricala (No. 12 prospect on our Top-50): 3B/1B/OF, 24 years old
After a tough go of it in Tacoma in 2012, Cat is stepping back down to the last level that he excelled at, crushing in the 2nd half of 2011. The M's would love for his bat to get rejuvenated.
Brad Miller (No. 4 prospect on our Top-50): SS, 23 years old
Great spring in big league camp followed a superb first full season in the minor leagues in 2012. He won't be in Jackson all year, and could jump over other prospects if there is a need at the big league level.
Leury Bonilla: IF/OF, 27 years old
Versatile enough to cover every position on the field, and that is something that he just might do in 2012 -- be that in Jackson or another level.
Gabriel Noriega: SS, 22 years old
Slick defender needs to show more patience and pop with the bat. Purest defender at shortstop in the system.
Abraham Almonte: OF, 23 years old
Came over from the Yankees for Shawn Kelley. Switch-hitting center fielder with good speed that has trouble staying healthy.
James Jones (No. 37 prospect on our Top-50): OF, 24 years old
Former pitcher is a notorious slow starter. Has great tools including plus speed, power and throwing arm.
Leon Landry (No. 18 prospect on our Top-50): OF, 23 years old
Exciting defender and baserunner with surprising pop. Burst onto baseball scene a few years back with several highlight-reel catches for LSU in College World Series. Led all of MiLB in triples (18) in 2012.
* Francisco Martinez (No. 19 prospect on our Top-50): OF, 22 years old
Converting full time to CF from 3B, bat and offensive profile fit better in the outfield. Showed much improved plate discipline and patience for Jackson in 2012.
* Julio Morban (No. 16 prospect on our Top-50): OF, 21 years old
Injuries have kept him from making too big of a name for himself, but he has a great bat and is a sound defender that can handle CF with some speed.
. . . . . . .
A very talented team overall, with 13 of the players coming in among our Top-50 prospects in the system in the latest ranking. Walker remains the youngest player in the Southern League and Smith, Miller and Morban also had great major league camps this year.
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