Some people like to say that spring training tells us nothing. Spring training actually shows quite a bit if you know where to look. It can show us more with players on the minor league level than at the big league level, and some of what was shown this year in Peoria with the Mariners organization has dramatically shifted the landscape of our Top-20 (and beyond) here at SeattleClubhouse.
Factoring in off-season improvements and spring performances, here is how we think the 20 best prospects in Seattle's minor leagues rank now.
20. Leon Landry - OF: Possible successor to Gutierrez in center field and as a leadoff hitter. Doesn't walk but that's because he hits everything.
19. Francisco Martinez - OF: New position allows his skills to play better. Newfound patience and success on the bases bode well.
18. Jack Marder - 2B: Scrappy sounds like an insult. Marder is just a talented, heady ballplayer with a knack for barreling up pitches.
17. Vinnie Catricala - 3B: Catricala seemed a little timid in Tacoma last year, but he is a good hitter. Needs a bounce back.
16. John Hicks - C: Great spring in big league camp again this year, showed some of that athleticism we've discussed and a solid bat.
15. Tyle Pike - LHP: Lefties with command and three average or better pitches move quickly. Pike has that and competes at a high level.
14. Carson Smith - RHP: Ground ball machine that has impressed everyone that has seen him. Matured in non-baseball ways in the last year, too.
13. Julio Morban - OF: If he can stay healthy this year he will be a lot higher next year, and probably on the verge of the big leagues.
12. Luiz Gohara - LHP: Man-child with a very impressive arsenal at his disposal and an advanced understanding of pitching considering his background.
11. Victor Sanchez - RHP: Injury setback this spring but still just 18 and on target to be a fast riser.
10. Stephen Pryor - RHP: Will be in big league bullpen and has a huge fastball, improving command and a great demeanor.
9. Stefen Romero - 2B/3B: Hit .500 in big league camp, which is about what you'd expect. Pure hitter, expanding defensive versatility this season.
8. Carter Capps - RHP: Above Pryor because the fastball is a true 80 pitch, his command is a tick above and the mechanics make him a nightmare to pick up.
7. James Paxton - LHP: Concerns over seemingly lost velocity and the command and mechanics have been off most of the AFL and spring. Still has huge potential.
6. Nick Franklin - 2B/SS: Added weight should help him in the second go-round in Triple-A, where he'll continue to play second and short. Right-handed bat something to watch closely.
5. Brandon Maurer - RHP: Breaking camp with the big league club after a standout spring. Two plus pitches, ground ball machine, mid-90s fastball and a bulldog attitude.
4. Brad Miller - SS: Versatility shown this spring as he survived the entirety of big league camp playing short, second and third and hitting well. All out competitor.
3. Danny Hultzen - LHP: Healthy and commanding the fastball, Hultzen just needs to be consistent to see the big leagues very soon.
2. Mike Zunino - C: Starting in Triple-A means that Seattle is literally right down the road. THE impact player in the system right now.
1. Taijuan Walker - RHP: He'll be back in Double-A but still with ace potential. Refining and commanding the offspeed stuff will determine how quickly he moves.
Stay tuned throughout the season as we keep you up to date with the moves of the Top-20 and beyond for the Mariners.
Looking for more Mariners news, articles and player interviews? Want to keep up with which prospects are hot and cold for the M's? "Like" SeattleClubhouse on Facebook and follow SeattleClubhouse site Editor Rick Randall on Twitter at @randallball.