The Seattle Mariners are the unfortunate owners of a 19 season-long playoff drought. Their drought is unmatched by any other team in the four major North American sports (MLB, NHL, NFL, and NBA). The Mariner’s playoff drought doesn’t look to be ending this upcoming year with another year of a competitive American League West. Since the 2018 season, the Seattle Mariners have acquired six 2021 Top 100 Prospects. Whether through the draft, trade, or an international free agent signing, the Mariners are trending towards finally ending their infamous playoff drought.
Kelenic is currently ranked as the fourth overall prospect in baseball according to the MLB Pipeline. He’s viewed as a five-tool player who will have no problem putting balls into play while being able to defend in the outfield as well. The hard-hitting 21-year-old left-hander was originally drafted sixth overall by the New York Mets in 2018. Less than a year later, Kelenic was traded in a package for Seattle’s star closer Edwin Diaz
and Robinson Cano
Kelenic is expected to make his Major League debut during the 2021 season despite many believing that he was ready to make his debut during the shortened 2020 season. He even spent that season at the team’s alternate site. During a recent podcast, now-former president and CEO of the Mariners, Kevin Mather, controversially stated that the team purposefully kept him off of the 40-man roster to take advantage of the prospect and delay his already distant free agency. Even though Kelenic has not yet played above Double-A, many believe that his tools translate to an early spot in the team’s outfield along with the 2020 Rookie of The Year Kyle Lewis
. He could certainly compete for the award himself this upcoming season.
Rodriguez was signed by the Mariners on July 2, 2017, to an international deal with a $1.75 million signing bonus as the 10th overall international prospect that year, according to MLB Pipeline. Rodriguez is currently ranked as the fifth overall prospect according to the MLB Pipeline right behind friend and fellow prospect Kelenic. The right-handed outfielder is expected to be held in the minors this upcoming season and is expected to make his debut in 2022, an expected plan for a 20-year-old outfielder whose raw power has still not been fully realized.
Rodriguez was another recent target of Mather’s controversial interview where Mathers called the Dominican outfielder “loud” and decided to comment on his English by calling it “not tremendous”. Look for Rodriguez to most likely slot in at right field alongside Kelenic and Lewis, giving the Mariners the potential to have three straight Rookie of the Years and a high-powered offensive outfield in 2022.
Hancock was the sixth player drafted during Major League Baseball’s virtual 2020 draft and has already found himself as the 31st overall prospect on the MLB Pipeline. The 21-year-old starting pitcher is expected to make his debut in 2022 for the Mariners despite being one of many prospects who has not played a single game in the minor leagues. With a fastball with a speed of 94-99 mph and his curveball, slider, and changeup all being plus pitches there is no doubt that the Mariners see him as a key piece of their future.
Gilbert was drafted 14th overall in the 2018 MLB Draft and is the second member of that draft to land on this list. Gilbert is the 33rd ranked prospect on the MLB Pipeline. The 23-year old right-hander is the oldest player on our list and is set to make his debut during the upcoming 2021 season. As a non-roster invitee for spring training, the Mariners are looking at Gilbert for the near future. However, he will need to improve his surrounding pitches to support his 97 mph fastball to reach his full potential. As a player who has developed and performed at every level with the Mariners, his arrival to the Mariners this upcoming season will certainly be welcomed for the Mariner’s rotation.
Kirby is the 92nd overall prospect according to the MLB Pipeline. Drafted 20th overall in the 2019 MLB Draft by the Mariners, the 23-year-old will look to join the Mariners in 2021 despite only pitching 23 innings for the team since then. Many view Kirby as a command-first style pitcher who is great at limiting walks – walking only 50 batters in 263 innings between college and the minor leagues. With a fastball that has the ability to reach 98 mph as he develops, he will look to fill a necessary role in the Mariners’ bullpen when he arrives later this season.
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