They ARE Ready Now. But


=== Hot Buttons ===

As you know, 99.44% of the time it is the case that --- > SSI respects the opinion that differs from its own opinion.  

Rarely, it can occur that a dissenting opinion annoys Dr. D.  There was an opinion that Tim Lincecum was the most over-hyped prospect in the history of baseball; that opinion irritated Dr. D.  It irritated Dr. D for several reasons that we won't muck through now.  Baseball is for fun.

There was an opinion, very assertively stated, that Michael Pineda was not going to be capable of pitching in the major leagues, because fastball-slider combos never work in the majors.  That opinion irritated Dr. D on many levels.

There has been an opinion -- tentatively stated, this time around -- that Hultzen, Paxton, and Walker are not ready to pitch in the major leagues.  This opinion has not annoyed Dr. D much, because is has not manifested itself in the form of (1) arrogantly (2) dogmatic (3) ignorance.  Those three things are a tough combination.

:- ) 

No, this opinion -- that Walker, Paxton and Hultzen aren't ready -- has had a reasonable tone to it and reasonable arguments behind it.  SSI therefore respects the opinion, though SSI believes the opinion to be almost certainly misjudged.


=== THANK you. ===

The irritating component to this opinion is the one that assumes that W+P+H would pitch badly in Safeco in April of 2012.  This is not the case.  Give me a ballclub with Walker, Paxton, and Hultzen, and you take one with Iwakuma, Millwood, and Beavan, and I'll be way ahead of you.  This June 1.  Right now.  These three young pitchers are the best the Mariners have, except Felix.

That's why it lanced the wound for me, when Jack Zduriencik said this:

" ... You have to realize it doesn't really matter how talented that player is. Their abilities might be better than players you have on your ballclub. But is the emotional aspect of being in the big leagues? ..."

It floored me that Zduriencik would publicly acknowledge this fact:  the fact that James Paxton can, right now, pitch better than Blake Beavan can.  And because he acknowledged this truth, I can move on to the rest of what he's saying.


=== The $10,000 Poker Table ===

What Zduriencik moved on to say was:  there is a lot of pressure in the big leagues.  You want to nurture the young pitchers so you're sure they're ready emotionally.

SSI is absolutely on board with this, in the abstract.  We ran an article on it, last week.  It would be the reason why you would bring Walker, Paxton and Hultzen up TO PITCH IN THE BULLPEN.  It is not a reason to start them in Cheney eight times, and then start them in Safeco.  Tim Lincecum's and Felix Hernandez' AAA starts were not the basis for their confidence.  But, whatever.


There is a reason that I do not buy Zduriencik's public explanation, in this specific case.  It is because all three pitchers came to camp and demonstrated far more emotional maturity than expected.  Taijuan Walker, in particular, left everybody open-mouthed and staring.  The ballplayers, the national media, and even the jaded local beat writers were completely taken aback by Walker's baseball presence.

So Zduriencik walked into camp, saw this, and then said "fuhgeddaboudit.  These three need a soft landing."  I am not buying it, period.  If they were going to send them down no matter what, they could have said that in December.  Instead, they said "We'll see!"  and then when they did see, they sent them down.



=== Sacrifice 2012 for 2018 ===

We explained in another article that we believe it has suddenly dawned on Zduriencik, that he has a possible dynasty brewing -- that about May 7 or so, he realized that the situation is far, far better than he thought it was.

Under these circumstances, it hits him that 2018 is going to be a much better year than 2012 is going to be.  ... would the 1976 Reds have been glad, if they'd missed out on Johnny Bench because they'd taken a 1967 year with Bench?

Not to be snarky, but there are some bloggers who always want to trade 2012 for 2018.  And come 2018, they'll want to trade it for 2023.  That's not me.  But in this specific case, I will trade 2012 for 2018.  That's a trade you make.


=== Pole Position ===

By the way, when the M's brought James Paxton to camp the first time, and Lonnie undergrounded his video, Baker quoted me as saying I'd trade you three Taijuan Walkers for one James Paxton.  Meaning, I'll give you three 96-mph teenagers for one Paxton.

Matters have changed since then.  Walker has passed up the two college pitchers, in SSI's world.  His progression has been a rocket ride at red line.  Taijuan, in the past year generally and in the past two weeks especially, has become a generational prospect.  It's not clear that he's less talented than Felix, or than Dwight Gooden.  The makeup is part of that.


=== Fire the Bullets While You Got 'Em ===

Here's another general rule, and another specific case that is an exception:  If Michael Pineda is throwing great right now, you'd better use him.  You've got no idea where his arm will be in 7 years.

By another spellbinding stroke of luck, the Mariners' three young pitching pheenoms are ALL exceptions to this rule.  All of the below factors speak to durability issues:

  1. James Paxton - perhaps the best left handed motion in organized baseball, AND he throws 95 mph.
  2. Danny Hultzen - low-stress sidearm motion, college background, and the K/BB factor.
  3. Taijuan Walker - Clean motion with good elbow angle, 99 mph, athleticism, grace, balance.

It is blinkin' rare that I would predict a 19-year-old pitcher to be healthy at 25.  But I'd have predicted Felix for that, and I'll predict Taijuan Walker for it.

Michael Pineda does indeed have a high back elbow and a history of arm pain.  I'm not predicting him to survive the next six years with any confidence.  But Paxton, Hultzen, and Walker?  I'll cosign.  It's okay to sacrifice two months now, in order to keep their seventh years.

C'mon.  You really think the Oakland A's can hit Taijuan Walker?  Is that really what you think would happen, that they'd step up there and turn around his 98-mph fastballs, and knock Walker out of the box in the third inning?  Sigh.

The pitching stars are going down for a little while.  But it doesn't have anything to do with the idea that maybe Howie Kendrick can turn around Taijuan's fastball.  It has to do with the sudden realization that the Seattle Mariners have a colossus brewing.



In other threads we've discussed J0-EM11's postulate of JackZ as the Wizard of Oz, disguising what is really going on with the best show he could manage. If that is true, then at some point he has to back out gracefully from what is there now to what will be.
If (and I believe it to be so) Millwood, Beaven, Iwakuma, Figgins, Ryan, Olivo, Guti, et al, become surplus to the Ms needs during this year, he owes it to the owners to get as much as he can for them to continue winning in the future. Again, the fans are disappointed by Figgins' performance, and they are in truth paying the bills, but if there's any chance that he hits a little bit and somebody then wants him, Jack Z has to do what he's doing. And that goes for each one of those players. There were brought in to bridge to players Jack Z could find. No one was sure Walker would develop, or Paxton would shake the rust, but lo they did. Was Jack Z certain to get Ackley, Hultzen, et al in the draft and have them "pay off"? No.
And so we now have not just one, but as many as ten guys who are better than the guys ahead of them on the depth chart. Not just Walker-Hultzen-Paxton, but Catricala, Snow, Seager, Franklin (soon), Montero, Robinson, and maybe more - is this the year Robles, Chavez, Martinez, Triunfel, Peguero, ... figure it out?
Jack has a really hard patch ahead - not just that the dynasty may be coming, but how to clear the way for budding stars and be fair to the players who become excess and be responsible to ownership. If the players hadn't worked out (and, of course, some may still disappoint) then we would consider it par for the course. That so many of his moves have worked, and so many of the prospects have taken the challenge to raise their game, may have actually been the easy part.
Just sayin' 


Of the three, I had thought that Hultzen would come into camp and just be too interesting to send down.  He was my best bet to make the Opening Day roster.  I was wrong.  Hultzen may well be this group's Jerry Koosman.  But it looks like Paxton and Walker are in the Seaver and Nolan Ryan-type mode (take your pick...and, yes, I know that neither of those guys was a lefty.  Did ya forget that they were all on the '69 Mets?)).
All the same, you only need two of those guys to reach already-shown potential and you have something worth giggling greedily about.
I'll take Hultzen as Koosman (or maybe Koosman+, even though Koos was dang good), if we get Walker/Paxton as a Seaver or Ryan!!! 
Mid-May and a Super Two designation is just about right for the first guy up.
I remain surprised that we won't break camp with one of them, after all, 150 innings is 150 innings.  But I can understand the lure of an extra year of control and it is a semi-logical move.
But Z won't wait long.  Doc, what are the odds that all three throw in The Show in '12?

Auto5guy's picture

Irritating arguments?
It might be irritating, it's certainly not rational, but the Seattle net world and fanbase might be the most resistant to a youth movement in all of baseball. Sure, we'll cheer for the occasional youngster but we hedge our hopes and look for the cloud in the silver lining. And if you are talking huge chunks of the team being rookies... that conversation is gonna get irritating real quick.
It stems from our collective pain of having our farm system go through the equivalent of the dust bowl. I really think you'd have less of these arguments in a town like Oakland.
Please Jack, exorcise these demons. It's way overdue.


... except Rocky.
Edgar - cup of coffee at age 24, then again at age 25 ... then a 74 OPS+ at age 26 in 200 PAs.  Seattle had been horrid for a long time before Edgar arrived.  When he finally hit .830 at age 27, he was a nice surprise, but had ceased being anything akin to a "prospect" long ago. 
Griffey was up at age 19 -- and had a swell .748 OPS in 500 rookie PAs.
AROD got a sniff at age 18, and got 150 PAs at age 19 - and managed a 72 OPS+. 
Randy Johnson had a 4.40 ERA in his first year in Seattle, with a 7-9 record, at age 25.  He had his first ERA under 3.50 in his FIFTH season in Seattle.
The four greatest prospects developed in Seattle history and not a single one was anything special immediately.  But, when Seattle got good, they turned off the prospect faucet completely.  The poor seasons for the stars were the road work needed to "get good". 
But those days are more than 15 years in the past.  With no recent exposure to the very normal pedestrian introductions of future stars, Seattle fans have no frame of reference.  They expect instantaneous stardom and anything less deserves immediate scorn.
The initial expectations are typically wildly optimistic ... but the dismissals are equally drastic.  There's nothing wrong with .830 guys at bat-first positions or .750 guys at glove first positions.  But, when the discussions begin with, "he's going to slug .550" or "OBP .400" or the pitching comps go immediately to Ryan and Seaver ... it literally become impossible to have any hope of exceeding expectations, and a long shot to meet any.
Hey, I get that March is the time to dream.  Every team can imagine that perfect accident that creates a worst-to-first miracle.  But how can a franchise do anything BUT be viewed as an utter failure if after winning 67 games the talk is not about having a good miracle season ... but has already gone to dreams of a dynasty? 
The interesting thing to watch, however, is how when Prince was out there the group think was largely "if we don't get him, we aren't even trying."  The team is getting better.  The franchise is getting better.  But the hole was gigantic.  The club could add 150 runs scored and still be below average. 
As a Braves fan I lived through a real "worst-to-first" season.  But I understood in the 2-3 years BEFORE the run began that things had changed.  It was only a real worst-to-first miracle for those watching from a distance.  The foundation of winning was built through the road work of trial and error where many parts began coming together ... but not enough.
The dynamic that is lost on most fans and too many analysts is that baseball more than any other sport is one where you have to achieve a critical mass of talent across 18 different primary positions.  The difference between having solid talent at 3 positions vs. 9 positions really doesn't make as much difference as going from 9 to 12.  And the REAL gains are getting adequate talent at positions 16 and 17 and 18.
The fixation on single player performance ignores the many, many hall of famers who rarely and often never reached the post-season.   Seattle has a lot of good, young, promising talent.  Do they have enough to reach the critical mass over the 18 or so critical positions?  Unlikely. 
2012 will likely be the road work year ... when the club learns a lot about a lot of kids.  Some will probably emerge as true talents.  Others will fail to produce.  This is the year the fans need to realize the club has to drink their eggs and do their bag work and tenderize those flank steaks. 
Yes, the club relative to where it has been the past 8 years is positioning itself for an extended period of being competitive.  First, they need to produce at least one .800 hitter.  Then two.  Then three.  But do not be fooled into thinking that this is likely to magically come together in a single bolt of lightning.  It is morning in Seattle and the mournful tones of a trumpet can be heard in the distance.  With luck and a lot of hard work, perhaps by the end of 2012 these kids may learn how to fly.

ghost's picture

Mariner fans are brutally skeptical of youth because Mariner fans are logical creatures like the rest of the world and Seattle's farm system has been incompetently managed, poorly stocked, and way overexposed for two long decades prior to big Z.
Gillick didn't care about prospects at all.
Bavasi sucked at picking them...or the people to groom them...or knowing how to promote them.
Z got it just right on all three counts for many of these guys...or at is starting to look that way.
We shall see.


Sandy, I agree with all you've said. Since I'm obviously one of the ones getting excited, let me give you my perspective.
I became aware of being a baseball fan, rather than just playing ball, in 1955, with my Grandmother's letters about how great the Braves were, now that they were in Milwaukee, and how she looked forward to us coming the following summer so we could go to games together. In summer 1956, I got that chance and saw a team growing. Aaron, Mathews, Spahn, Burdette, Buhl, Adcock, Crandal - they were a young team for the most part, but obviously getting better. By the following year the were in the World Series.
My parents had moved us to San Francisco in 1955, and in 1958 the Giants came to town. My father's company had been boosters of them coming. I immediately switched my allegience, and when I got to meet Orlando Cepeda in his rookie year, I had a hero, too. Mays, Cepeda, Haller, Pagan, Marichal, Miller, McCormick, the Alous, it seemed every month somebody came from Tacoma or Phoenix to energize them more. In July 1959 I was at the game against Philadelphia in Seals Stadium when Willie McCovey made his debut against Robin Roberts. I got a foul that he arched up into the high seats along the right field line. Then he smacked a triple off the wall that I thought was going to go through it. All of a sudden my hero, Orlando, was replaced by someone better! By 1962, they got to the World Series, and, if the Reverend Mr. Bobby Richardson had been an inch shorter, would have won it. A few years later, like the Braves did, they got older and not as fun. And we moved back to the NW.
Most of my time in the seventies was spent either at sea or in shipyards, so I didn't have time for baseball, but at the end of a yard period at PSNS in 1976, I remember the excitement that Seattle was getting a team.
In the late 80's I was back in the Bay Area as Canseco, then McGwire, then Weiss came to Oakland. The same vibe as the late 50's Giants redux, from pathetic to amazin' in about three seasons. Dave Duncan resurrecting Stewart and Welch and Moore, players like Lansford, Gallego, Steinbach, Hendu .. it was exciting watching them come together.
Finally, in 1990 I was assigned to USS Nimitz in Bremerton, and after we helped with a fracas in Kuwait, I got to become a Mariners fan. Griffey, Edgar, Buhner, Big Unit, ... The stars kept falling and playing better and better. Even if the Kingdome sucked.
I went to Groton in 1993. Halfway between New Yawk and Bahston. I became a Braves fan again, having WTBS available in the BOQ. Another exciting young club coming together after being pathetic, with young stars like Smoltz, Glavine, the Joneses,  - it was wonderful.
I returned to Seattle in the summer of '95 as the team I had followed earlier, the beloved Ms, went on the run that culminated in "the dog pile". Between 1995 and 1999, we got a ride that was again as fun as it gets. In 2001, we saw a season for the ages, but it didn't look good for the future even at the peak - there was no pack of talented, hungry young guys coming in behind Ichiro, and the team was aging fast. The rest as they say, was history until Jack Z.
So now we're here. Am I excited -- you bet I am. Do I think we're going to the World Series? -- No, but in two to three years, based on what I have seen and experienced in my baseball life, this team is going to be awfully good. There is much to be excited about, much to admire in the way these new kids are stepping up and doing everything they can to be the best, even though the reward is probably a few seasons away, if they're lucky.
I remember asking why the Braves had two first basemen, Adcock and Torre, and being told "when you have a good team, you have a good player at each postion; when you have a great team, you have trouble fitting all the good guys in the lineup." I remembered that when McCovey replaced Cepeda, and I'm remembering it again with the discussions of how to get Carp, and Catricala, and Montero, and Wells ... all in a lineup together. Gonna be a good year, with the promise of some great ones real soon. 


You cut and pasted.
Nobody started any discussions with "he's going to slug .550" or "he's going to OBP .400."
With Taijuan, Paxton, and Hultzen, those comps go straight to the best, yes.  .... when given by East Coast guys like Bowden, that is.  ;- )
As to your broader point .... all SSI citizens, hold up your hand and identify yourself if --- > you're not aware of the fact that the M's young hitters could fail in 2012.
Hold up your hand if you have ruled out a 22-32 M's record in the first third of the season.
Anybody?  Anybody?  
Didn't think so.
Gordon, Spectator, and I have been saying, who cares whether 2012 brings meaningful August baseball or whether it doesn't.  This is the way you build a ballclub.  Win or lose in 2012, it's going in the right direction. 
You've got 5,000 to 10,000 'net rats in Seattle, and every single rat is painfully aware that the M's could lose 90 games in 2012.  I mean I don't know ONE (1) person who isn't aware of the possibility of a lost season.
When other blogs start every single post with a reminder that the M's could lose, who are they talking to?


I'll agree (in spirit) with the wet drizzle to this extent...
The probability of a disappointing 2012 season just went way up.  When the M's decided they'd go with their second string 2-5 rotation this year.
Baker is saying that Catricala surely heads for AAA as well.  Hope he's just guessing, but if he's not, those four demotions take a big bite out of any 2012 Cinderella chances (chances, Sandy) that might have been lurking.


Catricala......what to do?
Mostly, find a way to quickly dump Chone. 
And I wonder Doc, how patient the M's might be if Smoak struggles mightily.  Patient there, I hope.  He can hit.
But at some point, Z has to commit to somebody in the kiddy korps. Catricala it ought to be, I think.  But I like Liddi, too.
Catricala, Franklin, a pretty darn good AAA IF,
Sometimes you just admit you have a prodigy, a Gooden or a Mantle, and you let them learn right now.
We might have a couple of those.  Caution is natural, but so is admitting the guy is pretty dang good.

ghost's picture

Can you honestly say thatyou've been reading the Mairner blogosphere and then post something that bears no resemblence to what is being said??
What on Earth has led you to the conclusion that Mariners fans are so excited now that they're envisioning that 2012 is going to be one for the ages?  No...we're saying we smell a dynasty brewing and for that reason, it now makes sense to DELAY CALLING UP THE KIDS because 2012 isn't probably winnable but 2018 is.  We're saying that we're going to have fun in 2012 because this club is going to be ABOUT something...even if it's not about October baseball, it will mean something for the future...there will be a reason to watch the games.
Although...I would point out, Mr. Sandman...that Z has been running this club for three years now...there was real road work done in that time.  Just because you haven't seen the pieces moving at the big league level much yet doesn't mean the board wasn't being set.
We are very aware that this is a longshot year...but the chance of a cinderella season is NOT zero and the chance of a dynasty in the making rises every year that Zduriencik is in command and that makes this team even more fun than the 1993 club that I fell in love with...because this team got there from, IMHO, an even worse place than those lousy 1989 type clubs.  They were bad...these recent clubs have been historically terrible at certain things while not losing enough games to guarantee first picks in drafts. And yet, I think the talent pipeline is more impressive in 2012 than it was in 1993.
Remember '93, everyone?  The club went 84-78, had lots of fun stories (Griffey homering in 8 straight games, RJ having his first all-star season, Bosio and Fleming behind him etc), and were in contention until 10 days before the end of the season.
This is a good ballclub we have now...just like that '93 club was...even if they don't win a ton yet.

glmuskie's picture

That's one that's been bugging me.  Seems like every local author and blogger is doing that, putting in to each article or post, 'The Mariners will not contend this year, but...'
As if they really know.  If you discount the (admittedly, remote) possiblity that the M's get to August and have a shot at the division, then you discount both historical precedent and the inherent and unpredictable nature of the sport.


What does stashing obvious talent in AAA say about this club?
1) We don't care about winning this year.  No sense wasting 2018 ammo on an unwinnable 2012, as Doc said.  Save that tinder for a future year.
2) We don't believe Paxton / Hultzen / Walker / Erasmo can be one of our 5 best starters.  I mean, have you seen Beavan and Millwood?  Perfection right there.
3) We don't believe those four are ready.  Bring them up too soon, expose them, and they could turn into Chris Tillman or Luke Hochevar who have been flailing away uselessly for years.
4) Something else.
It's the something else that intrigues me, because Jack has already shown he's willing to burn future years on pitchers (Pineda) because they can help him win now.    What does Jack care about 2018 if he's not here because we keep losing?
As for #2... watch Beavan, watch Hultzen, and tell me which guy has the pro future as more than a #5 guy.  Or the pro present.  Millwood is trying to cling to his last year as a pro with his fingernails while Paxton is demolishing people.  #2 doesn't make sense to me.
And 3 doesn't sound right either, because anybody who's seen them throw is fairly well astonished by how much they look like 5 year MLB vets out there on the mound.
So what could be under the heading of #4?  Are we trying to spread out arb payments (which is a 2-3 year problem not a 6 year problem and might be more on Jack's timeframe)?
Carp, Ackley, Seager and Montero are all starting their arb clocks this year.  If you want to hold Catricala, Hultzen and Erasmo until next year to get some space and not have all the big arb checks coming in the same years, I can see that.  I guess.
Is the mess of the early season (opening games in Japan, back for more preseason, then do more stateside openers, don't use a #4 or 5 pitcher for 2+ weeks, etc) making it not worth your time to try to deploy the kids in April?  You want their routine to stay steady so they can't come up until May?  (The extra year is gained by holding them out until the 4th week of April.  Arb eligibility for Super-2 is "end of may to early june" which is why most players don't come up til the 2nd week of june to be mostly sure they miss both deadlines).
I would LOVE to know how us opening the season on the 28th affects the extra year and if it pushes back the deadline for the extra year to like April 18th. 
But for our purposes, let's say the Ms aren't playing games with 2019 seasons or Super-2 arb status, that they DO believe at least one of those four arms is one of their 5 best starting options in April and that they all have the talent to succeed.
Why are we holding them down?  To beat up on minor leaguers and gain courage?  Those are some of the most mentally-strong pitchers to come through our system in a long time.  To work on third pitches, or throwing more to professional batters, or...
I don't like ANY of the options I'm coming up with.  For Catricala I can see it as a vote of confidence in Seager + a need for outfield help with the Guti situation.
As Ric Flair would say: "To be the man, you've gotta beat the man."  Vinnie would have to de-throne Seager, and he hasn't done it yet.  Fine.
But in a no-holds-barred cage match there's no WAY that Beavan + 97 year old Millwood can take Hultzen + Paxton.  I know Joel Pineiro's been getting paid 8 million a year to put up Beavan-like lines, but the Ms will have to see a LOT of growth in Beavan's 3.5 K/9 game to let him keep doing that for 200 innings a year, especially in front of several 9 K/9 arms.
We can't be trying to pump up trade value on any of our other pitchers, right?  Surely we've already traded all the TOR starters we plan to in the near future. I can't wait to see what Jack's plan is.  Because stashing 2 or 3 potential ROY candidates in the minors to appease a vet on a one-year deal and a #6 arm seems strange no matter WHAT way I look at it.


At time of MLB debut and/or now:


Years pro
AA starts
AAA starts










Sure, you've got college for Pax and Hultz, but you get the idea.  Pineda was moving quickly, but not making a flying leap.  Skipping AA and AAA is a flying leap. 
Felix got 10 games at AA and 19 (14 starts) at AAA before the call.
Even if it may not apply in this case, I don't think it's unreasonable to impose a little bit of "glide path" to the development arc.  True, these guys seem to have the maturity level to avoid the pitfalls, but I don't see the downside of not forcing them into the bigs immediately.
It would be different if you didn't have 5 decent MLB-level starters, but it seems like we've maybe got 7, so no reason not to let things follow a more natural course.


Spec, I'm not sure that Felix is any less of a pitcher right now if he hadn't had 24 AA/AAA starts. 
If Paxton, Hultzen and Walker are going to be good enough in 20 starts, well, they're basically good enough now.
But I think G_Money has hit the nail on the head.  You have four guys, who may be long-termers, starting their arb clock this year.  Pushing the next four back until next year (which means waiting until mid-May) makes sense. 
I can understand that.  Still I thought we would see one of them make the trip to Japan.  I'm still holding onto hope that it will be Vinnie....but maybe it will just be Liddi.


Mike Leake - 7.1 IP in the minors, TOTAL (Hultzen path)
Tim Lincecum - 62 IP in minors, 31 above A-ball (Paxton path)
Clayton Kershaw - jumped from AA to the bigs at age 20 (Walker path)
Now, I have no need to rush all three of them, but I could see one of them jumping up quickly this year, especially if the kids on offense bring the lumber to the yard.
It's not exactly unprecedented - it's how teams can treat premium talent.  The better question is probably, "Just how good do you think the Ms talent is?"
Because at this point, my homer assessment is terrifyingly optimistic, my restrained assessment is still really good, and I have to go to a disaster assessment involving raining frogs and rivers of blood to believe that the Mariners pipeline will not be stuffing this roster full of plus players over the next couple of years. 
If the Royals were getting all that publicity for their 7-in-the-top-100 talent rating last Spring, then how good do the Mariners look with Ackley, Smoak, and Montero all mashing in the lineup and surrounded by the Carps and Seagers and Jasos all in the bigs...
And potentially six top-100 talents still on the farm in the high minors this year (and another on the way in the draft)?

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