Down on the farm Greg Halman planted 33 home runs in 2010. He is a 22 year old outfielder with great power, just what the M’s need. But he has a dark side. He struck out 40% of the time and hit .243. In a September call up he struck out 11 of 29 times, hitting .167. This farmer’s crop is not ready.
Nick Franklin at 19 is a few years away, but at Clinton he hit .283, belted 23 home runs, with 65 rbis and stole 25 bases. Power and speed is a great upside for this shortstop. He will be one to watch on the farm next season.
Another young shortstop is 20 year old Carlos Triunfel who hit .257 with 7 homers and 42 rbis. He stole eight bases but was caught ten times.
James Jones, 22, 6-4, 195 lbs, a right fielder who at Clinton hit .269 with 12 homers, 65 rbis and 24 steals.
Born in Italy, Alex Liddi, another 22 year old, played third base in 2010 hitting .281, with 15 home runs and driving in 92. He is behind Mike Mangini as a third base prospect. Mangini in a September call up and hit .250 for the M’s in 38 at bats and has a chance to make the club with a good spring, especially if Jose Lopez does not have his option picked up.
Dustin Ackley, former number one draft choice of the Mariners and future second baseman is hitting .344 in the Arizona Fall League with 2 homers, 9 rbis and is first in league with 13 walks. But it is one thing to be hot in the desert and another to be hot in Seattle. Figgins or Mangini could play third and perhaps Ackley at second.
It could be Ackley, Mangini, catcher Adam Moore, Michael Saunders in left, and Justin Smoak at first. There is still Ichiro, Gutierrez, and Figgins for veteran leadership. It is time to let some kids play and for the Mariners to stick with them, through the learning curve. Eric Wedge, the new manager, has a good reputation with young players, so look for some fresh young faces during 2011.