There’s another Top 15 Seattle Mariners Prospect list out worth visiting, and anecdotal evidence that Eric Wedge, the Mariners manager, remains very much his own man.
First, Mr. Wedge.
In a piece by freelancer Brad Lefton, who speaks Japanese and was writing from Tokyo, new Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma talked about how the team courted him this winter, including this quote about Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik:
“I found him a funny and engaging guy, easy to talk to,” Iwakuma said. “He told me the team was opening the season in Japan and he’d like to see me start one of those games. I really appreciated that.”
The kicker? When Wedge met with Iwakuma after the right-hander signed, one of the first orders of business, sources say, was Wedge telling Iwakuma he would not be starting either of those season-opening games in Tokyo. He might well pitch one of the Mariners exhibition games in Japan, but Felix Hernandez and Jason Vargas had the first two that counted. Iwakuma took the news well – but it says much that Wedge didn’t let the matter linger.
It’s a reminder, too, that Wedge plans on doing his job his way until or unless someone overrides him. Selling a free agent pitcher is one thing. Telling him when he’ll start? That’s Wedge’s job, and he took it seriously.
And now that prospect list. Writer Marc Hulet of Fangraphs broke down the Mariners Top 15 prospects, adding a bonus sleeper. Don’t know that his findings are better or much different than the other lists floating aroud the net, but it’s always worth reading. It’s not so much about the rankings as what Hulet has to say about each. His top five:
1. Jesus Montero, C/DH
2. Danny Hultzen, LHP
3.Taijuan Walker, RHP
4. James Paxton, LHP
5. Nick Franklin, SS
Each will be in camp with the Mariners this spring, and it’s never too early to pick up a little info on them and the others on Hulet’s list.