Right-hander Taijuan Walker heads a group of three Mariners on Baseball America’s annual spring list of the top 100 prospects in baseball.
Third baseman D.J. Peterson and left-handed pitcher James Paxton also made the list, announced Wednesday night, at No. 85 and No. 99.
Walker, 21, and Paxton, 25, are both in big-league camp and viewed as strong candidates to open the season in the Mariners’ rotation. Peterson, 22, is taking part in a mini-camp for minor-league players that runs through Feb. 28.
Minnesota outfielder Byron Buxton was ranked as the game’s top prospect, followed by Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts and St. Louis outfielder Oscar Taveras.
Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager, the younger brother of Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager, was No. 37 on the list.
Baseball America characterized Walker as “owner of one of the game’s hardest cutters (some scouts consider it a slider), Walker is ready for his close-up in Seattle’s major league rotation behind Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma.”
The magazine said “Paxton’s stuff has teased scouts for years, but he showed two true plus pitches in the big leagues last September. Now it’s a matter of repeating that performance.”
Peterson, 22, was the Mariners’ first-round pick in the 2013 draft and batted .303 with 13 homers and 47 RBIs in 55 games at Short-A Everett and Lo-A Clinton before suffering a season-ending injury on Aug. 22 when hit in the jaw by a pitch.
“Peterson moved to first base in college after struggling at third,” Baseball America noted, ”but pro ball affords the time and focused development for him to give the hot corner another, extended try. His bat should not be an issue.”