September call-ups are among us. Top prospects all around baseball are being given a chance to taste the Major Leagues. Some even have a chance at helping their big league club make a push for the postseason. September is perhaps the most exciting month for baseball, and seeing top prospects in action is a big part of it.
In the Wild Card race, the Seattle Mariners are a team on the outside looking in. They’re 69-70 and are three games out of a Wild Card spot. With about a month of regular season baseball left, they’re looking to their top prospects for help. Here’s how those prospects have done this season.
10. Max Povse, RHP
- Age: 24
- Draft: 2014, Round 3(102) – ATL
- Acquired by trade in 2016
2017 stats: (Double-A Arkansas): 39 IP, 3-2, 3.46 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 32 K, 14 BB. (Triple-A Tacoma): 31.2 IP, 1-4, 7.39 ERA, 1.67 WHIP. (MLB Seattle): 3.2 IP, 7.36 ERA, 2.73 WHIP, 2 K, 1 BB.Povse’s 2017 season can be split into two different stories. For the first half of the season, he pitched well enough in Double-A to earn his first cup of coffee in the Major Leagues. The 6-foot-8 righty can attribute his early success on generating weak ground balls. His fastball is just average, but his changeup rates above-average. He pitched to a 3.46 ERA in eight starts with Arkansas and made his MLB debut in June.
Since then, Povse hasn’t had nearly the same success. He made just three appearances at the Major League level before being sent down to Triple-A Tacoma. In 31.2 innings at Triple-A, he’s sporting an unsightly 7.39 ERA. In his last start on September 2, he lasted just 4.1 innings and allowed five runs on six hits.
9. Thyago Vieira, RHP
- Age: 24
- Signed out of Brazil in 2010 – SEA
2017 stats: (Double-A Arkansas): 36.1 IP, 2-3, 3.72 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 35 K, 15 BB. (Triple-A Tacoma): 17.2 IP, 0-1, 4.58 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 11 K, 7 BB. (MLB Seattle): 1.0 IP, 1 K.
Vieira has continued to make strides after a breakout campaign in 2016. His high 90s fastball is the best in the system, and his curveball has improved immensely. It’s that one-two punch that has made him an exciting future late-inning weapon to the Mariners bullpen.
He’s split time between Double-A and Triple-A this year and made a very quick stop with the Mariners on August 14. Vieira pitched well out of the bullpen in Double-A before being promoted to Triple-A in July. He’s had a little trouble adjusting to stiffer competition at the higher level, as he’s allowed a run in eight of his 12 appearances.
8. Christopher Torres, SS
- Age: 19
- Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014 – SEA
2017 stats: (RK-AZL): 4 games, .222/.417/.667, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 SB, 3 BB, 5 K. (Low-A Everett): 48 games, .238/.324/.435, 6 HR, 22 RBI, 44 R, 13 SB, 25 BB, 64 K.
The young switch hitter has plenty of work to do but makes solid contact and is a great defender. Torres is a typical slap-hitter that can hit from both sides of the plate with above-average speed. While his numbers haven’t been ideal in 2017, he’s been praised for his love of the game and leadership on and off the field. These are qualities you can’t teach and at just 19 years old, Torres is already ahead of the game.
He has plenty of work to do at the plate, especially from the right side. When he makes contact he does it well, logging eight doubles, six triples and six homers in 48 games. However, his aggressiveness at the plate has gotten him into trouble, striking out 64 times compared to 25 walks.
7. Julio Rodriguez, OF
- Age: 16
- Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2017 – SEA
2017 stats: Has not played.
Rodriguez ranked as the No. 9 international prospect by MLBPipeline.com before the Mariners signed him for $1.75 million in July. As any other 16-year-old does, Rodriguez has a lot of fine-tuning to do but projects to be a great hitter. He’s already showing above-average power and makes hard contact consistently. He won’t make his professional debut for a while, but the Mariners liked what they saw enough to gamble on the young outfielder.
6. Braden Bishop, OF
- Age: 24
- Drafted: 2015, Round 3(94) – SEA
2017 stats: (High-A Modesto): 88 games, .296/.385/.400, 2 HR, 32 RBI, 71 R, 16 SB, 45 BB, 65 K. (Double-A Arkansas): 31 games, .336/.417/.448, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 18 R, 6 SB, 15 BB, 15 K.
Bishop has made a name for himself with his solid hitting ability and above-average speed. While he’ll never be a power threat, his on-base abilities work great at the top of the order. After 88 games at High-A, Bishop earned a promotion to Double-A Arkansas and has only gotten better. In 31 games since being promoted Bishop is batting .336 with a homer and 11 RBI. More impressively, he’s cut back on his strikeouts since moving up, striking out the same amount of times he’s walked (15.)
5. Sam Carlson, RHP
- Age: 18
- Drafted: 2017, Round 2(55) – SEA
2017 stats: (RK-AZL): 3 IP, 3.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 3 K.
The Mariners’ second-round selection in this year’s Draft has only made two appearances this year. In three innings, he’s given up four hits, has struck out three and hasn’t walked a batter. Carlson has great poise on the mound for his age. He’s not afraid to use his changeup, which is key in complementing his mid-90s fastball and wipeout slider. Carlson should make another start before the season is over but shouldn’t go more than a couple of innings.
4. Andrew Moore, RHP
- Age: 23
- Drafted: 2015, CBB(72) – SEA
2017 stats: (Double-A Arkansas): 34.2 IP, 1-2, 2.08 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 33 K, 9 BB. (Triple-A Tacoma): 75 IP, 3-4, 3.48 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 66 K, 13 BB. (MLB Seattle): 44.1 IP, 1-3, 5.89 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 20 K, 7 BB.
Moore’s season has spanned three levels, including four different stints with the Mariners. He started at Double-A Arkansas, where he made six starts with the Travelers before heading to Tacoma. He pitched well enough in eight starts at Triple-A to earn his first Major League start on June 22. Moore threw a quality start in his debut with seven innings of three-run ball and four strikeouts.
He made six more starts before being sent back to Triple-A and went at least six innings in all but two of them. Moore was called up once more when rosters expanded earlier this week. He was impressive once again, allowing just two runs on three hits in six innings against the Astros. Moore deserves a look in fantasy leagues for teams making a push for a championship.
3. Evan White, 1B
- Age: 21
- Drafted: 2017, Round 1(17) – SEA
- MLB.com lists: Top 10 1B Prospects (#7)
2017 stats: (Low-A Everett): 14 games, .277/.345/.532, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 6 R, 6 BB, 6 K.
The Mariners wasted no time throwing their No. 17 overall selection in this year’s Draft into action. He stumbled a bit out of the gate with Low-A Everett but started to find his footing in early July. In his last six games before landing on the disabled list, White was 10-for-24 with two homers and nine RBI. White is a very toolsy player, which should help him move quickly through the Mariners’ system.
2. Nick Neidert, RHP
- Age: 20
- Drafted: 2015, Round 2(60) – SEA
2017 stats: (High-A Modesto): 104.1 IP, 10-3, 2.76 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 109 K, 17 BB. (Double-A Arkansas): 23.1 IP, 1-3, 6.56 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, 13 K, 5 BB.
With how good Neidert was in 19 starts at High-A this year, it’s a mystery why his promotion took so long. The 20-year-old was pitching way above his competition, posting a 2.76 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 104.1 innings. His 10-3 record led the team and was among the best in the California League.
Neidert’s numbers since being promoted to Double-A Arkansas aren’t quite as bad as they seem. Aside from a couple of bad starts, Neidert has adjusted to the higher competition rather well. His best start came in his Double-A debut where he went 5.1 innings, gave up two runs on four hits and struck out four. Neidert has been on the shelf since mid-August.
1. Kyle Lewis, OF
- Age: 22
- Drafted: 2016, Round 1(11) – SEA
- MLB.com lists: Top 100 Prospects (#46)
2017 stats: (RK-ARIZ): 11 games, .263/.348/.447, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 9 R, 4 BB, 14 K. (High-A Modesto): 38 games, .255/.323/.403, 6 HR, 24 RBI, 20 R, 15 BB, 38 K.
Lewis landed on MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospects lists as soon as he was drafted last year. He was one of the best all-around players in the class with the ability to hit for both average and power with decent speed. His development stalled after tearing his ACL last year but returned to action this June. He’s yet to explode at the plate since returning but has shown off some of his tools in 49 games. Lewis hasn’t shown any signs of slowing due to his injury, but the Mariners are being careful with their young prospect.