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2015 Non-Roster Position Players

The Mariners held their first full workout today, meaning everyone has arrived in Peoria. So, it's time to look at the rest of the non-roster invitees just like I did last week with pitchers and catchers. here's how the initial rankings are tallied:
  • 1 point per year away from 28 years old, either way (so super young and super old players are equally intriguing, though for different reasons)
  • 1 point per league level. MLB is worth 4 points, AAA 3 points, and so on
  • 1 point for being a lefty arm
  • 1 point if the player has some special circumstance that adds to their intrigue
Without further ado, the initial position player rankings!
  1. Endy Chavez (+13): The aged wonder soldiers on, accumulating this massive rating based on the fact that he somehow was a regular for the M's last year and he is closer to 40 than 30. He seems to always rise to the MLB roster.
  2. Franklin Gutierrez (+6.75): Guti was hard to rate since he didn't play at all last season. Ultimately I gave him credit for half of his 2013 level (split between AAA and MLB) and then added a bonus point given the intrigue of how he might come back from missing all of last season.
  3. D.J. Peterson (+6.5): I think Peterson is the first basemen of the future when he's ready, which isn't yet, but hopefully not too far into the future.
  4. Jordy Lara (+6): Lara put up a big year in high A. This next season is an interesting one for him, though he figures to be among the early spring cuts.
  5. Carlos Rivero (+5): Likely AAA depth, particularly after Rickie Weeks was signed.
  6. Patrick Kivlehan (+4.5): I've got a prospect crush on Kivlehan, so I disagree with my own ranking here. Still, the system is the system, and the fact is that Kivlehan is a bit old as a prospect and hasn't hit AAA yet. I'm still excited to see how he does in 2015 though and I hope he tears up the Cactus league.
  7. Shawn O'Malley (+4): Definition of minor league depth. He will probably stick around camp a while but it's impossible to see him on the opening day roster without an apoplectic amount of injuries.
So, the rankings of all non-roster invitees is as follows:
  1. Endy Chavez (+13)
  2. Joe Saunders (+10)
  3. John Baker (+10)
  4. Rafael Perez (+8)
  5. Mark Lowe (+7)
  6. Tyler Marlette (+7)
  7. Stephen Landazuri (+7)
  8. Justin Germano (+7)
  9. Franklin Gutierrez (+6.75)
  10. D.J. Peterson (+6.5)
  11. Jordan Pries (+6)
  12. Tyler Olson (+6)
  13. Jordy Lara (+6)
  14. Sam Gaviglio (+6)
  15. Mike Dowd (+6)
  16. Steve Baron (+5.5)
  17. Carlos Rivero (+5)
  18. Forrest Snow (+5)
  19. Patrick Kivlehan (+4.5)
  20. Shawn O'Malley (+4)
Frankly, I am surprised at what this simple rating system churned out. The top four scores pretty clearly reside with the four players most likely to earn opening day roster spots (though I do not expect any of them to earn roster spots). All that really says is that the most seasoned veterans the Mariners invited to camp are not idiots. They picked a place where they can compete for a roster spot. I will check in again with an updated list after a few games have been played, and detail how the ranking system will update based on spring performances.

Mariners Looking To Get Into The Playoffs

This is a guest post written by James Wolcott on behalf of FanDuel. Enjoy a more national perspective on the Mariners!

Last season, quite a few people were surprised with how well the Seattle Mariners played. Even though they were stuck in probably the toughest division overall last year, they were in the wild-card race until the very end. Thanks to some offseason acquisitions, they feel like they are going to be even better in 2015.

Anyone who plays fantasy baseball understands that you need talent in order to win games at the MLB level. Seattle was pretty busy heading into the 2014 season, as their big free agent prize was Robinson Cano. He will have more help in the lineup this year, as they paid pretty big bucks to land Nelson Cruz. People in fantasy baseball loved his production with the Baltimore Orioles last year, and they can only hope that he will be able to do the same in a slightly more spacious ballpark.

Pitching is always going to be important for Seattle, especially given their home field advantage. Felix Hernandez once again will give them a legitimate ace, and they are hoping that others will be able to contribute as well. Taijuan Walker has had some pretty decent success in limited action at the MLB level, in Seattle is hoping that he can settle into a bigger role in 2015.

The Los Angeles Angels are going to be tough yet again this season, and of course the Oakland Athletics are not going anywhere despite having some roster turnover. Even Texas and Houston will both be better than a season ago. Nothing is going to be easy in the American League West, but Seattle feels like they are going to be legitimate contenders this year. Hopefully, everything comes together for them. It has been a while for Seattle fans to experience playoff success of any kind. They have the fantasy baseball standouts to really look like a significant player in baseball for the next few years.

2015 Non-Roster Pitchers and Catchers

The Mariners report for spring training Friday morning, which is very soon! Or, if you check on the blogosphere in the morning, it is happening or has already happened! Either way, the words pitchers and catchers reporting ceremonially close out the winter and welcome in spring, at least in my head.

One of my favorite storylines in spring training every year are the non-roster invitees (NRIs). These are players not on the 40-man roster that participate in MLB spring training. They usually fall in two categories: 1) MLB veterans trying to catch back on and prolong their career 2) up-and-coming prospects. The dichotomy always makes the NRI list a study in contrasts, which is part of the fun. Most become distant footnotes in a hurry, but invariably a few surprise and even find their way to the majors.

I will look at the Mariners NRIs in two posts. Since pitchers and catchers report now, I will rate the pitchers and catcher now. Then, I will rate the batters when they show up. Together they will combine for weekly NRI power rankings based on their intrigue and, as they play, their performance. I will use a pretty simple +/- system which I will explain in more detail when games happen. For now, here's how the initial rankings are tallied:

  • 1 point per year away from 28 years old, either way (so super young and super old players are equally intriguing, though for different reasons)
  • 1 point per league level. MLB is worth 4 points, AAA 3 points, and so on
  • 1 point for being a lefty arm
  • 1 point if the player has some special circumstance that adds to their intrigue
Without further ado, the initial pitcher and catcher rankings!

UPDATE (2/22/2015, 12:22pm): The Mariners signed Joe Saunders to a minor league deal with a spring training invite yesterday. He ranks as a +10 in my ranking system and takes over the top spot on this list. You may remember him as a mediocre innings eater for the M's a few years back, and now he is in camp to compete for a bullpen spot.
  1. John Baker (+10): This tells you all you need to know about how uninteresting the pitcher and catcher NRIs are. Baker was the Cubs backup catcher last year, and he's older. He's likely ticketed for AAA but has a chance to hang on as Mike Zunino's backup. That's easily enough for him to be the class of this list.
  2. Rafael Perez (+8): Perez played in AAA last year, but gets a boost as a southpaw pitcher. He will likely get a long look as the second lefty in the M's bullpen, though the odds are he goes to Tacoma.
  3. Mark Lowe (+7): Remember when Lowe came up with the Mariners as a flame-throwing righty? Those days are long gone, but the M's are giving him a chance to continue to show whatever he has got left - which probably is not a ton. Still, given his past as an M's prospect, I gave him an extra point for nostalgia's sake.
  4. Tyler Marlette (+7): Marlette played in High Desert last year, and he is an underrated prospect. He has the potential to turn into a good hitting catcher. He won't make the majors this year but I hope he makes a little noise in the at-bats he gets before he is sent to minor league camp as the pitching staff is cut down. Marlette deserves more attention than he gets.
  5. Stephen Landazuri (+7): Consider Landazuri a less heralded version of Brandon Maurer. He is a later round high school pick the M's got to sign and they have developed him into an arm that might make the majors. He has not earned the same kind of buzz Maurer developed, partly because he doesn't have the same kind of upside, but he isn't as far off as the lack of notoriety suggests. Landazuri could hang around camp longer than expected if he catches Lloyd McClendon's eye early on.
  6. Justin Germano (+7): Germano is AAA depth and got this high of a rating largely by being a player in his early 30s willing to hang around.
  7. Jordan Pries (+6): The Rainiers pitcher of the year is a very long shot to make the M's rotation out of spring training, but this is still an important spring for him. He could see the big leagues if he is, say, the sixth or seventh starter instead of the eighth or ninth.
  8. Tyler Olson (+6): The former Gonzaga Bullog has progressed through the M's system fairly quickly. He is a "pitchability" lefty, meaning his stuff isn't amazing but he's got a good idea how to use what he's got. Olson, like Pries, will not make the Mariners out of spring training, but a good showing could help him push into the majors sooner rather than later.
  9. Sam Gaviglio (+6): Gaviglio is new to the Mariners. He had a decent year in AA in 2014, and at 24 years old, isn't a hot prospect. Still, since Gaviglio is new to the organization and he will get a chance to play in big league camp for at least a few weeks, his pitching in the next fortnight or so could go a long ways towards his future in the organization.
  10. Mike Dowd (+6): Dowd is a catcher in camp so that all the pitchers have someone to throw to. His OPS was below .600 in AA.
  11. Steve Baron (+5.5): Although Baron is a former top pick, he's not much more than Dowd at this point. In fact, based on this rating system, he's a bit less, though I'm guessing the Mariners hold out more hope for Baron's upside.
  12. Forrest Snow (+5): Forrest Snow is undoubtedly a great name, and by many accounts Snow is a tremendous person (I mean that; he frequently participates in Rainiers pre-game promos). However, he is also the definition of AAA depth, which doesn't make for a very compelling non-roster invitee.
The long, dreary wait is, for all intents and purposes, over. The next time this list gets updated it will be with results from GAMES. Exhibition games that do not count - but still, GAMES, as in scheduled competitions between two baseball teams that happen in the flesh in real life. Baseball is back.