Triple-A Tacoma went wire-to-wire this season in winning its division pennant without having any Pacific Coast League’s Top 20 prospects.
So says Baseball America, which released its PCL prospect rankings on Wednesday.
The Rainiers finished atop the Pacific Northern Division at 81-62 under manager Pat Listach before losing to eventual champion El Paso (Padres) in the playoffs.
The rankings followed a similar snub by Baseball America in ranking the Top 20 prospects in the Double-A Southern League.
Jackson finished with that league’s best record and win the title but landed just one player, outfielder Tyler O’Neill at No. 4, on the Baseball America list of the Top 20 prospects.
All seven of the organization’s minor-league affiliates reached postseason; Jackson and Rookie Peoria won titles. Baseball America cited seven Mariners among its league-by-league rankings.
In addition to O’Neill, it ranked right-hander Andrew Moore (11) shortstop Drew Jackson (15) in the Hi-A California League; left-hander Luiz Gohara (11) in the Lo-A Midwest League; outfielder Kyle Lewis (2) and infielder Bryson Brigman (15) in the Short-A Northwest League; and third baseman Joe Rizzo (17) in the Arizona Rookie League.
In addition to its rankings, Baseball America published data showing Cheney Stadium to be one of the the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in the Pacific Coast League.
Cheney graded out below league average (100) in three primary “park factors:” runs (78), homers (89) and batting average on balls in play (89). Nashville (A’s), Round Rock (Rangers) and Sacramento (Giants) also skewed toward pitchers.
The best hitter parks were Albuquerque (Rockies), Colorado Springs (Brewers), Omaha (Royals) and Las Vegas (Mets).
Two players who finished the season at Tacoma, outfielder Daniel Robertson and right-hander Jarrett Grube, recently elected to become minor-league free agents.
Both qualified because they possessed the necessary six years of minor-league service and weren’t on the Mariners’ 40-man roster.
Robertson, 31, batted .263 this season in nine big-league games but spent most of the season at Tacoma, where he batted .287 with six homers and 46 RBIs in 114 games. He is a nine-year pro who has played in 116 big-leagues games.
Grube, 34, was 1-4 with a 3.62 ERA in 15 games for the Rainiers after signing a minor-league contract on June 9 following his release by the Cleveland Indians. He is a 13-year pro whose only big-league experience was one 2014 appearance.
FALL LEAGUE DEBUTS
The Arizona Fall League opened Tuesday — and it wasn’t a great day for the Mariners’ prospects on the Peoria Javelinas in their 7-7 tie over 11 innings against the Salt River Rafters in Scottsdale.
Outfielder Tyler O’Neill did have a first-inning double, but he finished 1-for-6 with four strikeouts.
Left-hander Luiz Gohara gave up two runs on three hits and one walk in 1 2/3 innings, although he did record all five of his outs on strikeouts.
Right-handed reliever Emilio Pagan replaced Gohara and gave up four runs on three hits and a walk in one inning. Pagan was charged with a blown save.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners