No team in baseball sees its own prospects the same way other teams do, and the Seattle Mariners love the next crop of youngsters on their way up - but how do others see them?
One website that's earned respect, BaseballProspectus.com, ranked the top Mariners babies, and came up with two five-star prospects, their highest category, then two four-star candidates and seven three-star babies. It doesn't have much to do with who will make the team next spring, but it's fun to talk about.
The site raves about two young starting pitchers, right-hander Taijuan Walker and left-hander Danny Hultzen. Projecting a 2014 arrival date for the 19-year-old Walker, they rave He’s absolutely everything you'd look for in a potential ace."
Hultzen, older and with the experience of college behind him, gets a late 2012 ETA, and writer Kevin Goldstein says "Hultzen is as sure a thing as you can find among pitching prospects."
Got your juices flowing yet?
The four-star prospects are left-hander James Paxton and shortstop Nick Franklin. Paxton, 23, is targeted by Goldstein for the 2013 season and is "the classic power pitcher package." Franklin, 20, has "no tool below average" and "a shocking amount of power from a small frame," Goldstein writes. BaseballProspectus.com expects Franklin to get to the majors in 2013.
In essence, the next seven rated prospects are all very much works in progress - pitchers like 19-year-old Jose Campos, who has a 95-96 mph fastball but no effective second or third pith, or outfieler Guillermo Pimentel, 19, who has 'light tower power' but no plate discipline.
Interestingly, three of the sites Top 10 Mariners prospects came to Seattle in trade last season: third baseman Francisco Martinez and reliever Chance Ruffin from Detroit in the Doug Fister deal and out Taiwanese outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang from Boston in the Erik Bedard trade.
Again, the scouting may be spot on or wildly inaccurate, but it's November - and stories like Goldstein's make you salivate for camp to open in three months.